Anti-war activist visits Valley to promote book

by Glen Creno, The Arizona Republic, June 6, 2009

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan says she's gotten over her personal animosity with former President George W. Bush and has replaced it with a broader, institutional revulsion.

Sheehan, the California "Peace Mom" who used to hold anti-war demonstrations outside Bush's ranch in Texas, was in the Valley on Friday to promote her new book. She stopped by a demonstration outside Sen. John McCain's office before planning an appearance at a bookstore Friday evening and said she was on her way to Texas to demonstrate outside Bush's new home in Dallas.

Her son was killed in the Iraq war, and she wants answers.

"At first, it was about George Bush to me," she said. "Now, it's about the entire military-industrial complex, which George Bush was just a tiny part and Barack Obama is just a tiny part. I believe accountability for an American administration is essential for reigning in the military-industrial complex."

Sheehan's appearance gave some horsepower to a demonstration outside McCain's office staged by local activists. They delivered a letter to the office staff - McCain wasn't there - demanding that McCain oppose Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal's nomination to run the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan.

About a dozen activists showed up, and a similar number of reporters and photographers attended. The activists invoked the name of Pat Tillman, the former Phoenix Cardinals and Arizona State University football star who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, as part of their pitch.

McChrystal was head of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command when Tillman was killed in 2004 and oversaw the paperwork for the Silver Star awarded to Tillman after his death. The recommendation did not mention that Tillman was killed by friendly fire.

A McCain spokeswoman said he "takes very seriously the Senate's constitutionally mandated role of advice and consent and will thoroughly examine Gen. McChrystal's nomination."

Local activist Mitch Rubin said McChrystal hid the truth. "We demand they not confirm this man who was involved in the cover-up of Pat Tillman," he told McCain's office staff.

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