Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Lee Miller Sheehan (born July 10, 1957) is an American anti-war activist, whose son, Casey Sheehan, was killed during his service in the Iraq War on April 4, 2004, aged 24. She attracted international attention in August 2005 for her extended demonstration at a peace camp outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch garnering her both support and criticism. In May 2007, Sheehan officially ended her involvement as an anti-war activist, saying "I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost."[1] On July 8, 2007, in the wake of President Bush's reduction of the sentence of Scooter Libby, Sheehan announced that she plans to challenge Speaker Nancy Pelosi should Pelosi fail to introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush.

Anti-war campaign

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Sheehan states she initially questioned the urgency of the invasion of Iraq, but did not become active in the anti-war effort until after her son's death.[2]

Sheehan and other military families met with President George W. Bush in June 2004 at Fort Lewis, near Tacoma, Washington, nearly three months after her son's death. In a June 24 2004 interview with the Vacaville Reporter published soon after the meeting, she stated, "We haven't been happy with the way the war has been handled. The President has changed his reasons for being over there every time a reason is proven false or an objective reached." She also stated that President Bush was "... sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis… I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith."[3]

Sheehan gave another interview on October 4, 2004, stating that she did not understand the reasons for the Iraq invasion and never thought that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States. She further stated that her son's death had compelled her to speak out against the war. [3]

Enlarge picture
Friends and family of Cindy Sheehan hold a photo of Casey Sheehan at an anti-war demonstration in Arlington, Virginia on October 2, 2004.


During the Presidential Inauguration in January 2005, Sheehan traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak at the opening of "", a traveling exhibition created by the American Friends Service Committee that displays pairs of combat boots to represent every U.S. military casualty. There she met others who lost family members in Iraq, and together they planned to create an organization for similar families. Sheehan wrote about the experience in a commentary article.[4] She was also a featured speaker when the exhibition opened in San Diego in March 2005[5] and traveled with the exhibition to other locations. "Behind these boots is one broken-hearted family," she stated as she donated her son Casey's boots to travel with Eyes Wide Open when it stopped in San Francisco later that month.[6]

Sheehan is one of the nine founding members of Gold Star Families for Peace, an organization created in January 2005 that seeks to end the U.S. presence in Iraq and provide support for families of fallen soldiers. As of August 2005, at least 63 other relatives of fallen soldiers are listed as members.

Although she had spoken publicly against the Iraq war and occupation since 2004, and even pledged not to pay her 2004 taxes,[7] Sheehan attracted international attention only in early August 2005. At that time, she traveled to Bush's Prairie Chapel Ranch just outside Crawford, Texas. Demanding a second meeting with the President and an explanation of the cause for which her son died[8][9], she created a peace camp called Camp Casey by pitching a tent by the side of the road and announced her intention to stay for the full five weeks or until such a meeting was granted. She also promised that, were she not granted a second meeting, she would return to Crawford each time Bush visits there in the future.[10] Several cabinet members went out to talk to Sheehan, but she refused stating that she would only talk to the President himself. Toward the end of her vigil, she said she was "very, very, very grateful" Bush did not grant her that meeting because it would have ended the momentum the peace movement gained from the popularity of her demonstrations.[11]

Sheehan's actions have led supporters such as Rev. Lennox Yearwood, CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, to describe her as "the Rosa Parks of the antiwar movement."[12] Later during the demonstration, Sheehan also gained the label of "Peace Mom" from the mainstream media.[13][14][15][16]

Some of her statements have caused controversy. One such comment she wrote on her Daily Kos diary on September 24 2005, accusing the media of excessive media coverage of Hurricane Rita:

Insert the text of the quote here, without quotation marks.


In March 2005, James Morris sent an e-mail to ABC's Nightline allegedly written by Sheehan that included the statements that Casey Sheehan "was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel" and that he had "joined the Army to protect America, not Israel." Sheehan denies the allegations: "I've never said that... Those aren't even words that I would say. I do believe that the Palestinian issue[17] is a hot issue that needs to be solved, and it needs to be more fair and equitable, but I never said my son died for Israel." She claims that Morris modified the email to support his own personal agenda. Morris denies altering the email before sending it along to Nightline[18] on Sheehan's behalf (per her request for him to do so). Two other individuals, Tony Tersch and Skeeter Gallagher, received a copy of Sheehan's email directly from her; both claim that the e-mail they received is consistent with Morris' story, rather than Sheehan's. Tersch posted the email[19] he received to the "bullyard" Google group.

Cindy Sheehan on May 12, 2006 published a letter titled "Oh no, Canada".[20] In the letter, she wrote that the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was "wildly unpopular from coast to coast up north and there is a growing sense of unease about his emulation of a very unpopular person in the USA but even more in Canada: George Bush." However, in March, SES Research released the results of a poll[21] indicating that more Canadians in every part of the country chose Harper as the one who would make the best Prime Minister from among the five major party leaders.

She has plans to build a therapy center across from President Bush's ranch for returning war victims.

Crawford Peace House

Sheehan is a director of the Crawford Peace House, which came under scrutiny in March 2007 after not only failing to submit paperwork since May 2006 to retain their corporate charter, but also after having several hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations unaccounted for. If the Peace House forfeits its corporate charter, Sheehan could be held accountable for its debts, a Texas Comptroller spokesperson said.[22]

Chronology of activism

Camp Casey

On August 6, 2005, Sheehan created a makeshift camp in a ditch by the side of the road about three miles from George W. Bush's Prairie Chapel Ranch near Crawford, Texas and announced her intention to stay (sleeping in a pup tent at night) until she is granted a face-to-face meeting with the President.[23] Sheehan started her protest the day the President started a planned five-week vacation. A few days later, the media began referring to Sheehan's camp as "Camp Casey."[24]

She spent the next four weeks in Crawford (except for 5 days spent in California to see her elderly mother, who had suffered a stroke.[25]) On some days as many as 1500 supporters visited Camp Casey[26], including members of Congress, as well as several notable actors, singers, and civil rights activists.

Gold Star Families for Peace, of which Sheehan is a founding member, released a TV commercial featuring Sheehan, broadcast on Crawford and Waco cable channels near Bush's ranch.[27] The group conducted a walk to a police station just outside Bush's Crawford ranch and delivered a bundle of oversized letters written by them to First Lady Laura Bush, appealing to her as a mother for support towards their movement.[28]

On August 16, Sheehan moved her camp closer to the Bush ranch after being offered the use of a piece of land owned by a supporter, Fred Mattlage, who also happens to be a third cousin of Larry Mattlage, a rancher who had fired a shotgun on his property near the demonstration site several days earlier.[29][30]

In late August, Sheehan stated that she would continue to campaign against the Iraq war even if granted a meeting with the President. She also announced the Bring Them Home Now Tour, to depart on September 1 and arrive in Washington, D.C., on September 24 for three days of demonstrations. On the third day, Sheehan and about 370 other anti-war activists were arrested for demonstrating on the White House sidewalk.[31]

September - December 2005

Enlarge picture
Cindy Sheehan in 2005
In September, the Bring Them Home Now Tour was organized by Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans For Peace. It was a rolling anti-war protest against the Iraq War, beginning in Crawford, Texas, traveling three routes across the country (with rallies along the way) and culminating in a rally in Washington, DC in September 2005. It was inspired by and featured Cindy Sheehan as a speaker at many rallies.

Sheehan's activism continued into the winter of 2005/2006. She met with Senator John McCain and, after considering the meeting a disappointment, called him a "warmonger".[32] She later protested Hillary Clinton's stance on the war, stating that Clinton must either speak out against the war or risk losing her job[33][34], and urged Governor Janet Napolitano to withdraw the Arizona National Guard from Iraq at a rally in Phoenix.[35][36] After a short trip back home to California, Sheehan said on October 24 during a media interview[37] that she planned to speak at the White House and then tie herself to the fence, promising to return to the fence as soon as possible if arrested. She did not follow through on this statement.

