Blue Blog
Transcript of My Interview with Cindy Sheehan from Today (10/30/06)
Categories: Politics

Thank you Jason Flatowicz for the transcript.
The full recording of the interview can be found here.


Cindy Sheehan Interview by Richard Bluestein 10.29.06

Cindy Sheehan: Hello?
Richard Bluestein: Cindy?
CS: Yes?
RB: Hi, can you hear me ok, it’s Richard.
CS: Yes I can hear you.
RB: Ok, good. So basically it’s a free form interview, there’s no format, you can say whatever you want. It’s on Satellite radio so there’s no censorship at all which means you can say anything and you can steer the conversation however you want. I have some questions but if you have anything in particular you want to talk about with respect to your book or whatever then you’re free to do so.
CS: Ok.
RB: Does that make sense?
CS: That makes sense.
RB: And then I just take the first twenty-four minutes, put it on satellite radio, and then anything after that I just put on the podcast on the internet.
CS: Alrighty.
RB: So I’m just going to go ahead and start recording now.

RB: Alright, so this is Richard Bluestein on Yeast Radio, Adam Curry’s podshow on Sirius Stars 102. Today I have a very very very special guest. I’ve really only had, this is actually only my second special guest in the almost two years that I’ve done the show because I don’t really care about having celebrity interviews except when I really (laughs), well, ok so I only have two celebrities. So the first one was Amy Goodman about a year ago and the second one is Cindy Sheehan, and I’m just so excited so I’ll probably say really dumb things. So thank you very much Cindy for coming on the show. It’s really an honor.
CS: It’s an honor to be on your show. Thank you.
RB: Thanks. I just thought I’d start off with something from your book which I think you’re touring on this book tour. This is actually the first time I’ve downloaded one of those electronic things. So it’s called “Peace Momma Mother’s Journey Through Heartache To Activism.” And you just go to, is that what you tell people to do or do you go to Amazon or how do you do it?
CS: SimonSays.
RB:, yeah so I just downloaded the PDF so I can read it there. I’d like to just read a passage from the beginning which I found extremely moving. I think what it displays to me and I didn’t really realize this about you until I heard a Howard’s Inn put together this compilation of different speakers giving- well, it was famous actors reciting speeches from famous people throughout the ages like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and yours was one of them. And I hadn’t realized what an amazing oratory you are and speechwriter and writer in general until I heard this sort of Howard’s Inn compilation. I think that people often underestimate that aspect of you because they understand what you do and your passion and definitely the movement and what you’re doing but the fact that you can really put things into words that nobody else can. So I’d like to just start with this:

“I gave physical birth to Casey on that glorious day in May. On April 4th, 2004 Casey died. He was killed in an ambush by the Alcider Resistance Fighters. He died going to rescue his buddies. He was shot in the back of the head while he was riding in the rear of the trailer in Soder City, Baghdad. I didn’t know it then but I know it now. When Casey died in that back-alley of Baghdad five days after he arrived in country he gave spiritual birth to his real mom. The mom who was hiding behind her ignorance, faith, marriage, and family, and comfort began to emerge on April 4th.”

RB: And that’s powerful stuff. What were you like before Casey died?
CS: I think I was probably remarkably like I am now except I didn’t have a reason to speak, I didn’t have a reason to write. But when Casey was killed in this illegal immoral war I couldn’t just sit still and let it happen to other families. And I think that’s when I found my voice, my written voice and my spoken voice. And I was, believe it or not, I was pathologically shy. I was terrified to speak in front of groups whether it be a class of twenty or whatever, I was really afraid of public speaking and since Casey died I’ve spoken to hundreds of thousands of people and you know of course been on national and international newscasts where I’ve been speaking to millions of people. I found a reason to speak and I that’s I think what has made it so powerful.
RB: A friend of mine, Nick Zedd, he referred to you as our nation’s conscious which I think is an interesting to put it and I thought if I phrase questions to you in that way what would you say our conscious has to say? What does our conscious say to the people in America that are maybe watching a lot of television right now, maybe not paying so much attention?
CS: I think that it damages all of our hearts and souls and the actual universal heart and soul and we sit by passively and allow our leaders to torture people, to imprison people with impunity, to pass all these laws to take away our very god-given, not god-given that’s stupid, our birthright, our rights to safe our accusers, to have due process if we’re accused of a crime. America just sits back passively and lets this happen and I see in so many other countries when something like this happens people get out by the millions if they feel like an election’s been stolen, if they feel like their leaders lie to them. They get out and they protest it. I don’t understand why we as Americans sit around complacently watching them commit crimes against humanity and take away our own rights. Not just rights (for whom) they term enemies but you know all Americans. Every citizen on this planet if George Bush says that you’re a threat or a terrorist you can be imprisoned without your rights to habius corpus. I can’t sit around and watch it happen. I don’t understand how other people can either. Like you said probably they’re unaware or they’re so busy earning a buck or trying to take care of their own families, like I was before Casey was killed, so I can see how it can happen but it’s going to take a lot of us speaking about it to get people out of their comfort zone to do something.
RB: Do you ever wonder how come so many Latinos, millions of Latinos, went to the streets when this senson burner immigration bill was on the table. These are people who, maybe most of them aren’t Americans but aspire to be. In my mind they actually had more of an American spirit than the people who were already citizens. Do you ever wonder about why that happened?
CS: I don’t wonder about it too much because the Hispanic people who went out were intimately and closely affected by the senson burner bill. What we need to do as Americans is convince other Americans that this war- this continues by our silence. Letting it continue is harming every single American. I mean, we’re spending ten-million dollars an hour on this mistake in Iraq. How do you think that’s going to play out in their children’s lives and their grandchildren’s lives? Besides that it’s been proven by our own government that what we’re doing in Iraq is increasing Islamic Jihadism, making the world a less safe place, and damaging our credibility all over the world. We have to convince all the Americans, every single American, that they have something intimately at stake by allowing this occupation to go on.
RB: Something that’s personal. So the difference between the Latino issue is that they could tell there was something affecting them directly?
CS: Well it’s directly affecting them closely by their parents or their own selves and it’s just that this war is directly affecting every single American too not just the ones that are born but the ones that are unborn.
RB: But how do you make people realize that I guess is what I don’t know?
CS Just by doing what we’re doing. Trying to break through to the numbness in our nation’s consciousness.
RB: By just talking. I just wonder if there’s maybe something else we’re supposed to be doing like should we be using Carl Rovian tactics and creating sort of reverse propaganda or something.
CS: I don’t think so because I don’t think that we should use their tactics because we want an ultimate good to come out of this. We do want good to come out of our struggle and if we use bad tactics- I don’t agree with “ends justify the means.” I think that we have to be peaceful. I think we have to be honest. I think we have to be fearless and that’s how we’ll win this eventually. We cannot use their tactics because they’re despicable and we’re not despicable people.
RB: Right. There was something very interesting, you send out these letters through your organization. I guess you co-founded this organization called Gold Star Families For Peace. Yesterday or maybe the day before you sent out an e-mail about “Is It Vietnam Yet?” I think was the title of it. There was an interesting phrase that I thought was provocative. You wrote: “So many people approach me and say ‘I never thought this would happen again after Vietnam,” I always ask them ‘Why?'” What did you mean by that?
CS: They put away their peace symbols and their signs and their energy when the war ended and they just went home because they were rightly proud of themselves for ending a war that they didn’t keep on struggling for peace. Peace is not just the absence of war because our country, America, is very militaristic and we’re ruled by the military-industrial complex. The war profiteers run our country. We have to be ever vigilant about this happening again because even while we’re in the middle of a hot war they’re planning the next war. And between Vietnam and the first Gulf War and this occupation of Iraq we’ve been covertly or overtly involved in conflict all over the world. What we have to do is we have to use all of our energy to shut down this war machine and to educate our population about how our children are always used misused and abused to line the pockets of the war machine. We can’t just go home and rest on our laurels after the troops come home from Iraq because they’re already planning the next conflict for our grandchildren and maybe this generation still. So we have to just be ever vigilante. Don’t put our peace symbols away or our signs or our voices. We have to keep on working for true peace which is not an absence of conflict but solving conflict without violence.
RB: What about as far as the election goes? I know this was the major impetuous in contacting you, you’re doing a sit-in on election week. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that and also in relation to that how you kind of reconciled the narrow spectrum of choices we have as far as pro-war Democrats versus the lesser of two evils, that kind of thing.
CS: We don’t have very good choices in this country. There’s some races that are outstanding where there are very good choices. A lot of times those people don’t tend to win. But what we have to do, first of all, is we have to get over this idea that we vote for the lesser of two evils because we don’t want the more evil person to win. Because when you’re voting for the lesser of two evils you still get something that’s evil and that doesn’t conform to your own personal attitudes. So you’re going in, you’re voting against your conscious, you’re voting against your integrity, you’re voting against your courage, you’re voting out of your fear. And you’re getting these people who are basically- the Democrats and Republicans are two different sides of the same coin. That’s all they are. When it comes to war and peace issues they’re almost identical. You can’t tell them apart. But since we right now in this country- it’s too late to have a third party revolution, or even a second party would be nice I think, then you have to- we have to exercise our responsibility and our own democracy. We the people are three-hundred-million to about six-hundred when you count the house and the senate and the administration. We’re three-hundred-million to six-hundred. We are the ones who’s voices should be heard. We’re the ones who should be dictating policy not the lobbyists and not the special interests. So as long as we don’t exorcise our own responsibility and democracy we will never get leaders who conform to our beatitudes and not to the corporations beatitudes.

RB: So you’re saying that we should run for office, more people should run for office.
CS: Not run for office. I don’t think that. We have to work on an inside-outside strategy but we also have to put pressure on from the outside. That’s the only way these people are going to change.
RB: But so if you have a situation where you’ve got like a Hillary Clinton versus- I don’t even know who she’s running against, some Republican.
CS: There’s a Republican, there’s a Green candidate named Howie Hopkins who I’m supporting in that race. I was supporting Jonathan Casini who was a very amazing anti-war progressive Democrat. I was supporting him but of course he was beaten in the primaries. But I would say go in and send her a message. Vote for the Green candidate. Or vote for the Republican because I think if you vote for Hillary Clinton you might as well be saying I voting for someone who looks like, acts like, dresses like, votes like, talks like a Republican. So I’m saying send these people a message even if the Green party doesn’t prevail, if they get a significant amount of votes it does send a message to the candidate who does win.
RB: You were considering running again Feinstein for a while when she was wavering on I think some filibuster for one of the supreme court justices, isn’t that right?
CS: Right, it was Alito.
RB: Alito, right. And are you still considering running for public office sometime?
CS: I think I might be able to be convinced to run for congress or maybe senate but my permanent residence is going to be in Texas.
RB: Oh good.
CS: Yeah I’m moving from California to Texas so I have to evaluate the situation there in my county where I live..
RB: Crawford?
CS: Yeah, in Crawford.
RB: Really?
CS: Yeah.
RB: Oh wow, that’s interesting. At that place where you bought land across from the peace house, that place?
CS: Right.
RB: Oh, that’s wonderful. I actually went there last summer but it was that weekend that you had to take care of you mom so I didn’t get to meet you there. So what about the sit-in you’re doing? What’s going on there, the sit-in you’re doing on the White House lawn election week?
CS: This is what my whole idea about us being checks and balances on our government because even if the democrats take over the house or the senate or both- Nancy Colocy, who will be the potential speaker of the house if the democrats take it back, has already said that impeachment is not in the cards. We know that George Bush is not bringing the troops home. He said over and over again that while he’s president the troops aren’t coming home. So we have to get him out if we want peace in Iraq and peace in the world. So if the republicans retain control, if the democrats take over control, we the people have to be there to show them that we mean business when we say we want our troops home. And we want accountability for the needless death and destruction that George Bush and his administration has caused. We’re calling Gold Star Families For Peace, it’s calling for people to join us from November 4th to November 9th, to sit down around the White House and to show them that we are withdrawing our consent to be governed by the Bush administration, and we are willing to come out and put ourselves on the line for peace and for accountability. You don’t have to be there the entire time. Whoever wants to come can just come. We’ll be sitting out there from 10 to 10 every day between November 4th and November 9th.
RB: Something you have mentioned and this has been a focus of mine too is outrage. Do you think people are starting to get a little more outraged? Do you think people are outraged enough yet? And why or why not?
CS: I think there are millions of people who are outraged. Are they outraged enough to take the trouble to come to Washington D.C. and show it? I’m sure there’s going to be many people who are. I have a shirt that says if you’re not appalled you haven’t been paying attention. We just have to see how far the outrage has gone. What are people willing to do to express it? And if you can’t make it to Washington it would be fabulous if people could organize sit-ins around the federal building or other places to show, to demonstrate their outrage and discontent with our government.
RB: It’s kind of hard for people to always find out what you’re up to because there was this initial media rush maybe a little over a year ago- and where do people go to find out what Gold Star Families For Peace are doing, what you’re doing, how to keep up to date on where you are, where the protests are going on? Is there a particular website that people should be looking at on a regular basis?
CS: Yes, Gold Star Families For Peace,
