The mother of a killed in Iraq soldier who is camped outside President George Bush's Texas ranch in protest at the conflict rouses great criticism of her opponents. And at the same time she is supported by a growing number of anti-war protesters.
Pro-war commentators characterised her as a "nut" who was being manipulated by the left. The internet gossip Matt Drudge inaccurately claimed that Cindy Sheehan "dramatically changed her account" of one meeting she had with Mr Bush. That claim was then picked up by Fox News and repeated on Slate's website by the columnist Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens accused Ms Sheehan of "spouting piffle" and lambasted her protest as "dreary, sentimental nonsense".
Local residents in Crawford have complained of blocked roads and traffic jams. Some have asked county officials to impose parking restrictions around the site, ВВС informs.
One landowner reportedly fired his shotgun twice into the air last Sunday, but was not arrested. He is said to have told reporters he was "getting ready for dove season".
Personal attacks on her were set to grow yesterday after her husband of 28 years filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences". Patrick Sheehan, who was her high school boyfriend, is seeking a share of insurance money and benefits awarded by the US government after their soldier son's death in Iraq, Guardian reports.
Ms Sheehan, 48, whose vigil in Crawford, Texas, has attracted huge media coverage throughout the US, has become a lightning rod for both pro- and anti-war campaigners during the past two weeks.
Several other parents who have lost their children in the conflict have joined her protest, as polls show public opposition to the war growing. However, Ms Sheehan has constructed a formidable media machine of her own.
TrueMajority, an anti-war group founded by Ben Cohen, one of the founders of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, has hired a Washington public relations firm to work with Ms Sheehan. And Joe Trippi, the man largely credited with Democratic hopeful Howard Dean's early success in last year's presidential election campaign, organised a conference with Ms Sheehan and liberal internet bloggers.
Despite her domestic rift, Ms Sheehan, from Vacaville, California, refuses to leave her makeshift peace camp in Crawford, which has been dubbed, "Camp Casey" until Mr Bush meets her.
The president, who is spending his summer holiday at the ranch, has expressed sympathy for her, but refuses to meet her. He did however send the national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, and the deputy White House chief of staff, Joe Hagin, to talk to her for 45 minutes.
Photo by BBC
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