Cindy Sheehan became the "face" of the peace movement during the Iraq War by camping outside of President Bush's Crawford Ranch in August 2005. This project explores the possibilities for resistance in the first US war of the Internet Age, specifically analyzing Sheehan's rhetorical acts (an open letter, camping, and her autobiography). Utilizing Galloway's and Thacker's network theory as social ontology and heuristic, resistance is defined through the concept of exploit, where, like computer viruses, movements use rhetorical forms to exploit norms of dominant systems to gain access, "recode" norms, or disrupt systems. Movements, employing distributed structures, work to "write code" or build new systems through a politics of the act. Sheehan's work is an extension of other women's peace movements that have employed networks and rhetorical acts to exploit otherwise exclusionary publics or build new systems.
Tracing historical practices of rhetorical forms for their exploitive possibilities, Sheehan's rhetoric is analyzed against State constituted norms post-9/11, and following Butler and Faludi, I argue dominant discourse constructed norms of heightened patriotism, traditional gender (mother) roles, and fear after 9/11. Although Sheehan's open letter on the internet did not constitute a public tribunal as other women's letters, Sheehan's Camp Casey, initiated by the question of "What noble cause?," spoke through post-9/11 norms while developing a peace movement network constituted through an ethics of care. Camp Casey posed a threat to State order by building a new system operating under care protocols that shifted power away from the State. Resistance and possibility for social change are rooted in changing affective relations, and Sheehan was attacked by Right-wing networks to question her motives and undermine care protocols. Sheehan uses her autobiography to combat the netwar waged by the Right in an attempt to maintain the peace movement. The current peace movement was strongest during Camp Casey where it fully utilized a distributed form, was constituted through an ethics of care, and gained popular support against a sovereign unable to respond or care for the public. Movements should consciously employ network logics, and understand affective dimensions of social change.