RB: Ok. Also, when I was in Crawford I talked to a lot of the women there. And there was this feeling that it was kind of like this Thelma and Louise type spirit that a lot of the women that were there kind of like saw you speak on tv one day or they read something in the paper and they were like almost as if they were standing there cooking up pork-chops and they just got inspired and just had this existential moment and just put the frying pan down and started driving with their best friend to Crawford. I wonder if maybe people will just pick up that spirit again and just come over to D.C. and feel what it is to be alive a little bit.
CS: Well we hope so. I wrote in one article that it’s up to all of us. Why are people letting burred families do all the lifting? We’ve already done too much heavy lifting. We had to bury our children. It’s up to everybody to help us. We need a lot of help. Everybody has to use their voices. There was big thing last summer, “Cindy speaks for me,” or “Cindy doesn’t speak for me.” I don’t want to speak for anybody but Cindy. I want everybody to speak for themselves and to know that your voice can be heard. I’ve proven that one person can make a difference. If you don’t get out and try you’re not going to make a difference. That’s the only guarantee in life.
RB: Right. Plus now with podcasting and all these videos and blogging anybody can have their own movement pretty easily.
CS: Definitely.
RB: Going back to this Vietnam thing, you had mentioned something about Bush’s recent PR statements about where he’s kind of hinting about withdrawal. Are you concerned that people are going to buy that?
CS: He was saying that now they’re going to have- trying to work out some kind of- I don’t know if it was George Bush but statements from the White House this weekend saying that they’re going to work out some kind of time-table and give it to the Iraqi government by the end of the year. And this just makes me so suspicious about how Richard Nixon was narrowly elected in 1968 with the same kind of redirec. He had a secret plan to bring the troops home from Vietnam and we just can’t buy this anymore. We got to see action. Not just rederic. Because George Bush and his administration are proven liars. They’ve been proven over and over and over again to lie so when they start lying about Iran, when they start lying about terrorist threats we just can’t believe them. We can’t live our lives in fear anymore. That’s exactly what they want us to do. Like I said they want us to vote out of our fear and just keep on re-electing the same people who have gotten our country into so much trouble, and who killed my son. And now 2799 other Americans. I just got word that the death-toll reached 2800 today for Iraq. It’s just unnecessary. More families this month are heading into this spiral or pain and destruction unnecessarily. And how many hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq? We just found out that almost 700,000 innocent Iraqis have been killed as a result of this occupation. We just cannot be ok with that anymore.
RB: Yeah sometimes it almost seems like there’s a contest between Iraq and Vietnam. We can keep fighting this war until the numbers are the same or something like that. It’s weird.
CS: We’re just going to get into more of a mess there. As I pointed out in my article, the first four years of Vietnam not even 2,000 of our soldiers were killed. But in the first 3.7 years of this war almost 3,000 of our soldiers have been killed. So like I said in my article, no it’s not like Vietnam. It’s worse than Vietnam. We’ve already spent double what we spent in Vietnam over 14 years. We’ve already spent that in Iraq and like I said earlier that’s just sucking the life out of our country, out of our community, out of our families and out of future.
RB: Right, and that’s just for lunches that don’t even get to our troops.
CS: Right, exactly.
RB: How do you stay informed? Where do you get your news?
CS: I mostly get it off the internet. I go to international websites. I read the BBC a lot. I read Al Jazero a lot if I want to know what’s really going on in the Middle East, what’s really going on in the Middle East. I don’t even own a television so my mind’s not clouded with that kind of propaganda. And when I get my news online I can filter out the lies and distortions about me too. I don’t have to look at it to get depressed.
RB: That’s good. One thing that’s come up to me a lot is the idea of nationalism. Does that word even have any meaning now? Do you consider yourself proud to be an American more/as much as you try to be a human? What do you even think about identifying yourself as an American versus a world citizen and that whole notion?
