By David Swanson
I came to Crawford today, and it’s a little different from DC in several ways, but mostly it’s hotter. I’ve been to both Camp Caseys, and am blogging this from the cool of the Crawford Peace House. At Camp Casey 1, I went across the road and talked to the half-dozen pro-war protesters. (There are police in the middle who have declared that there must be no interaction, but I didn’t ask their permission.) I asked the pro-warers what they would tell Cindy Sheehan her son died for. Some of them couldn’t come up with any reason for the war. A couple of them came up with this: Saddam Hussein would not have allowed Cindy Sheehan to protest on his road, and the war is being fought to protect that right in the US.
That’s it. That was the best they could do. I didn’t ask them what other countries we should attack to protect such rights, even as the Bush administration chips away at such rights. I didn’t ask how bombing countries that lack rights protects rights in countries that don’t. I felt I’d strained them enough. It seemed clear they hadn’t been asked before to justify the war. When I left to drive back here, a newscaster from Channel 25 in Waco was putting on lipstick in her van, preparing to report the news.
The pro-war folks were friendly, as are the residents of Crawford (probably all 705 of them) and the surrounding area. But the inhabitants of Camp Casey are like a loving family. They’re welcoming of everyone and tolerant even of diverse opinions on the war. At Camp Casey 2 today, long after the morning’s big press conference was over, around 100 or 150 people hung around, mostly talking about the war. Many have inspiring stories about how they got here. Some canceled major plans to come. Some came after hearing another’s story on the radio, and then met that other person here.
I’ve met today dozens of people I’d only known by voice and Email. Almost every person here who didn’t know me, wanted to hug me when someone told them I worked on AfterDowningStreet.org. It’s quite amazing to realize that virtually every person in the middle of this hot Texas field has gotten their news on the internet. In fact, you can get on the internet and plug into electricity at Camp Casey 2. The wireless connection went down today (I blame Karl Rove), but will no doubt be fixed. There’s also free food, free drinks (non-alcoholic), free medical care, and free solidarity with people from all over this country who support Cindy’s demand to speak with Bush.
Barbara Cummings, who came from San Diego and is managing parking at the Peace House, is full of good stories. Her son, a Republican, recently came around to opposing the war, saying that he had to place right-or-wrong above politics. Barbara also spotted a man leaning over his pickup truck crying, near the Peace House. He told her that when he’d gone out to Camp Casey he’d fallen on his knees and realized that he would have to go home to Dallas and tell his colleagues and friends and wife to oppose the war. He was composing himself before coming into the Peace House to make a large donation.
The largest presence at Camp Casey is of military families and veterans. At the press conference this morning, which I arrived too late for, Cindy introduced newly arrived families of soldiers killed in Iraq. Ann Wright, the career diplomat who resigned over the war, has been managing Camp Casey from the get go. She described this morning’s events to me while being constantly interrupted with cell phone calls about where people could camp, how many tables were needed, food, crosses, messages