Casey’s Star Birthday by Cindy Sheehan

The Real Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Cindy Sheehan for Congress

May 29, 2008

A “Star Birthday” is the birthday where ones age matches ones birth date. My first-born son, Casey, was born on the 29th of May in 1979 and today, if he wasn’t killed in BushCo’s war for profit brought to you by the Military Industrial Congressional Complex, he would have turned 29.

In the dark of night when I am tossing and turning from sadness and regret, I often wonder what my family would be doing if Casey were not dead. Casey wanted to get married, have children, be an elementary school teacher and, most of all, live to be at least three times older than he was when he was killed on April 04, 2004 in Iraq. Would I still be married to Casey’s dad? Would I still be working in Health and Human Services for the County of Napa? Would I have finally awakened to the truth that George Bush and his evil occupations are just boils of the much deadlier disease of unchecked militarism? I don’t know because Casey was killed and we won’t be celebrating his birthday no matter what.

This evening in Berkeley, Ca, I was supposed to have debated a military recruiter in front of an audience of students, parents and other community members as my way of honoring Casey’s sacrifice. If Casey died for any “noble cause” it will be to prevent others of our young people from making the same tragic mistake that our family did when Casey was lied to and his goodness was exploited to help fulfill his recruiter’s quota for that month. We found out after Casey died that a recruitment contract is only binding on the recruit and the government can break all of its promises. A unilateral contract used to be against the law before we entered the Bizarro-world of US Empire.

I have absolutely no respect for military recruiters that go after our young people and some as young as 5th grade have had AK-47’s shoved in their little hands that have barely lost the dimples in their knuckles and some of the biggest selling video games are ones based on war and destruction. How can anyone, from Dick Cheney to Sgt. What-a-Liar, face himself or herself in the mirror knowing that their livelihood derives directly from murder and oppression?

Recruitment levels are thankfully down, despite the greatly lowered standards and increased Pentagon recruitment budget. To try to cure even a small part of the sickness that is causing our so-called Republic to slide into a military-fascism, we need to put ourselves in between the military services and our children. To cure the evil of military/corporate Empire, we need to put ourselves in between the US military and the children of Iraq and Afghanistan who did not volunteer to be murdered in their own beds or orphaned by US soldiers who are often victims of poverty and oppression themselves.

A “volunteer” military that counts on poverty, ignorance, a tanking economy, and false patriotism is one of the tools that the Military Industrial Congressional Complex uses to keep our nation in constant war while using the deceptive phraseology of “Support the Troops;” the same troops that they are mis-using as bullet sponges and paid assassins. Some people, who like to complain, but not get out from behind their computers to protest, are comfortable with an all “volunteer” Army because it bestows on them a false sense of safety in their lack of shared sacrifice.

But I reluctantly say: Bring the dreaded-draft on.

A forced conscription would put a crimp in the Military Industrial Congressional Complex’s wars of aggression, because the “not my kid” people would rise up and give the anti-war movement the numbers we have so desperately needed to put a swelling sea of bodies on the streets to demonstrate what 2/3rds of a nation really looks like. I want to go on the record to say that I am not pro-draft, but pro-radicalism. If it takes a draft to radicalize apathetic Americans it is better than having to be radicalized the way I was: by three Army officers appearing one evening in my living-room regretting to inform me that my first born had been killed.

I said I was “supposed” to debate a military recruiter on Casey’s Star Birthday, but that won’t happen because no recruiter had the balls to debate me. Is it because they know they can’t defend their immoral practices, or because they don’t want to look into the sorrow filled eyes of the mother of a soldier who died for lies (on his birthday)—could I potentially be the mother of one of their recruits? Or both?

Today on Casey’s Star Birthday, you can give him a posthumous birthday present. Donate to organizations that do counter-recruitment efforts, or that support soldiers who are resisters. (American Friends Service Committee)

Supporting Cindy for Congress also supports a reduction in US imperial militarism.


Stopping the War Machine: Military Recruiters Must Be Confronted