On the afternoon of August 2, 2008, I drove to Virginia Beach to cover a lively demonstration at the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base with the themes of "More Diplomacy! Less Deployments!" and "Stop The Next War Now! No War on Iran!"
It was hot, in the nineties, and when I got to the big intersection at Shore Drive and Little Creek Road and parked in the shopping center parking across from this huge base that provides the amphibious forces that invade other countries, it felt like I was stepping into a preheated oven. People were just showing up, but there were already about 18 or so protestors carrying signs, some marching back and forth. At one point later during the protest I counted some 50 people.
The demonstration was organized by the Hampton Roads Peace and Justice Coalition, and to quote from their promotional material, the intent was to:
The action was on the green right next to Gate 1 at the Amphib Base, so you could see the base itself right behind us through the chain link fence We were also right on a main thoroughfare, Shore Drive, so hundreds of cars passed us by during the roughly two hour stint, many of them honking their horns and smiling at us in support. Even in this heavily military area, many, if not most citizens are fed up with war. There were several discordant, antagonistic shouts, such as f**k you, but other than that, the response was very positive. One local TV station, WAVY 10 TV, covered the protest, and Channel 3 called up to say that they had been delayed by a breaking news incident and subsequently were too late. A freelance writer for the Christian Science Monitor was also there taking copious notes, and then there was me, representing OpEdNews.com.
call upon policy makers to use dialogue and diplomacy to avert escalation of the tensions in the Middle East, with particular emphasis on avoiding armed conflict with Iran. Said Retired Navy Commander and Portsmouth resident Dave Timm: "We support our troops, and call upon President Bush and Congress to seek a peaceful compromise with Iran. As Admiral Fox Fallon has stated, the use the threat of force towards Iran is not the answer and will only complicate an already volatile situation in that region."
This gathering has been endorsed by several local, regional and national organizations and is being held in conjunction with 70 local actions held around the country to oppose a preemptive strike on Iran.
Virginia groups that have endorsed the event include: Code Pink! Hampton Roads Chapter; Veterans For Peace; Norfolk Catholic Worker; Norfolk based Navy Petty Officer Jonathan Hutto, Co-Founder Appeal For Redress / Author of "Anti War Soldier"; Augusta Coalition for Peace & Justice (Augusta County); Blacksburg Coalition For Justice; Charlottesville Center for Peace & Justice - CodePINK Charlottesville; Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality (Richmond); Little Flower Catholic Worker (Louisa); Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice; People United; Virginia AntiWar Network (WWW.VAWN.Org); Progressive Democrats of America, Virginia Chapter; Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (R.I.H.D.) (Richmond); Richmond Peace Education Center - RVA4Peace (Richmond); and labor union UE Local 160. The action has been coordinated with the national Stop War On Iran! group. http://stopwaroniran.org
Instead of just taking pictures and writing up some generalities about the event, I decided to interview some of the participants for a good hour and ended up selecting nine interviewees to write on. Following are their reasons for being here this day.
The first person I interviewed was Donna Digoti, who was sporting some kind of bush hat and carrying a GI Rights Hotline Poster both with the phone number (1-877-447-4487) and email address (www.girights.org). She told me that she is just a concerned citizen who also runs a business. "I have been watching, with increasing alarm, the move toward war on Iran, no diplomacy, an exact duplicate of Iraq". She also pointed out the shoddy intelligence on Iran, just like the intelligence on Iraq that led us into an invasion based on false pretenses.
"They want us to go (into Iran), but we can't afford it; it is unfair to Iranians and to our soldiers," she complained. Donna also emphasized how she is disgusted with the corporate media's coverage of events, as well as that of the local Virginian-Pilot newspaper, complaining how the latter constantly skew the news and simply ignores stories that give us wider perspective on the issues.
Lisa Petri is with the Hampton Roads, Virginia chapter of Code Pink (Hampton Roads encompasses Virginia Beach by the way), and, of course, she had some shocking pink in her attire, not to mention on the sign she was carrying, which read "DON'T IRAQ IRAN". When I asked her why she was protesting, she said, bluntly, "I think we are being lied to again." She said she also feared the government would attempt a False Flag Operation to provoke a war with Iran.
She then rattled off some of Code Pink's recent efforts to halt an attack on Iran, including confronting the rather bizarre House Bill, HR 362, which would set the groundwork for the Navy to actually attempt to blockade Iran, a virtual act of war. Lisa and Code Pink have been working tirelessly to derail what she considers a provocation based on blatant propaganda, a bill that leaves out any and all of even the government's own intelligence reports contradicting the bill's allegations against Iran.
Lisa also spoke about confronting Rep. Gary Ackerman, Democrat of New York, who authored this questionable bill, and recounted Code Pink's own July 9th embargo against Rep. Ackerman, who happens to live on a houseboat, giving him a little taste of his own medicine.