No one has contributed more to the enshrinement of Cindy Sheehan as an antiwar icon than AP reporter Angela Brown. Tonight, however, Brown stepped over the line with an outright misrepresentation of Sheehan’s history. Brown’s article, which likely will appear in hundreds of newspapers, describes Sheehan’s return to Crawford, Texas. It begins:
A woman whose son was killed in Iraq returned to Texas Wednesday to resume her anti-war protest near President Bush’s ranch after a weeklong absence to care for her ailing mother.
The article concludes with an outright whopper:
Sheehan and other grieving families met with Bush about two months after her son died last year, before reports of faulty prewar intelligence surfaced and caused her to become a vocal opponent of the war.
As anyone who has followed this story knows, this claim is utterly false. Sheehan has always been a “vocal opponent of the war;” her opposition had nothing to do with “reports of faulty prewar intelligence.” By her own account, as we noted here, Sheehan was bitterly opposed to the war before her son Casey re-enlisted in August 2003:
I begged Casey not to go. I told him I would take him to Canada. I told him I would run over him with a car, anything to get him not to go to that immoral war.
The U.N. weapon inspectors were saying there were no weapons of mass destruction. So I believed all along that this invasion was unnecessary and that there was some other agenda behind it besides keeping America safe.
So, far from having been turned into a “vocal opponent” some time after her son’s death, Ms. Sheehan already considered the war “immoral” before he re-enlisted in 2003, and she never did believe the intelligence about WMDs.
Moreover, Brown’s chronology makes little sense. The fact that substantial stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction had not been found in Iraq was well known long before Casey Sheehan’s death in April 2004. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into prewar intelligence on Iraq was commissioned in June 2003, which was not only before Casey’s death, it preceded his re-enlistment. On October 3, 2003, David Kay’s Iraq Survey Group released its initial report, which said that no WMDs had been found. So Angela Brown’s assertion that Sheehan became a “vocal opponent” of the war only after her son died, as a result of revelations about “faulty prewar intelligence,” seems intended to mislead readers by whitewashing the history of Sheehan’s virulent anti-administration past.
This isn’t the first time that Angela Brown has applied a discreet airbrush to the facts relating to Cindy Sheehan. Consider this AP article dated August 11, which begins: