The Yellow Badge of Cowardice

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The Yellow Badge of Cowardice
Cindy Sheehan

There was an unbelievable story in The Cove Herald last week that comes from near where George Bush and I own property: Copperas Cove, Texas. Apparently two residents: Bill and Georgia Thomas decided that the Resident in Chief deserved one of the three Purple Hearts that Bill earned in Vietnam for: “emotional wounds and scars” because people all over the world talk so badly about poor George.

This story stunned me on a day when nine US soldiers and 20 were wounded in a car bomb attack in the Iraqi province of Diyala. Over 500 Iraqis were killed or found decomposing in Baghdad last week and April ’07 is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months for US troop fatalities. This is also a day when there is a hearing into the Army’s exploitation of Pat Tillman’s death to use him as a poster boy for patriotic fervor and unfounded hero worship. Why can’t we talk about our soldier’s heroic lives and not their tragic deaths as victims of the military industrial complex.

At the funeral of my son, Casey, a one-star General presented me with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for bravery awarded to Casey posthumously. The Thomas’ can do whatever they want with Bill’s medals, but I believe giving one to George Bush demeans Casey’s brave and honorable sacrifice. Little Georgie used his Daddy (the Congressman’s) connections to avoid serving in Vietnam and George even went so far as to go AWOL from the Alabama Air National Guard.

Casey didn’t want to go and kill people and die in his commander in chief’s war of aggression. Like the vice-commander in chief, Doomsday Dick, he had “other priorities” besides dying. Casey’s Man-Scout Badges are sitting in my grandmother’s cedar chest right next to his baby book and hand-print from pre-school.

For George, the Vietnam War Resister cum Iraqi occupation War Criminal, to say that he didn’t “deserve” the medal is an under-statement. Bush doesn’t feel emotional scars or pain, he deals them. There are many soldiers who are missing arms, legs, eyes, and souls who actually had to earn their medals under a corrupt regime that used their honor and bravery to pump up the bottom line of such companies as Doomsday Dick’s Halliburton. There are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, sons and daughters who are emotionally scarred because their loved one won’t be coming home alive from a war that never had to happen. Our arms will be aching forever because we can’t hug our loved ones. Our hearts are scarred with the pain of burying someone too early and our lives are empty with the longing to see our dear one just one more time.

The Thomas’ belong to the Fox News generation that still condones and supports a murderous regime. Mr. Thomas belongs to a generation that was scarred, maimed and killed with a genocidal fever by its corrupt regimes and he still thinks that George deserves a medal for his incompetence and callousness?

What do we do in a world where black is white? War is peace” Two and two equals five and cowardice is bravery?

We rise up and become more powerful than the special interests which use both parties to keep this nation on a constant war footing. We use our voices to be mouthpieces for peace and accountability. We march on the Capitol on May 14th to demand that there is no more business as usual and that Congress realizes that every single one of them (Democrat or Republican) who voted to fund George’s war are complicit in the bottomless pain that accompanies each death, dismemberment, or disability; without sharing in one iota of the same pain.

If George likes to receive medals that he didn’t earn, Gold Star Families for Peace is going to present him with one on April 25th, (or try to) that he does deserve and has earned abundantly: the Yellow Badge of Cowardice. It doesn’t take any courage to march other people’s children off to war. George didn’t exhibit any courage when he was put to the top of the Texas Air National Guard line by his family’s friends. George puts on his smiley photo-op face to take something from a good-hearted, yet deluded couple, that he stridently avoided earning. It doesn’t take any courage to meet with a bereaved mother, but he also refuses to do that. He travels in America with more armor and fire power than a banana republic dictator, and if he is not stopped by impeachment or other peaceful means, then we will descend into that tyranny of empire…if we aren’t already there.

Please join Cindy, The Camp Casey Peace Institute, Gold Star Families for Peace, CODEPINK , Congress Reps John Conyers (D-Mi) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and others, as we march on the Nation’s Capital on May 14th demanding an end to the violence in the Middle East and for the impeachment of the Bush Regime.