HOUSTON, Texas - Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan spent her 50th birthday in Houston today, attending events aimed at ending the war in Iraq.
Sheehan urged about 100 Houston peace activists to join join her 13-day caravan to Washington, D.C., where she plans to formally announce her candidacy against U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Sheehan, a Californian, announced she will challenge Pelosi if the lawmaker has not moved to impeach Bush and Cheney by July 23.
"My campaign is going to happen, because we know she is not going to put impeachment on the table," Sheehan said.
A spokesman for Pelosi said her "focus is on winning the war in Iraq."
Sheehan said American troops should be immediately withdrawn from Iraq.
"I have a very simple solution. Put our troops on the borders," Sheehan said. "Total and complete withdrawal, close the permanent (military) bases, bring out the war profiteers."
Since announcing her conditional candidacy against Pelosi, Sheehan said the topic of impeachment has received more publicity.
Sheehan even suggested that the Bush administration would refuse a peaceful transition after the November 2008 elections.
"This is why they have to be removed. There will not be a peaceful transfer of power on Jan. 20, 2009," Sheehan said. "I don't want to be an alarmist."
In her speech at First Unitarian Universalist Church, Sheehan also announced her new campaign, called People for Humanity, which is aimed at ending the war, supporting veterans and sending medical supplies to Iraqi refugees displaced by the war.
Many of the anti-war activists went to City Hall today and asked the Houston City Council to support a resolution in favor of impeaching Bush and Cheney.
"The actions of this administration have cost our city dearly," said John Beatty of Houston. "Most importantly in the lives of our children in uniform, but also by increasing the number of Iraqi sympathizers and increasing the risk of attacks on our refinery infrastructure."
"When the National Guard is called to Iraq, the state's ability to control floods and wildfire is compromised," said Christine Morshedi of Tomball.
While some council members thanked the activists for exercising their right of free speech, Councilman Michael Berry called them "terribly rude" for wasting the council's time. The mayor has a policy of not allowing the council to take up non-binding resolutions.
"I never ran on the basis of whether to impeach the president or not," said Berry, a lawyer, businessman and conservative radio talk show host.
Berry said the speakers were "taking up the time of people who have issues that the city can actually address."
"It's not a political circus and that's what Cindy Sheehan is about," Berry said.
Sheehan set up camp outside Bush's Crawford ranch in 2005 as part of her campaign to end the war in Iraq. Two months ago, Sheehan said she was selling "Camp Casey," named in honor of her 24-year-old son who died in Iraq in April 2004.
In May, Sheehan said she was going home to California, after enduring hatred and smear tactics from both the left and right.
This evening, Sheehan said she is "re-energized" by the idea of a campaign against Pelosi and the new effort to help Iraq war veterans and refugees.
Sheehan said she left the Democratic Party after Congress voted to approve more funding for the way.
Chronicle reporter Carolyn Feibel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle