A decade ago, a Gold Star Mom who had lost her son in Iraq gained national attention when she staged a protest against the Iraq War near George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Leftist PR flaks took control of Cindy Sheehan's every move, keeping her in the headlines for months on end as a symbol of supposedly strong opposition to the war which toppled Saddam Hussein. In August 2005, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that "the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."
Yet Dowd and the rest of her fellow travelers in the establishment press have almost completely ignored, by their definition, the "absolute moral authority" of Gold Star Mom Debbie Lee, whose son Marc "was the first Navy SEAL who sacrificed his life in Ramadi, Iraq (on) Aug 2, 2006." Lee wrote a scathing letter to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Martin Dempsey after the general's insensitve contention that, in essence, the fact that Ramadi is in danger of falling to the Islamic State is not particularly important.
Dempsey specifically said, as reported 12 paragraphs into a writeup by Robert Burns at the Associated Press (bolds are mine throughout this post):
"The city itself is not symbolic is (sic) any way," Dempsey said. "It's not been declared part of the (Islamic State) caliphate or central to the future of Iraq, but we want to get it back. The issue here is not brick and mortar, it's about defeating ISIL. I would much rather that Ramadi not fall, but it won't be the end of the campaign should it fall - we've got to get it back, and that's tragic for the people."
He called Beiji "a little different" because of the presence there of the oil refinery. Recapturing Beiji would give the Iraqi government control of all of the country's oil infrastructure and deny revenue-generating assets to IS, Dempsey said. Black market sales of oil and oil products have been a major source of revenue for the Islamic State, particularly in areas of Syria that it controls.
"So Beiji is a more strategic target and that's why in fact the focus is on Beiji," Dempsey said.