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Volume 77, Number 9 | August 01 - 07, 2007

Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel

Cindy Sheehan talked with Aron “Yippie Pie Man” Kay after her speech at Union Square last Friday.

Antiwar leader Sheehan says it’s war with Pelosi

By Lincoln Anderson

Two days after announcing she will run against Nancy Pelosi because the House speaker won’t impeach President Bush, Cindy Sheehan was in Union Square to help kick off a new “wear orange” campaign to protest the Iraq war.

Sheehan had given Pelosi a July 23 deadline to introduce articles of impeachment against Bush or promised she would run against her in 2008 as a third-party candidate.

Sheehan charges Bush’s taking the U.S. to war on the false pretense that Iraq had W.M.D.s is an impeachable offense.

“I’m going to hold Nancy Pelosi accountable. I’m going to run in her district. And not only am I going to run — I’m going to win,” Sheehan told a cheering crowd of 200 people at Union Square last Friday afternoon.

Eighty-five percent of voters in San Francisco’s Eighth Congressional District want the troops to come home, Sheehan noted. More than 75 percent of the district’s voters want Bush to be impeached, she added.

On July 23, Sheehan made a stop on her 19-day caravan in Washington, D.C., where she and supporters lobbied Congressmember John Conyers to start impeachment proceedings against Bush. He refused, and she and 45 fellow protesters were arrested after they wouldn’t leave his office.

Sheehan said Conyers told her they had to wait until after the 2008 election.

“Too late!” she told the crowd. “Too late for hundreds of our soldiers.”

Conyers chairs the House Judiciary Committee, where impeachment efforts begin. He introduced a bill last term asking Congress to investigate whether there were sufficient grounds for impeachment. But Pelosi opposes impeachment, instead saying ending the war should be the goal.

Sheehan noted there’s also a bill in Congress to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney, but that it’s only been signed by 15 members.

“That tells me there’s 420 enablers of the Bush regime in Congress,” Sheehan said. “We want to be represented finally, dammit! We want a say! The people are speaking — and the people want the criminals out of the White House.”

Sheehan also had harsh words for Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, whom she blasted for refusing to take the “nuclear option” off the table regarding Iran. She also slammed Clinton for backing every Iraq war funding bill except the latest one, which Sheehan charges Clinton only voted against after she saw it was going to pass.

“That neocon,” she said, “that Democrat in Republican clothing. If you look at Giuliani and Clinton, there’s very little difference. The only difference is the plumbing.”

Sheehan said she’d needed some security at the start of her tour in Texas, since, as she put, “that’s kind of Bush’s base.” Her tires were slashed in Charlotte, N.C. But in Union Square, she said she felt protected.

“I said I didn’t need security in New York,” she said. “I’m probably safer here than anywhere else in the world. These are my people. This is the place that repudiates the Bush regime the most,” she said as the crowd cheered.

“It’s great to be here,” Sheehan said. “It’s my first time in New York City since I retired.”

On Memorial Day, Sheehan took a break after two years of being the face of protest against the war, in which her son, Casey, was killed. The same day, she also left the Democratic Party, frustrated at its inaction to end the war.

Referring to how 9/11’s Ground Zero — which she claims Bush has exploited for the “war on terror” — was not far away, she said, “You know the most of anyone in the world how incompetent and inadequate the Bush regime is. You all need to fly to San Francisco and vote for me for Congress.”

Sheehan said she plans to go to Jordan and Syria to visit refugee camps.

“We never talk about the people who have been displaced all over the Middle East,” she said, mentioning Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. “That’s what the Bush regime wanted to do — to destabilize the Middle East.” A spokesperson later said Sheehan was referring to refugees from the Iraq war.

Supporters in the crowd said they thought Sheehan can win because San Francisco is one of the most liberal places in the country.

Robert Jereski, who ran against Congressmember Carolyn Maloney in 2004 but was knocked off the ballot, was among the crowd. Jereski’s main reason for running against Maloney was because she supported the war.

Asked if he thought Sheehan can beat Pelosi, he said, “Yeah, I do. It’s going to be a wakeup call to the Democrats and Republicans — the sitting Congress, the do-nothing Congress.”

On Monday, Tiffany Burns, an organizer with the Camp Casey Peace Institute, said Sheehan is forming a PAC to accept campaign contributions and that there already has been great interest from people who want to finance her run. She said Sheehan plans to actually live in the San Francisco district, as opposed to Pelosi, who does not.

Before Sheehan spoke last Friday, the group World Can’t Wait announced its “wear orange against the war” campaign. Orange represents the prison jumpsuits worn by the Guantanamo detainees, according to a flier for the effort, which states: “The urgent color of orange — the color that has been assigned to those detained and tortured with no due process — must become the color of a gathering sentiment to end the Bush regime and reverse its program.”

World Can’t Wait members sold orange anti-Bush T-shirts for $10 and $15 and orange bandanas for $3.

One speaker, while holding out a bright orange tote bag, noted that the orange campaign “can be accomplished in many ways, from your pedicure to your hat.”

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