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Sheehan and the Democrats


In a recent article in these pages, I tweaked Cindy Sheehan for going soft on Hillary Clinton’s warmongering. Well, I was wrong. Sheehan hasn’t gone soft on Clinton; she’s attacked the New York senator for her hollow position on the Iraq conflict.

At a rally outside Hillary Clinton’s office in New York, Cindy Sheehan declared to the crowd on hand that Clinton must either speak out against the war or risk losing her job. In fact, New York antiwar advocates are hoping Sheehan will run against Clinton in the Democratic primaries in 2006. Others out West are hoping Sheehan will take on Dianne Feinstein in California.

In a recent interview with the Village Voice Sheehan contended that she was “so frustrated” by top Democrats like Hillary Clinton “who should be leaders on this [war] issue, but are not,” arguing that it is “time for them to step up and be the opposition party. This war is not going to end unless the Democrats are on board with us.”

It sure would be nice if more antiwar activists were to follow Cindy’s lead on this one. If the majority of protesters took their protests to the front steps of each elected pro-war Democrat as well as Republican, we might have a big-time movement on our hands. I’ll admit it; Sheehan is savvier than I gave her credit for. She knows that the antiwar movement should stick to the war, not lesser-evil politics. Too bad Sheehan wasn’t making headlines during the 2004 elections; if she had been, the antiwar movement might have not been so soft on the pro-war Kerry campaign.

We certainly have a long way to go before antiwar activists start taking on the Democrats for embracing everything Bush has propagated.

Some have speculated, including muckraking journalist Wayne Madsen, that the Democrats fled last weekend’s rallies because the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC had urged them not to. Madsen reported that Congressman Barney Frank was pressured by AIPAC to intervene and scare Democrats out of attending the rallies. I certainly agree that AIPAC doesn’t want elected officials to attend antiwar festivities, but to think that AIPAC alone is responsible for the Democrats’ absence is foolish. The Democrats have been pro-war and pro-occupation since the Iraq war’s inception. Is this solely because of AIPAC’s influence?

No, the Democrat’s inability to challenge Bush goes a lot deeper than their ties to Israel. The Democrats haven’t been able to go after Bush on any major issue, from PATRIOT Act to CAFTA to John Roberts. The Iraq war is just one more failure in a laundry list of Democratic disappointments.

Perhaps next we’ll see Cindy Sheehan take on the plight of the Palestinians and speak out against Israel’s influence over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. If she does so, we might really be getting somewhere. In the meantime, however, let’s just be happy that Sheehan recognizes the Democrats are Bush’s war enablers. At least it’s a start.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of the brand new book, Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, which has just been published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted rate at Joshua can be reached at





We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005


JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter @joshua__frank

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