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Sheehan resumes protest vigil

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Iraq
George W. Bush

CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- A day after she returned to the helm of a protest against President Bush's policy in Iraq, Cindy Sheehan expressed satisfaction Thursday about the peace movement she helped invigorate.

"When I left, it thrived, and it grew, and it's because I'm not alone," said the 48-year-old mother of Casey Sheehan, who was killed last year while serving in Iraq. "I'm not the only one who wants answers to these questions."

With the exception of a week by the bedside of her mother who had a stroke, Sheehan has kept a vigil at Bush's ranch since August 6. She hopes to question him about the reasons for the U.S. invasion of Iraq and to urge an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Sheehan is a founding member of Gold Star Families for Peace, an anti-war group led by relatives of fallen troops.

Her protest has drawn criticism as well as what she has called a "raging inferno" of support.

"If George Bush came out and spoke to me today, and we went home, this wouldn't end," she said. "It will be impossible to put out."

About her late son, she said, "I know, when I get up to greet him, when it's my time, he's going to say, 'Good job, Mom.' He's not going to accuse me of dishonoring his memory.

"I know my son, and I know he would say, 'I don't want any more of my buddies killed just because I'm dead.I want my buddies to come home alive'," Sheehan said.

The comment was a rebuttal to Bush's insistence that a withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake. On Wednesday, he addressed the deaths of nearly 1,870 Americans during the war, saying, "we will honor their sacrifice by completing the mission." (Full story)

Her vigil has drawn dozens of supporters -- and counter-demonstrators -- around the site her group has nicknamed "Camp Casey."

A caravan of people supporting Bush's policy has launched a "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" tour headed for Crawford. Dubbed "Move America Forward," the group plans on arriving there Saturday.

Sheehan said she respects the opinions of those who disagree with her and her belief that the war is "illegal and immoral."

"If there is any family who says that they believe their child died for a noble cause, I say, that is your right. If that helps you get through the day, if that helps you in your pain, because we might not have the same politics but, trust me, we have the same pain."

Last year, Bush met with Sheehan and other relatives of troops killed in Iraq during an appearance at Fort Lewis, Washington. He has refused to meet with her a second time.

Sheehan said she does support the continued hunt for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

"We need to hunt for the person who was allegedly responsible for 9-11," she said. "He's still out there and we've ruined a country that didn't have anything to do with 9-11."

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