Around Thanksgiving, Sheehan returned to Texas to protest Bush's vacation without bringing the soldiers home. Bush planned to stay in Crawford through November 28, 2005.[38] In early December, Sheehan traveled to Chicago to attend the annual People's Weekly World banquet. The theme of the banquet was "Make 2006 a turning point year in the fight for peace and justice."[39]

Europe and South America

Sheehan went to London in early December. She was interviewed by BBC Radio 4[40] and by The Guardian.[41] On December 10, Sheehan addressed the International Peace Conference, organized by the Stop the War Coalition and held at The Royal Horticultural Halls. Sheehan was received enthusiastically by the British anti-war movement. Later in the evening, she attended the London Premiere of Peace Mom, a play written by Dario Fo (Literature Nobel laureate) about her[42], in which the role of Sheehan was played by Frances de la Tour. On December 13, Sheehan traveled to Ireland, where she met Irish Foreign Affairs minister Dermot Ahern. She voiced her objection to U.S. aircraft refueling at Shannon Airport, stating, "Your Government, even though they didn't send troops to Iraq, are complicit in the crimes by allowing the planes to land and refuel".[43]

On January 24, 2006, Sheehan took a trip to Venezuela, sponsored by that nation's foreign ministry. Joining more than 10,000 anti-globalization activists in Venezuela for the Caracas World Social Forum with Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez[44], she stated "I admire President Chávez for his strength to resist the United States" while saying she agreed with Harry Belafonte's statement that President Bush is "the greatest terrorist in the world."

2006 activism

On January 31, Sheehan wore a T-shirt reading "2,245 Dead. How many more?" to Bush's State of the Union address and was removed and arrested by Capitol Police.[45] Additionally, Beverly Young, the wife of Representative Bill Young (R., Fla.), was told to leave because she was wearing a T-shirt that read "Support the Troops: Defending Our Freedom." As a matter of policy, visitors to Congress are not allowed to wear shirts containing type of any kind. Sheehan described the event:[46]
I was never told that I couldn't wear that shirt into the Congress. I was never asked to take it off or zip my jacket back up. If I had been asked to do any of those things... I would have, and written about the suppression of my freedom of speech later. I was immediately, and roughly (I have the bruises and muscle spasms to prove it) hauled off and arrested for "unlawful conduct."

After I had my personal items inventoried and my fingers printed, a nice Sergeant came in and looked at my shirt and said, "2245, huh? I just got back from there."

I told him that my son died there. That's when the enormity of my loss hit me. I have lost my son. I have lost my First Amendment rights. I have lost the country that I love. Where did America go? I started crying in pain.



Enlarge picture
Sheehan in Melbourne speaking in support of David Hicks
On March 7, Sheehan was arrested in New York "after blocking the door to the U.S. Mission to the U.N. offices" during a protest with Iraqi women against the war.[47]

Sheehan took part in the "United For Peace and Justice" March in New York to protest the war on 2006-04-29.

Sheehan has accused the United States of planning to attack Iran in an effort to halt that nation's development of nuclear weapons. In two articles on BuzzFlash, she called the passage of the Iran Freedom and Support Act was merely a stepping stone to war, and called on Congress to reject similar measures in the future.[48][49]

On Mother's Day, Sheehan joined Susan Sarandon at a Code Pink organized protest in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. Sheehan told the crowd that Mother's Day without her son was "very emotional" for her.[50]

On May 26, Sheehan spoke at a rally in Melbourne, Australia. The rally was held in front of the offices of the Victorian Liberal Party, and it was in support of the release of David Hicks.[51]