CS: I think that we should all consider ourselves human beings first and then wherever we accidentally were born second or third or whatever. You can say I’m a human, I’m a mother, I’m a Catholic, then I’m an American, whatever, but we cannot think of ourselves in nationalistic terms anymore. The world’s too small for that. And that only allows us to let our leaders give us this false sense of fear and hatred (of) anyone’s that’s different than us. I really am trying to get away from any kind of label, even Democrat or Republican or feminist or whatever. We have to just really consider ourselves human beings first and know that we’re connected to every other human being on this earth. When my son was killed in Iraq your son was killed in Iraq and when these innocent Iraqis are killed they’re our brothers and sisters that are dying for no reason. There are children that are dying for no reason. That’s how we have to look at things. I can’t say I’m proud to be an American. I don’t really closely identify with that kind of thinking. I go all around the world and let me tell you we are not a loved country. We used to be loved as people, as the American people, but now people in other countries are going “Ok, why did you re-elect George Bush? We could see you making a mistake the first time but why did you repeat it?” And when you get into election fraud and all that kind of stuff they just say “We know but why is he still your president?” They don’t have confidence in the American people anymore either and that’s why it’s so important for us to get out in the millions to give the world some hope and some confidence that there are smart Americans who are trying to change things.
RB: Do you have hope?
CS: I have lots of hope. That’s what gets me up every day.
RB: I guess I have one more question which is George Bush and a lot of these people seem to abuse the word freedom. How would you define the word freedom?
CS: I don’t think that freedom can be imposed on people by killing them that’s for sure. I don’t know. I really don’t know. It’s kind of a hard thing to define. For myself it means my freedom to express myself peacefully, peaceably, as it says in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. It is my freedom to move about the world freely and not be restrained that way. It’s my freedom to exchange ideas. As long as everything is from your core center of peace then I think that freedom should be valued and respected not tried to take away. I think that we need to exercise our freedoms of speech and expression and to peaceably assemble before they’re taken away from us. We should have the freedom- life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. George Bush took my son’s life away and he took a lot of my happiness away when he killed Casey. We should also be free to not die for the corporations and not go kill innocent people for the corporations. Even if you enlist you should be able to get out of it if the mission statement as an organization changes. Freedom is a hard thing to define and I don’t think we can let George Bush define that for us and for the world because his idea of freedom is dropping bombs on people.
RB: Yeah. Do you have anything else you’d like to say to the audience before we go? The audience by the way tends to be a little bit on the wealthy side because in order to have a satellite radio you have to be willing to spend a certain amount of money per month. I don’t know why I mention that but just wondered if you have anything you want to say in closing.
CS: I just want to say that don’t be afraid anymore. Don’t live in fear. Don’t let anybody intimidate you or make you feel like your voice won’t make a difference because that’s not the truth. Just get out and exercise your freedoms, exercise your voice and just loudly speak out against this administration who are war criminals. We know that if by our silence we can be held complicate in the war criminals and the war crimes, we just have to stand up and say that we repudiate them and we’re not war criminals.
RB: Thank you so much Cindy. You’re really truly an inspiration to everybody in the world right now.
CS: Thank you Richard. It was nice to talk to you.
RB: Thank you.
CS: Bye
RB: Bye

2 Comments to “Transcript of My Interview with Cindy Sheehan from Today (10/30/06)”

  1. […] As we’ve said in the past, Sheehan isn’t against war; she is against The Evil Storm Troopers (U.S. Military Industrial complex). To Cindy, U.S. soldiers are the real terrorists and those battling U.S. soldiers are merely”freedom fighters”. As Sheehan states many times in this interview, “we must shut down the war machine”. Cindy’s "freedom fighters"  have helped her shut down a part of the war machine. They killed her son. […]