Dec 21, 2013
A Call to Service
Posted on Jul 31, 2007
By Scott Ritter
With the active participation of the American people, imbued with a sense of belonging and stiffened with an appreciation of the Constitution, we can, and will, once again become a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people, as intended when our founding fathers wrote the opening words of the Constitution’s preamble, “We the People of the United States of America.” If you’re in the antiwar movement, and you’re looking for a specific cause to support, I can think of none better than a call for national service that would strengthen the bond between citizen and nation.
But don’t try to sell this to the ongoing train wreck that is Cindy Sheehan’s “Summer of Love 2007” tour. Besides failing to generate a following that could be called significant and balanced numerically or ideologically, Sheehan has attacked one of the strongest antiwar advocates in the U.S. Congress, Rep. John Conyers, and made a joke of herself and her followers in the process. Before she destroys whatever vestige of credibility is left to her as a mainstream activist, I would advise Sheehan and those who are marching with her (some of whom I count as my friends and colleagues) to take a pause and read my book “Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement.” The ideas and concepts set forth on strategy, operations and tactics, as well as gathering intelligence and knowing your enemy and battlefield, might have enabled Sheehan to plan and execute a more coherent and effective return from retirement.
I’m not asking Sheehan to “retire” yet again; far from it. I simply want her to regroup and reconsider her hate-filled rhetoric and radical associations. The Cindy Sheehan who gracefully and effectively challenged George Bush in Crawford during the summer of 2005 had mainstream appeal. The Sheehan who gets herself arrested attacking those in Congress who are most sympathetic to getting our nation out of the Iraq debacle does not. Apply the lessons of “The Art of War” to your past experiences, Cindy, and tell us where you went right in Crawford and where we could have helped you more, and understand why what you are doing today, while undoubtedly well intentioned, is so utterly self-destructive not only for you but the antiwar movement as a whole. The Cindy Sheehan of Crawford fame was someone I was proud to associate with. Sadly, the Cindy Sheehan of today remains for me and most other Americans an enigma wrapped in a puzzle, surrounded by radical fringe ideology so far removed from the mainstream as to be virtually unrecognizable and as such un-embraceable by the majority of Americans the future of our movement depends on for any hope of victory.
Scott Ritter was a Marine Corps intelligence officer from 1984 to 1991 and a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. He is the author of numerous books. His latest is “Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement” (Nation Books, April 2007).
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