However, there are some changes at Camp Casey this year. Bush normally takes the entire month of August off, spurring Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez last year to call Bush the "King of Vacations."
Apparently in response to Sheehan’s plans for another protest this August, Bush will be cutting short his vacation, according to Sheehan, who appeared in Sacramento on July 29 at an evening anti-war demonstration at 16th and Broadway organized by Steve and Virginia Pearcy.
Sheehan believes that the abbreviated vacation is a result of Bush’s fear of her and the anti-war movement. After Sheehan announced that she would begin Camp Casey on August 16, Bush changed his plans and said that he was going to his leave his ranch in Crawford on August 14.
"Since he didn’t visit his ranch at Easter for the first time since he has been President, we are beginning to believe that he is frightened of us. It can’t be because we are a physical threat to him: We have proven to be peaceful and non-violent – so it must be that he is afraid of the truth and too cowardly to, again, face grieving families and thousands of others who adamantly oppose his murderous policies," she said.
Consequently, Sheehan said she will begin Camp Casey on August 12 "so we can at least share part of the summer with Georgie." The camp will still run until September 2.
"He’s changed his plans, so we’ve changed ours," she stated at the Sacramento vigil, attended by around 300 people.
Another difference between this year’s Camp Casey and last year’s is that Sheehan has purchased 5 acres of land in Crawford, Texas near the Crawford Peace House with some of the insurance money she received as a result of her son, Casey, dying in combat in Iraq. Camp Casey activists will be both present in the "ditch" where they were protesting last year and the new property, according to Sheehan.
"Half of the property is woodland and the other half is pasture," said Sheehan. "It’s a beautiful and peaceful spot to locate Camp Casey."
She will keep Camp Casey at the new property until two things happen – the US withdraws from Iraq and Bush leaves office. When both of those things transpire, she will donate the property to the City of Crawford to use for a peace park in honor of her son.
"GW is a war criminal," said Sheehan. "He lied to the public. He lied to my son. I don’t want to see any more Cindy Sheehans created in this country. The war has to stop."
Sheehan began her protest in Crawford last year after her repeated requests to meet with Bush were spurned. She doesn’t expect Bush to change his mind and meet with her as a result of this year’s protest. "He’s too cowardly to meet with me," she said.
The Sacramento vigil protested the occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Lebanon, as well as the continued U.S. and Israeli aggression in the Middle East. The Israeli bombardment of Lebanon and the massive death toll of innocent civilians was on everybody’s minds, including Sheehan’s.
"Israeli has the right to defend itself, but that doesn’t including killing innocent people like it is doing in Lebanon and Gaza now. Somebody has to say no to the killing and stop this war!" she said.
Although the corporate media has portrayed Hezbollah as starting the conflict by capturing ("kidnapping" in many reports) two Israeli soldiers, Sheehan pointed out that the soldiers were actually captured on Lebanese soil.
Many signs at the vigil displayed slogans protesting the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, including "Free Palestine: No Aid to Israel," "Impeach AIPAC," and "Occupation Is A Crime, From Iraq to Palestine." Activists came from a diverse array of groups, such as the Sacramento Coalition Against the War, Sacramento For Democracy, Code Pink, Voluntarios de La Communidad, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Zapatista Solidarity Committee and the Central America Action Committee.
Cindy Sheehan has been on an "open-ended hunger strike" since July 4 to urge the Bush administration to bring troops home from Iraq. The fast is organized by Code Pink and Gold Star Families for Peace.
"We hope the fast will galvanize public attention, invigorate the peace movement, build pressure on elected officials, and get our troops back home," Sheehan said in a statement before starting the fast.
If you’re interested in going to Camp Casey to join in the protest and support activities, please contact Gold Star Families for Peace via their website, http://www.gsfp.org. Photo of Sheehan from Indybay.org