- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 25, 2005

Salt on wounds

The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, home to hundreds of wounded veterans from the war in Iraq, has been the target of weekly anti-war demonstrations since March, CNSNews.com reports.

The protesters hold signs that read “Maimed for Lies” and “Enlist here and die for Halliburton,” reporter Marc Morano said.

The anti-war demonstrators, who obtain their protest permits from the D.C. police department, position themselves directly in front of the main entrance to the center. Among the props used by the protesters are mock caskets, lined up on the sidewalk to represent the death toll in Iraq.

Code Pink Women for Peace, one of the groups backing anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan’s vigil outside President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, organizes the protests at Walter Reed, as well.

Some conservative supporters of the war call the protests, which have been ignored by the establishment media, “shameless,” and have taken to conducting counter-demonstrations at Walter Reed.

The anti-war activists “should not be demonstrating at a hospital. A hospital is not a suitable location for an anti-war demonstration,” said Bill Floyd of the D.C. chapter of FreeRepublic.com, who stood across the street from the anti-war demonstrators last Friday.

“I believe they are tormenting our wounded soldiers, and they should just leave them alone,” Mr. Floyd said.

Most of the demonstrations have been held on Friday evenings, a popular time for the family members of wounded soldiers to visit the hospital.

Surprise, surprise

“One of the more peculiar rituals in Washington is the press conference to announce what everybody already knew. People for the American Way’s appearance Wednesday at the National Press Club was just such an occasion,” Sean Higgins writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“When PFAW President and CEO Ralph Neas announced that his organization was opposed to John Roberts’ nomination to the Supreme Court, there weren’t any gasps in the room,” said Mr. Higgins, a reporter for Investor’s Business Daily.

” ‘I stand here with sincere regret,’ he solemnly intoned. PFAW had ‘hoped that President Bush would unite the country’ with a justice that would maintain the balance on the Court set by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

“Alas, it was not to be. Bush had the audacity to nominate a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing.’ No, scratch that, ‘an Antonin Scalia in sheep’s clothing.’ ”

” ‘I didn’t think that anybody could be to the right of William Bradford Reynolds [President Reagan’s nominee to be assistant attorney general], Robert Bork, and Ted Olson, but Roberts managed it,’ Neas said.

“So, any conservatives with lingering doubts about whether they should support Roberts might want to contact People for the American Way. Their 50-page dossier on Roberts will set them straight.”

Not newsworthy

“ABC made time Wednesday night for Martha Raddatz to read from a letter the Gold Star Moms for Peace sent to President Bush in which they charged that ‘you put our troops in harm’s way based on a lie. We are military families who demand an end to the lies, and call for you to bring our troops home now.’

“But, after weeks of hyping Cindy Sheehan, neither Raddatz nor anyone else on ‘World News Tonight’ mentioned how Bush spent nearly three hours meeting with family members of those killed in Iraq,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“Neither did the ‘CBS Evening News,’ which held its coverage of Bush’s speech in Idaho to the National Guard to a soundbite of Bush quoting a mother with four sons in Iraq. NBC anchor Brian Williams touted how Sheehan’s group ‘said today its members will follow President Bush around the country protesting the war,’ but at least Kelly O’Donnell noted that Bush ‘met privately with 68 family members who grieve for sons and husbands lost in war.’ ”

Carter’s complaint

Former President Jimmy Carter said he opposes a proposal by Habitat for Humanity International to move its headquarters out of Americus, Ga.

Habitat for Humanity is considering relocating its headquarters, saying Americus, 116 miles south of Atlanta, is too far from a major airport and that executives might balk at living in a small town.

But Mr. Carter, the group’s most prominent volunteer, has asked to address Habitat’s board before it makes a decision to move, the Associated Press reports.

“I would look on such a decision as a violation of mutual commitments made over the years, with a damaging effect on Habitat’s reputation and effectiveness,” Mr. Carter said Wednesday in a letter to Habitat’s board of directors.

“Personally, if it comes down to a choice among several potential Habitat executives to be employed in the future, I would choose one who preferred life in South Georgia to those who might insist on an urban existence,” he said.

Sheehan returns

The mother of a soldier killed in Iraq resumed her anti-war vigil outside President Bush’s ranch yesterday and released plans for a national bus tour that will end up in Washington.

“I lost my best friend when I lost my son,” Cindy Sheehan told a small group of reporters in Crawford, Texas. “I know he would say: ‘I don’t want any more of my buddies killed just because I’m dead. I want my buddies to come home alive.’ ”

Mrs. Sheehan, who left Crawford last week to be with her ailing mother in California, also said it was now too late for Mr. Bush to quiet opposition to the war in Iraq by agreeing to meet with her, as she has been asking since the beginning of her vigil Aug. 6.

“If George Bush came out and spoke to me right now, this wouldn’t end. It wouldn’t end because the movement would not end, because we still have troops in Iraq,” she told Agence France-Presse.

Mrs. Sheehan said she and her group were launching a bus tour to promote a swift withdrawal from Iraq, with three buses leaving Texas on Thursday and crisscrossing the central United States before meeting up in Washington on about Sept. 24.

She told the wire service that the itinerary was not settled and that more details would be available Monday.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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