Pigs of War

“I believe it is imperative that we never lose our voice of dissent, regardless of political pressure. As Martin Luther King, Jr said: ‘there comes a time when silence is betrayal’…However, it is unforgivable that Congress has been unwilling to examine these matters or take action to prevent these circumstances [executive branch crimes] from occurring again.”

— Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), Introduction to Constitution in Crisis (2006)

Pigs of War come in both political colors of red and blue. We are all unfortunately very familiar with the red pigs. The pigs of war who manipulated, cherry-picked, stove-piped and manufactured intelligence to suggest to the world that Saddam had mushroom cloud producing WMD and something to do with the tragic events of 9-11 that occurred six years ago now.

Many blue politicians are pigs of war and they willingly went along with the deceptions and even parroted red pig talking points whenever they got a chance but now claim that the “fiendishly clever” George fooled them into believing the nearly unbelievable. I don’t know about you, but I take small comfort in that excuse. When we have a system of government where our supposed public servants can profit off of war along with the corporations that pad their bank accounts both blue and red pigs benefit and young people needlessly lose their lives sometimes killing other humans in the process.

Our troops and the people of Iraq are the ones getting trapped between our pusillanimous politicians. These dear human beings become ciphers in purely political calculations from Congress and only an exercise in abstraction from pundits, poets, publishers and the majority of the average American who has not been personally touched by this excremental occupation. In Iraq, every citizen has been personally touched and the American occupation is a living, fire-breathing, palpable entity that has intruded its imperialistic self into every aspect of their daily lives.

How do I know that Congress is playing politics with human hearts? All one has to do is observe the lack of action on the part of the red and blue pigs to come to this sad but inevitable conclusion. Apparently, MAJORITY Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) has spent more time over his summer recess trying to convince red pigs to go against George’s war plan than he spent trying to coalesce his blue caucus into something that would not resemble the red pigs so closely that the blur becomes purple. He and Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) have already decided that they do not have enough votes to end the occupation just as they decided that impeachment was “off the table” even before they were elected! So they will happily hand over to George more of your tax money and China’s money to continue the killing fields in Iraq. Why are they so miserly with democracy, but generous with our treasury and with our dear human treasure?

I got two very overt answers to this question one day in Congress this past spring when I was on the Hill. In one of my meetings with Congressman Conyers, he told me that it was more important to put a Democrat back in the White House in ’08 than it was to “end the war.” After I recovered from my shock, I knew it was confirmed that partisan politics is exactly what is killing our children and the innocent civilians in Iraq. My next stop was in a Congresswoman’s office who has always been 100% correct about the war. She is a lovely woman with a lovely heart and does not in anyway qualify (and there are a few dozen others who do not) as a blue pig. She had tears in her eyes when she told me: “Cindy, when I go to Speaker’s meetings and we talk about the war, all the talk is about politics and not one of them mentions the heartbreak that will occur if we don’t pull our troops out, now.” People are dying for two diverse but equally deadly political agendas. The red pigs want to keep the war going because they feed out of the trough of carnage and the blue pigs want to keep it going for votes! Either way is reprehensible.

There is a lot of chatter about the Petraeus (written and produced by the White House ) report. Will the general recommend drawing down troops — even if he does, three-five thousand doesn’t even bring the number down to pre-surge levels — and the report says, in direct contradiction to the GAO report on the surge, that sectarian violence in Iraq is down 75%, without saying that the red pigs have re-defined the term “sectarian violence.” All I know is that the report will paint a rosier picture than what really exists on the ground in Iraq and like Ron Paul said the other day in the Fox News “Leader of the Red Pigs Wannabe” debate: “How can anyone believe anything they say?”

The blue pigs won’t believe the report, but they will expediently go along with the red pig request to further fund the disaster because they believe that it will mean political victory in ’08.

It is up to we the people to care more about humanity and democracy than either the reds or the blues and it is mandatory that we mount campaigns to defeat the pigs and their masters: the war machine.

Twenty-one families here in America and dozens more in Iraq have felt the sting of the lethal politics of war just since the beginning of September, and the beat goes on.

What if instead of pigs of war in our government, we had elected officials who put humanity before politics and people before profits? Maybe the horrible twin tragedies of the Bush Regime and 9-11 would have never occurred within our borders and the rest of the world could look up to the USA with respect as a true leader in world peace instead of glaring at our shocking and awful quest for empire off the backs of the many who benefit the pocketbooks of the few? It’s not to late, but we are getting there.

