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Easter in Crawford - the column

TNC is not going to publish the Easter in Crawford piece because it is not local interest. But that is okay. I mostly did it for myself. I needed a spiritual refresher. So, with that in mind, I cut out my favorite snippets from the article and made it into a well-rounded editorial. Here's the latest Webster Retort for this week's Connection ...


The Webster Retort, April 21, 2006
By Stephen Webster
Investigative Reporter
For: The News Connection

Easter in Crawford

Hello once again, TNC readers. We’ve been right-full with the advertising lately, and my humble column has been bumped like a skullcap in a below-deck cabin on choppy seas. Good To Be Back. And if you remember what I was talking about last, you are probably wondering what happened to the 9/11 Truth series. All I can say is, watch the film Loose Change: Second Edition. You can view it free on the internet. My personal favorite venue is Google Video (video.google.com). Just search for the film’s title.

Okay. Back to Business.

On Easter Sunday, I was in Crawford, Texas, covering a story, a la freelance. On Friday, the Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery, who co-founded with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, came to town. Perhaps you remember one of Rev. Lowery’s more recent hits, uttered at the funeral of Coretta Scott King, in the presence of the Shrub family, the Clintons and Jimmy Carter.

Come on. You remember it. It was classic.

“We know there were no weapons of mass destruction over there, but there are weapons of misdirection right down here!” he said. “Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor!” Amen, Hallelujah and Mahalo. Couldn’t have said it better.

So, I went to Crawford to hear this man speak. Unfortunately, I was a day late. I was so discouraged that I missed him, I almost gave up on getting a story out of the experience. I’d been there before, so what could happen that I had not already seen?

The answer, in short, is … well, quite a bit.

I ended up writing a 4,725 word (that is 10+ pages in 12-point type) feature article in just one day. And to my great surprise, one of Rev. Lowery’s associates from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Rev. Peter Johnson, was giving a speech and invocation for that morning’s Easter service. Ironic, I thought, that Easter would be the same day as the peace house’s third anniversary.

Rev. Johnson’s words seared like fire, and his prayer moved several in the audience to tears. He pleaded with those in attendance to make copies of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount and mail them to the White House. He said he wanted to see their email servers crash from so much gospel, and he begged everyone to get their friends to do it too. I did it, and it felt pretty good. Won’t you join me?

I ended up meeting Cindy Sheehan and talking to her for about 10 minutes. I’ve got to say, even I had some preconceived notions about this woman. I am pleased to say that none of them were true. When I introduced myself, she gave me a giant hug. Just when I thought our embrace was done, she squeezed even tighter. Quite frankly, she is one of the most genuinely kind people I have ever met.

Perhaps the most powerful part of my Easter Sunday in Crawford was talking with the parents of fallen soldiers, as well as a few soldiers themselves. I talked to a guy named Geoff Reymillard, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He told me he had been stationed with the Army’s 42nd Infantry in Tikrit, more commonly known as the northern axis of the Sunni Triangle; a hotbed violence.

“One of the experiences that has made the deepest impact on me, as far as being against the war in general, is that we have to understand the term Haji,” said Reymillard. “During Vietnam you had the term Gook, and today you have the term Haji. There was an incident one day where there was a traffic control point set up. This car sped at the traffic control point very quickly and a young private who was manning a .50 caliber machine gun fired into the car and killed all four of the family members. It was a mother, a father, and two children, both under the age of five. After they were killed it was sent up the chain. I went to a briefing that night and there were two Generals, two Colonels, and two Lieutenant Colonels. After it was briefed to them, a Colonel turns to the entire crowd and he says, and I quote, ‘if these (expletive) Haji’s would learn how to drive, that (expletive) wouldn’t happen.’”

He looked down and took a bite of his food, just shaking his head.

“What we are seeing here is an Iraqi no longer being a human,” he continued. “They become this Haji, just like they became Gooks in Vietnam, they have become Haji’s to our soldiers. Their deaths are not reported at all. They are all just chalked up to being insurgents. That is what happens over and over again. All the Iraqis being killed just ‘become’ insurgents. I just … I don’t know how you can be in favor of that at all.”

The piece I wrote is way too long for newsprint. I think I did it more for myself than anything; you know, exorcising the demons. But if you would like to read it, just send me an email – swebster@thenewsconnection.com. I’ll be more than happy to send it your way.

In the mean time, find yourself a copy of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount and send it to the White House however you see fit. Rev. Johnson would expect no less.

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