Campus community reacts to Crawford protests

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    The personal crusade of anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan that has drawn thousands to the small town of Crawford has also galvanized TCU students.Sheehan, whose son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in April 2004, has camped outside President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford since Aug. 6. She asked to meet with him for one hour during his five-week vacation, which ended Tuesday.

    The protest has drawn continued national attention, and Bush’s approval ratings have dropped to an all-time low.

    Freshman radio-TV-film major Jeff Thurber said Casey Sheehan volunteered for the military, which weakens Sheehan’s argument.

    “It was his choice to join the armed forces,” Thurber said. “He knew what he was getting into, and so did she.”

    Jason Ratigan, a senior history major, said that while he supports Sheehan’s protest, he thinks some deonstrators are being opportunistic by using Casey Sheehan’s death as a symbol of the peace movement.

    “Anti-war protesters are taking advantage of something horrible,” Ratigan said. “People are taking (Sheehan) and making her into an icon. We’re losing sight of what she’s mad about.”

    Junior English and history major Tyler Brown said he agrees with Ratigan.

    “I think it’s bad that the focus gets put on one woman,” Brown said. “There are thousands of other mothers that lost sons in Iraq.”

    Though opinions are split, some students say they respect Sheehan’s determination.

    “I admire her willingness to confront the issue,” said Lyndsay Peden, a freshman biology and political science major, whose father and brother served in Bosnia and Iraq, respectively. “I think it’s great that someone from that arena is getting her point across.”

    Political science professor Manochehr Dorraj said Sheehan may be the first ripple of a new wave of anti-war sentiment in America.

    “Some members of the public have made the same conclusions as Sheehan,” Dorraj said. “She is touching a salient issue in public opinion.”

    Dorraj predicted that as the war goes, so will Sheehan’s star power.

    “If things become worse, she will become more salient,” Dorraj said.

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