Whether they loved her or loathed her, folks listened to anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, the mother of US Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, a 24-year-old Humvee mechanic who was killed in 2004 after being based in Iraq for five days.

On Memorial Day, Sheehan said she was quitting her tireless campaign against the war because she’d lost faith–not only in Republicans leaders–but in Democrats as well. Here’s a long excerpt from her final statement:

“The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing… Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most.

“I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won’t work with that group; he won’t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.

“Our brave young men and women in Iraq have been abandoned there indefinitely by their cowardly leaders who move them around like pawns on a chessboard of destruction and the people of Iraq have been doomed to death and fates worse than death by people worried more about elections than people. However, in five, ten, or fifteen years, our troops will come limping home in another abject defeat and ten or twenty years from then, our children’s children will be seeing their loved ones die for no reason, because their grandparents also bought into this corrupt system. George Bush will never be impeached because if the Democrats dig too deeply, they may unearth a few skeletons in their own graves and the system will perpetuate itself in perpetuity.”

In families, there is often an older sibling who cries out against injustice, verbally attacks the authority figures and subsequently suffers the most and absorbs the worst hits. Do you think Sheehan was this person for the rest of us?

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