Want U.S. Out of Iraq
by William Hughes
In Washington, DC, it was a highly reenergized Anti-War Movement that
rallied on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 25, 2003. Under a blue sky, with
temperatures hovering in the mid-60s, they marched by the thousands. They
demanded that all U.S. troops get out of Iraq and chanted slogans, like:
“No more lies. Bush has got to go. Bring the troops home.”
The route took the protesters from the Washington Monument, to north on
17th St., crossing H. St., near fabled Lafayette Square, (which sits in
front of the White House), then down 15th Street to Pennsylvania Ave,
while passing the Justice Department on their right, and the FBI Building
on their left, to finish off on Constitution Ave., in front of “The
NYC’s Julie Finch was at the rally representing “Woman in Black.”
She said that her organization maintains a silent vigil at such affairs
“to protest war and all its victims.” She added, “We mourn for all
the American soldiers that have died, and for the Iraqi civilians, too.”
Joyce Paulson, of Palm Springs, CA, told me, “I would like to see the
people here today to raise their voices so loud that President George Bush
would finally take the plugs out of his ears and realize that the public
is not fully behind his war policies.”
Heading up the speakers for the program were: Ramsey Clark, a champion of
civil rights and the former U.S. Attorney General; Andy Shallal, Iraqi
Americans for Peaceful Alternatives; Al Sharpton, Democratic candidate for
president; Elias Rashmawi of the Free Palestine Alliance; and Rev. Martin
Luther King, III, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. One of
the most passionate remarks came from Fernando de Solar Suarez, the father
of a U.S. Marine, who was killed in Iraq. Suarez moved the crowd to tears
with his comments about losing his son.
It was the nation’s capital’s first major anti-Iraq War demonstration
since April 12, 2003, barely three weeks after President George W. Bush
had authorized the unjustified Neocon-inspired preemptive invasion of
Iraq. It comes, too, as the Bush-Cheney Gang is attempting, with mixed
results, at Madrid, Spain, to gain international grants to rebuild Iraq.
Carol Ingham came up for the rally from Savannah, GA. She said, “I
missed the marches in the 60s because I had a family to raise. I didn’t
want to miss this one. I feel very strongly we should not be at war.”
Imam Salam, of Fairfax, VA, said, “I’m here today to get our country
back on the right track and fight the “USA Patriot Act,” to stand for
civil liberties for all Americans, and to say ‘no’ to this occupation.
This is definitely Israel’s war.”
Since the pompous War Party unloosened the dogs of war on Iraq, (thanks to
the bum advice of Richard Perle and his Chicken Hawk ilk), 347 brave
Americans have died and nearly 2,000 have been seriously wounded (lunaville.org).
Morale inside the military is very low. The cost is estimated at $6
billion a month to maintain the Iraq Occupation, with no end in sight. The
Iraqi death toll is over 37,000, according to the Iraqi Freedom Party.
Attacks on American forces, too, are averaging around 26 a day.
The rally, organized by International A.N.S.W.E.R and United for Peace and
Justice, brought enthusiastic activists from 38 states and even Canada.
Coordinated demonstrations were planned for 40 other countries.
Entertainment was provided, too, for the marching protesters, via music
with a Korean, Cuban and Hip Hop beat, along with the fabulous drummers
from the “Rhythm Workers Union”. On top of all of that, the celebrated
“Raging Grannies,” belted out of a few of their popular ballads.
There was a sea of colorful signs and banners on display. They blended in
with the last of the Fall’s fading foliage. Some posters railed against
the influence of “Big Oil,” the “Controlled Media,” the
“Military Industrial Complex,” and V.P. Dick Cheney's incestuous and
money-grabbing relationship with the Halliburton Co.; others, took the
Bush-Cheney Gang to task for aiding and abetting militant Israel’s
brutish 36-years occupation of Palestine; and many boosted “Kucinich for
One sign in the crowd read: “Remember the USS Liberty.” It was held by
an elderly man, who looked like he might have been a veteran of WWII. The
“Liberty” is back in the news, after a U.S. Navy lawyer confessed that
the treacherous attack on the vessel by the Israelis, on June 8, 1967,
(which murdered 34 Americans and wounded 141 others), was deliberate and
not an accident. The Israelis were looking to sink the Liberty and blame
it on the Egyptians, according to Ret. Adm. Thomas Moorer. Then-President
Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a cover-up of the War Crime.
A law student, Fadi Kiblawi, from Washington, DC, said, “I’m here to
make a statement, not only against the occupation, but against the U.S.
engagement in the Middle East region, which is currently driven by
neoconservatives on the Defense Policy Board. This policy is looking to
colonize the entire region and to prevent at all cost democracy and true
sovereignty from emerging.”
Despite the success of today’s demonstration, you can expect
off-the-wall criticism from the usual suspects. Propagandists for the War
Party, such as William Kristol, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, George F. Will and
Mona Charen, will once again dip their pens in their poisoned wells and
renew their vile attacks on those seeking a peace with justice resolution
In any event, the Secretary of Defense, the soon-to-be unemployed Donald
Rumsfeld, recently admitted in a memo, to his deputy, Paul “Dr.
Strangelove” Wolfowitz, that Iraq will be “a long hard slog.”
Bottom line: The protesters reflected the view of a fast growing segment
of American society. They want the troops brought home- -now!
© William Hughes 2003
William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party” (Iuniverse,
Inc.), which is available online.