Cindy Sheehan's controversial T-shirt

Capitol Police issue an apology to the antiwar activist for arresting her at the State of the Union address.

Published February 2, 2006 4:57PM (EST)

In a rare public concession to Cindy Sheehan, Bushs public enemy No. 1, the D.C. Capitol Police last night apologized and dropped a charge of "unlawful conduct" against the antiwar activist. Sheehan, along with Beverly Young, the wife of Florida Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young, was removed from the visitors gallery at the State of the Union address on Tuesday night for wearing a T-shirt with a political message. Sheehans shirt, part of her relentless effort to draw attention to U.S. soldiers dying in Iraq, read: "2245 Dead. How many more?" Interestingly, Young, who also was forcibly removed for wearing the more acceptable "Support Our Troops -- Defending Freedom," was not arrested.

Deputy House Sergeant of Arms Kerri Hanley tells USA Today that the police "were operating under the misguided impression that the T-shirt was not allowed. [But] the fact that she was wearing a T-shirt is not enough reason to be asked to leave the gallery, or be removed from the gallery, or be arrested." (Apparently, lying to the American people about the reasons for invading Iraq is also not enough reason to be removed or arrested.)

As Karl Roves machine tries to spin Sheehan as a crackpot mother or political opportunist, let us remember that it was she who pumped life back into the floundering antiwar movement last summer and reminded us all how important it is to stand up against the powers that be.

By Sarah Goldstein

Sarah Goldstein is an editorial fellow at Salon.

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