Iraq war protester marches to Bush's ranch

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - Iraq war protester Cindy Sheehan urged President George W. Bush to “end this madness” in Iraq on Friday in a march toward Bush’s ranch.

A photograph and dogtags of 20-year-old U.S. Marine Alexander Arredondo, killed in Najaf, Iraq on August 25, 2004, lay attached to a cross at a symbolic cemetery at "Camp Casey" near the ranch of U.S. President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas, April 6, 2007. Dozens of crosses representing U.S. troops that have died in Iraq and Afghanistan have been set up by relatives of those killed, part of a protest against the war which began in August 2005 by peace activist Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in Iraq. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Sheehan, a vocal protester of the war since her soldier son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in 2004, also expressed disappointment with Democrats in charge of the U.S. Congress for failing to stop the war.

Sheehan took advantage of a heavy media presence covering Bush’s Easter weekend by leading an anti-war protest of about three dozen people in a march to the security checkpoint outside Bush’s ranch.

Sheehan asked police at the security checkpoint for permission to go see Bush and was told no. She and her group set up an altar with candles on top and she read aloud some of the names of the more than 3,200 American soldiers killed in Iraq.

She said her message to Bush was for him to “end this madness” in Iraq before more people are killed.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and America who are dead forever, and there are families who are destroyed forever because of George Bush’s policies,” she told reporters.

Sheehan started visiting Crawford in the summer of 2005 when she wanted to meet with Bush while he vacationing at his ranch. Bush had met with her after her son died but did not see her again, although he sent some top aides to talk to her.

Bush and the Democrats are on a collision course over the president’s request for $100 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Democrats have attached a troop withdrawal timetable to their legislation, and Bush has vowed to veto it if it reaches his desk.

Sheehan said the anti-war movement has been betrayed by Democrats because their legislation delays the withdrawal.

“We think the timeline is now, not 18 months or two years or whenever they feel like it,” she said, adding that, “Yeah, people are feeling betrayed.”

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe declined comment on Sheehan’s march.

He said Democrats calling on Bush to compromise need to reach agreement among themselves on which elements they support among competing versions of their bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“They need to negotiate with themselves, figure out what their positions are,” Johndroe said.