Several organizations are planning a hunger strike for July 4 [52] in which Sheehan has stated she will participate, although she will not be fasting indefinitely as some others have pledged to do. "Some of us like Dick Gregory and Diane Wilson will be fasting until the troops come home from Iraq, and some, like me, will be fasting for a specified time. My fast will begin on 7/04 and end on the last day of Camp Casey: 09/02."[53] Her fast was a full liquid diet.[54]

On July 5, Sheehan appeared on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss the war and her upcoming hunger strike. On the show, she called Bush "the biggest terrorist in the world" and "worse than Osama Bin Laden," and conceded that she would rather live under Venezuela's Chávez than Bush.[55]

In July, Sheehan purchased five acres of land in Crawford, Texas, near Bush's private residence. In a written statement, Sheehan wrote that she "decided to buy property in Crawford to use until George's resignation or impeachment, which we all hope is soon for the sake of the world." She also stated that she "can't think of a better way to use Casey's insurance money than for peace", and that she is sure that Casey would have approved.[56] In an interview on The Stephanie Miller Show, Sheehan said that once her need for the land is over, she intends to donate the land to Crawford for the purpose of converting it into The Casey Sheehan Memorial Peace Park.[57]

In September, Sheehan released her memoir, entitled Peace Mom: A Mother's Journey Through Heartache to Activism. The book recounts her experience of losing her son, along with fantasies of suicide and revenge against Bush, and her transformation into an anti-war activist. Also included in the book are criticisms several other politicians, including: Senator John McCain, whom she accuses of lying to the media about his private statements to her; John Kerry, whom she says she regrets voting for; and Hillary Clinton, whom she calls a "powermonger."[58]

On December 10, Sheehan participated in a pro-impeachment forum at Fordham University alongside Carolyn Ho, mother of Ehren Watada, the first commissioned Army officer to refuse to go to Iraq.[59]

2007 activism

On January 6 2007 she traveled to Cuba and called for the closure of the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.[60] She also visited the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) where she declared: "I am impressed by the school, the quality of the students. I have never seen anything like it in the world; it doesn’t matter what part of the world we come from, or the fact that our governments don’t get along, we have the same hearts and they are filled with love."[61]

In Springfield, Vermont, on March 4, 2007, Sheehan gave a speech at the Unitarian Universalist Church about impeaching Bush and ending the war. [62]

Cindy Sheehan planned on visiting Purdue University, on April 12, 2007, to give a speech on President Bush and the war in Iraq. [63] This visit caused controversy locally and Purdue University enacted security measures not normally used around a guest speaker, such as banning signs or banners from the speech location. Some students let their opinion be known as Sheehan had a hard time speaking over the chorus of boos from those in attendance. At one point in her speech, she referred to the students heckling her as "warmongers."[64]

Cindy Sheehan was invited by the May 4th Task Force as part of a yearly event remembering the Kent State Shootings. After ringing the Kent State bell 32 times to honor the recent Virginia Tech massacre, Cindy Sheehan spoke to a crowded gathering of students, activists and adults from all over the region.[65]

Sheehan officially ends activism

On May 26 and May 28, 2007, Sheehan officially left the Democratic Party after the Democratic-controlled Congress passed a bill authorizing the continued funding of the war in Iraq [66] and ended her involvement in anti-war activism via two messages posted to Daily Kos. The second message, which has also circulated via email, read in part:

I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost. I will try to maintain and nurture some very positive relationships that I have found in the journey that I was forced into when Casey died and try to repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since I began this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious marble. Camp Casey has served its purpose. It’s for sale. Anyone want to buy five beautiful acres in Crawford, Texas? I will consider any reasonable offer. I hear George Bush will be moving out soon, too... which makes the property even more valuable. This is my resignation letter as the "face" of the American anti-war movement. This is not my "Checkers" moment, because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources. Good-bye America ... you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.[67]