Silence is betrayal and the silence of a host of blue pigs is the biggest betrayal of all.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan who was killed in Bush's war of terror on 04/04/04. Sheehan is a congressional candidate running against Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco. You can visit her campaign website at CindyforCongress.org. She is the co-founder and president of Gold Star Families for Peace and The Camp Casey Peace Institute. Read other articles by Cindy, or visit Cindy's website.

13 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. dan elliott said on September 11th, 2007 at 3:21pm #

    In 1988 Lenni Brenner published a book called “The Lesser Evil”, all about the Democrat Pty up to that time, starting w/ Thos. Jefferson, then Andrew Jackson, on to Steven Douglas, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, HST, the Dixiecrats, JFK, LBJ. It’s available online as a Used Hardback for $5 to $10 plus$4 s&h.

    Also Richard Becker has a recent article out re the Dems; I found it v. worthwhile in spite of my reservations re the PSL.

    It’s amazing to me how all these longtime Fulltime Peace Activists keep falling for the same old bunco game. Before the 1964 election, Goldwater talked about needing to escalate troop levels in Vietnam; LBJ talked “peace, peace” until he got elected, whereupon he immediately DID what Goldwater only talked about.

    But Bill Clinton performed us all a great service: do you remember him, all indignant, saying “I did NOT have sex with that woman”? What an actor! Old cynic that I am, he just about had me convinced.
    The point is to realize that the very best professional liars develop truly amazing skills, levels of virtuoso technique comparable to the best musicians you can think of.
    But even more amazing are those upon whom such lessons are wasted. Here we go again, 2004 redux: PDA et al recycling John Edwards as “the Antiwar Candidate”.

    Shall I laugh or cry?

  2. Daniel said on September 11th, 2007 at 8:58pm #

    Pigs, also used by Orwell in his book Animal Farm, are an apt symbol to describe self-serving politicians. Despite their colour they are still pigs!

    If you cut out all the lurks and perks of political office (both official and unofficial) and made the salary package very modest you might attract a more genuine people into the political arena, ones who actually represent the voters rather than themselves!

  3. Hue Longer said on September 12th, 2007 at 2:26am #

    I love you Cindy but your losing the direction you were heading in.

    Dems don’t do this for votes—they insinuate they do this for votes.

    The USA was never a leader in world peace….ever– and why should anyone in the world look “up” to them?

  4. Max Fields said on September 12th, 2007 at 5:42am #

    Cindy I agree with your assessment of the current situation, but I think rather than either buying the propaganda – totally unrelated to a grownup version of American history pretty much undermines your last comment.

    I’m not sure if people think the US needs to return to something it never was (an ideal or goal at best ) because they’ve not acquainted themself with our history, or if they think it convinces others that we were once something and can be again if we just get rid of the dirty/piggy pols.

    Truth is this a cultural illness is deep and self-perpetuating. Our history, long before GWB, is replete with massive killing, government toppling and undermining, arming killer militias in South and Central America, Africa, Middle East, South East Asia, and numerous occasions of long term occupation.

    No, Cindy, this is not new. We need to transform the bad choices we’ve complicitly made in the name of endless growth and averice. We began, sadly, as a representative of imperial Europe and we have become the single imperial, war-mongering nation on the planet.

    We need to face that, as will as the fact that Iraq is not an anomoly, but an exclamation point on what we’ve been. Then, and only then, can we begin to do something. But it won’t be through presidential elections (the system is built to arrest radical change required). It can only happen at the local level, one community at a time.

  5. Eric Patton said on September 12th, 2007 at 7:26am #

    Overall, great article. Might I recommend, however, Zinn’s “People’s History” or Chomsky’s “Year 501” (and if you’re only going to read one, read Chomsky).

    As others have said, us Europeans have been doing this for a long time. It’s time for a revolution. Seriously.

  6. rosemarie jackowski said on September 12th, 2007 at 2:54pm #

    Cindy, thanks for the article and thanks for all you do. The way that I see it there is no difference between the dems and repubs. It would be a toss-up trying to figure out which party is more dangerous. The problem is not Bush OR Congress. The problem is the voters. As long as the people continue to vote for republican and democratic candidates, things will not change. I vote my conscience and for the last 20+ years, I have written in Nader.
    Another part of the problem is the so called anti-war groups who often fail to mention the slaughtered Iraqis. Before you arrived at your protest in Albany, NY about a year ago, I questioned why there were no signs honoring the dead Iraqis. I left the protest as soon as I knew that the “other” dead were to be ignored. I know it was not your fault. You had not yet arrived. My point is that the anti-war groups often, in many ways actually support war and violence- as when they fail to react when contracts and sub-contracts for military gear are awarded to companies in their home towns. That is an issue happening all across the country.
    I mourn the loss of your son. Now we know better and should encourage ALL of the troops to lay down their weapons and refuse to kill. No matter how anyone looks at it, they have to admit that the troops are part of the war machine. When they refuse to kill, the war will end.

