In what is called central Texas, Crawford also happens to be the part-time residence of President George W Bush. And during the month of August the president vacations in Crawford, but during his 2005 summer vacation, President Bush had to contend with a woman who camped outside his ranch demanding a meeting of the minds.
Cindy Sheehan, 48, lost her son Casey in 2004 to the war in Iraq. She along with many other parents of fallen soldiers met with the president at a military base in Washington state to grieve, but after reflection, and time passed, Sheehan decided to ask President Bush how the death of her son was advancing his war on terrorism more than one year after Casey's death.
President Bush did not decline to meet Sheehan at first, but after three weeks, the president said that he would not be meeting with Sheehan.
With all the ingredients in place to make for a media event, the number of people crowding into Crawford has quadrupled the city's population, if only for a time. President Bush ends his vacation in Crawford at the end of August and returns to Washington D.C., so too, say Sheehan and her supports, will they.
Pro-President Bush supporters have called upon Crawford as well, at times outnumbering those in support of Sheehan, but anti-"anti-war" groups were set to double their force in Crawford on 27 August in support of President Bush. During normal working hours however, Sheehan's support team continues to grow as other family members of fallen soldiers join at a makeshift camp called Casey.
The final week of showdown in Crawford between Sheehan and President Bush will likely end as nothing more than an August doldrums media blitz. Polls indicate that both the mother and the president have the right to further their causes. Nothing has changed.
Six in 10 voters told the Associated Press poll that troops should stay in Iraq until the country is stable -- no matter how long that takes. Only 37 percent said troops should come home immediately. This suggests strong support for President Bush's plan in Iraq, and the numbers have varied little in the past eight months.
More than half, or 54 percent, said they know someone who has served in Iraq at some point after the invasion in March 2003. Across both party lines, 87 percent said it was perfectly okay for people to protest the war in Iraq and to express their opposition publicly.
In a Harris poll, 46 percent of voters said in October 2003 that troops should stay in Iraq until the country is stable, and in August 2005 the number of voters in agreement with that statement is at 36 percent, slightly higher than it was in July 2005. While 61 percent said troops should come home in 2006 with or without a stable Iraq government, the number is 14 percentage points higher than its low in November 2004 and October 2003.
Whether or not the 2003 invasion was justified, 44 percent say Iraq was worth invading, which has been about the average support each month since May 2004.
Those who say "going to war" was a mistake has averaged between 46 percent and 54 percent for the past 17 months.
The only difference in polls of late was taken by CNN in August, which did show the highest percentage for "withdrawing all" troops now -- with a 33 percent vote, or the highest since CNN started its poll in December 2003. However, when voters are asked about how President Bush is performing in his job --which takes into account Iraq, the economy, jobs, oil, and inflation-- the president is losing ground.
For the past four and one-half years, President Bush has enjoyed a voting bloc of at least 4 in 10 or slightly higher in support of his actions, no matter what he did. In August 2005, his overall approval rating slipped to 34 percent, or the lowest presidential approval rating since former President Jimmy Carter left office in 1981. Only the late President Richard Nixon had a lower approval rating and that was 25 percent.
As of 28 August 2005 some 1,879 military men and women from the United States have died in Iraq, plus and unknown number of deaths suffered from almost 14,000 injuries (the Pentagon does not update is death list when a serviceman dies after hospitalization from war-related injuries.)
With 229 military deaths in Afghanistan, and 194 coalition deaths to date the full military death count is at least 2,302, add to that at least 310 deaths for journalists and contractors in Iraq.
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