Sheehan challenges Pelosi for U.S. House seat

On July 3, 2007, in response to President George W. Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence, Cindy Sheehan returned to activism. She asserted that she will take a new approach to the anti-war movement, but that Bush's recent action "dragged me kicking and screaming back in."[68] In early July 2007, Sheehan announced that she was considering running as an independent candidate against Nancy Pelosi for the U.S. House seat representing San Francisco in California's 8th congressional district.[69] At the end of July she announced that she would run against Pelosi based on her failure to attempt impeachment of Bush.[1] Sheehan lives outside the district, in Dixon, California. However, there is no residence requirement to run for Congress.[70] She moved to Dixon after several protests by citizens of her son's hometown of Vacaville spoke poorly of her and made claims disputing previous statements Sheehan made about her son Casey. Earlier, in 2006, she had spoken of ambitions to challenge Diane Feinstein for her seat in the United States Senate.[71]

On August 9, 2007, Sheehan announced that she was going to run as an independent for Congress against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.[72]

On September 28, 2007, a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington, D.C. issued an arrest warrant for Cindy Sheehan for her failure to appear for arraignment on charges relating to the disruption of a Congressional hearing where General David Petraeus was given his report on progress on the war in Iraq.

9/11 conspiracy theories

In an interview with Alex Jones, Sheehan supported the Jersey Girls' call for a new investigation into the Bush administration's response to 9/11, and said with regard to the controlled demolition hypothesis for the collapse of the World Trade Center that "I'm not an expert and I haven't had time to research it, but it does to me look like a controlled demolition, from a very amateur eye." Noting that some "high profile" people "think 911 was an inside job," Sheenan said that "there's just a lot of very questionable things." [73]

See also

External links

References

1. ^ Anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan gives up her protest - CNN.com. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
2. ^ Cindy Sheehan Is Working To Bring Our Troops Home: "Mr. President. You have daughters. How would you feel if one of them was killed?". BuzzFlash Interviews. BuzzFlash (2004-10-07). Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
3. ^ Henson, David (2004-06-24). From our archive: Bush, Sheehans share moments. TheReporter.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
4. ^ Sheehan, Cindy (2005-02-28). 1492 Empty Pairs of Boots. BuzzFlash Reader Contribution. BuzzFlash. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
5. ^ Anti-war memorial stirring passions among parents
6. ^ Garofoli, Joe (2005-03-26). Empty boots are silent testament to war's toll. Sfgate.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
7. ^ Cindy Sheehan: I won't pay tax. World Net Daily (2005-08-14). Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
8. ^ this link is not working. Washington Post. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
9. ^ this link is not working. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
10. ^ Sheehan Edges Closer To Bush Ranch: Anti-War Protesters Move To Site Provided By Texas Sympathizer. CBS News/AP (2005-08-17). Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
11. ^ Sheehan Leaves Central Texas Wednesday. Kwtx.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
12. ^ this link is not working. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
13. ^ Durst, Will (2005-08-18). FAQ: Cindy Sheehan, 'Peace Mom'. AlterNet.. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
14. ^ Meucci, Jason, Bash, Dana (2005-08-19). Sheehan leaves antiwar camp. CNN. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
15. ^ Joan Baez Joins Peace Mom's Cause
16. ^ 'Peace Mom' returns to Texas to continue anti-war protest
17. ^ The Gorilla in the Room is US Support for Israel
18. ^ Cindy Sheehan Sets the Record Straight or Not?
19. ^ Fw: Nightline Tonight Mon., March 14, 2005
20. ^ Oh No, Canada!
21. ^ PDF
22. ^ Anti-war group in McLennan County loses it’s corporate status, NBC 6 News, KCEN-TV
23. ^ Mom of soldier killed in Iraq stages protest near Bush's ranch
24. ^ Grieving mom may have worn out welcome outside Bush's ranch
25. ^ Link does not work
26. ^ Link does not work
27. ^ Gold Star Families For Peace Launches New Ad Supporting Cindy Sheehan...
28. ^ “Please Convince the President, First Lady Laura Bush”
29. ^ this link is not working
30. ^ Shots fired near Crawford protesters
31. ^ "White House Sidewalk Protest Leads to Arrest of About 370", Washington Post, September 27, 2005
32. ^ this link is not working
33. ^ Cindy Sheehan Rails at the Democrats, Muslim WakeUp!
34. ^ Cindy Sheehan Rattles the Democrats
35. ^ this link is not working
36. ^ OregonLive.com
37. ^ Mother of All Protesters
38. ^ this link is not working
39. ^ this link is not working
40. ^ On her son's death and meeting Mr Bush
41. ^ 'I feel I'm carrying the world on my shoulders'
42. ^ PDF
43. ^ this link is not working
44. ^ this link is not working
45. ^ Activist Sheehan arrested in House gallery
46. ^ What Really Happened
47. ^ Cindy Sheehan arrested during NYC protest
48. ^ Sheehan, Cindy. Mission Accomplished Day. April 30, 2006
49. ^ Sheehan, Cindy. Don't Attack Iran. April 11, 2006.
50. ^ Code Pink Challenges White House
51. ^ Free David Hicks. Civil Rights Defense. Retrieved on 6 June, 2006.
52. ^ troopshomefast.org
53. ^ MichaelMoore.com Must Read
54. ^ Troops Home Fast: Day 6 - Cindy Sheehan
55. ^ 'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for July 5
56. ^ Cindy Sheehan Buys Property in Crawford
57. ^ [2]
58. ^ Cindy Sheehan: Confessions of a Dangerous Mom
59. ^ "If war crimes, legalized torture and crimes against humanity are not reason to impeach, what is?"
60. ^ MSNBC
61. ^ gramma.cu
62. ^ Spoxtalk.com recording of Sheehan's speech
63. ^ Purdue Exponent
64. ^ Indianapolis Star
65. ^ Kent State website
66. ^ Cindy Sheehan (May 26 2007). Dear Democratic Congress. Daily Kos.
67. ^ Cindy Sheehan (May 28 2007). "Good Riddance Attention Whore". Daily Kos.
68. ^ Call Out The Instigator. CounterCurrents.org (July 4 2007).
69. ^ "War protester Sheehan announces plan to challenge House leader", International Herald Tribune, July 10 2007.2007"> 
70. ^ "Sheehan weighs run against Pelosi", MSNBC, July 8 2007.MSNBC&rft.date=July%208%202007"> 
71. ^ "Sheehan considers challenging Sen. Feinstein", USA Today, January 28, 2006.2006"> 
72. ^ "Sheehan Announces House Candidacy", Associated Press, August 9, 2007.2007"> 
73. ^ Prison Planet interview (mp3), beginning at 9 minutes and 11 minutes in


Persondata
NAMESheehan, Cindy
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTIONActivist
DATE OF BIRTHJuly 10 1957 (1957--) (age 50)
PLACE OF BIRTHCalifornia
DATE OF DEATH
PLACE OF DEATH
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Activism, in a general sense, can be described as intentional action to bring about social or political change. This action is in support of, or opposition to, one side of an often controversial argument.
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Casey Austin Sheehan (May 29, 1979–April 4, 2004) was a Specialist in the United States Army who was killed by enemy action while serving in the Iraq War. He is the son of Patrick Sheehan, a sales representative, and Cindy Sheehan, who subsequently became a prominent anti-war
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demonstration is an historically and geographically common form of nonviolent action by groups of people. The term "demonstration" was coined in the United States during the civil rights movement of the 1950s-1970s and refers to the public display of the common opinion of a group
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World War I
Second Boer War
American Civil War
War of 1812
American
Revolutionary War
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Prairie Chapel Ranch is a 1583 acre (6.4 km²) estate located seven miles (10 km) northwest of Crawford, Texas, considered the Western White House of President George W. Bush.
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Crawford, Texas

Seal
Motto:
Location of Crawford, Texas
Coordinates:
Country United States
State Texas
County McLennan
Area
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Peace camps are physical camps that are set up outside military bases by members of the peace movement who for one reason or another oppose either the military bases themselves or the politics of those who control the bases.
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