  7. Mike McNiven said on September 13th, 2007 at 3:12am #

    Best wishes for your successful run for a seat in the House! Yes, there is a need for a majority humane people there! A very big majority!
    However, it is more than vital to recognize that it was the Clinton Aministration(D) which put the Taliban in Kabul and gave the “… it is worth it…” suffering of eight years to the powerless people of Iraq! The Ds had eight years to solve a problem called Iraq in a “humane” way! But they did not! The Ds could have aided much more humane alternatives in Afghanistan but they CHOSE the Taliban– in a collaboration with the reactionary Saudi&Pakistani regimes! All,undeniable facts!

  8. Gary Lapon said on September 13th, 2007 at 11:11am #


    I don’t see where Cindy white-washes US history in her last point. She’s not saying that we need to return to some glorious past (that I agree never existed), only that we need leaders who will “put humanity before politics and people before profits.” Now, whether or not that’s possible given the structure of the US government and the forces of capital behind it (I think not) is a different question, and this is something the revolutionary left needs to engage those who retain some faith in the current system around.

    This is where things get tricky. A vast majority of US residents oppose the war in Iraq, but their reasons for this vary incredibly widely. Most of the anti-war folks do not at this moment recognize the Iraq war as an “exclamation point” at the end of the centuries-long sentence that is US imperialism. Neither is this clear among the many people becoming newly active in the anti-war movement. In this period, I think it’s detrimental to the movement for those who recognize US imperialism for what it is to take a stance that others have to recognize this as well before we can “begin to do something.”

    Revolutionaries need to work with and engage as many people as possible who are against the war in Iraq, even if they do not share our perspective on US imperialism. We should be open about our views on the matter, but a rejection of US imperialism should not be seen as a litmus test for those interested in building an anti-war movement. Those who seek to end the Iraq war and yet still have faith in the Democrats have and will continue to hit a brick wall, and their ideas will change. This is what happened with Cindy, and this is happening all around the country. Revolutionaries need to be working alongside them when they lose faith in the Democrats, engaging these well-meaning activists in discussion and debate.

    The absence of a political alternative to electoral politics can lead to demoralization and defeat. That said, we must not demand that those we work with in the anti-war movement take the “correct” line on the Democrats, or electoral politics more generally, before we will work with them. We must try to win them away from these views through struggle. The next step, then, is not to convince everyone of a specific line of analysis, and then begin to build. The next step is to strengthen existing and create new grassroots anti-war formations that are democratic, open, and political. That is how minds will be changed, through doing AND discussing.

  9. Max Fields said on September 14th, 2007 at 7:07am #


    We must learn the core lesson of Viet Nam and the killing machine of the 80s and 90s, that without a nexus to the fundamental cause we will be here again and again.

    Many Americans actually think we lived in a time of peace and tranquility during the Clinton years. And what was Iran/Contra for Americans? They put Bush I in the WH.

    A single war/cause/issue has not yielded fundamental and sustainable change.

    The democractic process in America is an illusion; and perpetuates imperialism. Those who like it pretty much the way it is – “thank you very much” – may grow wrestless with the Iraq occupation, but it will not take us out of Iraq. Much blood shed and destruction is before us in that devasted place on our shared planet.

    A grass-roots movement is necessary but it must be deeper and broader than “anti-war”. The “anti-war movement” has existed for over a century. If you don’t keep that in mind than expect to see much of the same in this century as last. We can debate whether it’s stronger or weaker now than in the past. Obviously it has not moved the occupation one iota.

  10. Max Fields said on September 14th, 2007 at 9:41am #

    To get at what I mean by deep and sustainable change, here’s today’s Democracy Now with David Korten and Vandana Shiva.

    War is a symptom of a major “cultural trance of empire”.
    Until we begin to transform our culture (and it is happening) we are condemned to our empire war paradigm.

  11. Gary Lapon said on September 14th, 2007 at 6:27pm #


    I completely agree with you that we need a movement that is more than just anti-war, and that we have to get at the root of the problem, which I feel is capitalism (imperialism being a form of that). My point was that it’s possible to get things done without requiring that people who are active in organizing acknowledge this right off the bat. In a political climate where over 70% of people in the US are opposed to the Iraq war, I think that the first step is to get as many of those people as possible involved in organizing against the war. I also think that revolutionaries need to have their own organizations making many of the arguments you mention above, and that they should work within broader movements.

    Right now there is the potential to draw large numbers of people into a movement that has the demand “troops out now,” and that once they are engaged in that type of organizing revolutionaries need to bring up issues like imperialism. For many people today, coming to an anti-war conclusion has the potential to be the first step towards a broader radicalization. How far many of them go depends upon whether or not they encounter people, organizations, and publications that are making radical arguments. The best place for that right now is an anti-war movement.

    Of course, if the anti-war movement goes no further than challenging the Iraq war, it is unlikely to be successful. Still, I think it’s a correct starting point on the path to fundamentally changing society. It’s a necessary starting point precisely bacause it has the potential to organize broad masses of people into struggle, which is key if you want to change peoples’ consciousness. In “Left-wing Communism,” Lenin argues against German Communists who reject working within Parliament (with the goal of revealing its bankruptcy): “clearly, the “Lefts” in Germany have mistaken their desire, their ideological-political attitude, for actual fact.” Just because a segment of the left realizes that we need a movement with demands beyond ending the war does not mean that working within the anti-war movement is not useful. To abandon the anti-war movement is to deprive newly-radicalizing activists of precisely the types of anti-imperialist views they must be won to in order for the kind of fundamental change you seek to become possible.

    You’re right, the anti-war movement has not ended the occupation, but a strong argument can be made that the Vietnam war was ended in large part due to resistance in the ranks of the military, which was supported and emboldened by a broad anti-war movement, with Vietnam Veterans Against the War playing a leading role. It’s also true (my parents included) that many people began their process of radicalization by actively opposing the war, becoming revolutionaries through that struggle. Today, Iraq Veterans Against the War is growing, including active-duty GIs who have resisted the occupation. In order for more soldiers to have the courage to resist, a strong anti-war movement is necessary. Revolutionaries need to help build that movement, work within it, and through clarity of argument and effectiveness of action win broader layers of people to revolutionary politics.

  12. Max Shields said on September 14th, 2007 at 7:50pm #


    I do understand your approach. It is the hope that first there can be an alliance with those who for whatever reason have had enough of the US occupation. And that the next step would be to get the root cause (capitalism/imperialism). I respect your desire.

    Here’s my issue. We never get to the 2nd part. The issue will, with time dissipate and in due time, when history fades. It will start with small US invasions that barely hit the American radar. And then there will be blow back which results in a variety of military actions. Much of this will be over “national interests” aka resource wars (US uranium or oil or copper, or some other non-renewable resource is in someone else’s sovereign land).

    You see, you and I are learning one set of lessons but the powers that be and military are learning a totally different set – how to win or make the propaganda work or keep the war at some level of tolerance.

    I would suggest Gary you take a look at the Democracy Now segment. Korten, in particular, has put his finger on the problem. It is a 5,000 year problem called: empire. It is a culturally embedded notion of dominance. The US is the last vestige of this (at least right now). That is the pathology that gives us war. The US is never at peace. Iraq is a special case.

    By the way, there is great controversy over whether all of the protesting in the 60s/70s did anything to shorten that atrocity. But if you didn’t live during that time it’s hard to understand the deep comparison with where we are now.

    Perhaps the Carter administration was the least aggressive over the course of the last 55, nearly 60 years; and we know what happened to his administration.

    So, when Cindy pleas for Americans to reach for our better selves; find a leader who will guide us out of this mess that Bush has taken us into, this hell (this is how I read her words) she misses the key point. A leader, say, Kucinich if he were to be elected with the nation in the state it’s in, would be destroyed. The powers that be will see to it that he is either impeached (yes, the powers will impeach a Kucinich) or never sees a 2nd terms (whatever it takes).

    Even a peoples’ movement may have a powerful backlash. Some think even if communities begin to create living democracies and sustainable economies that the large corporate preditors will intervene to end these grass-roots movements once they gain real ground.

    Nevertheless ,I think the community based economics is our only answer to empire and imperialism. It is transformative (not revolutionary). A number of Latin American countries are undergoing this type of transformation. We are in the belly of the beast – it may be tougher(?). Such a movement has the potential of transforming the cuture of dominance and imperialism.

    Protesting the war is like knocking on wood. For those with the power of empathy, the war is hell. It is horrible to know how in our name people’s lives are being destroyed. Demonstrating and protest at least says we disagree.

  13. Richard Neva Norwich, NY said on March 16th, 2008 at 3:24pm #

    All politicians in America are pigs of war! They have to be because corporate America put them in office and they must continue to wage war to keep the capitalist economy afloat! War will only end when we have a Socialist revolution and the capitalists are over thrown and their corporations are nationalized for the public good and not the private good! Break out the guns, it is time to slay the enemy! The Capitalist Pigs!