|I went to a MoveOn.Org's meeting against the war on Tuesday, August 28th. This was part of more than 600 such meetings, vigils, and rallies nationwide. The meeting was held in a large hotel in Mark Kirk's district (Illinois 10th congressional, Republican). Mark was invited, but being a loyal Bushist warmonger, he did not attend. Neither did the press and, on the following day, there was no press coverage. However, Jan Schakowsky (Illinois 9th congressional, Democrat) was there, invading enemy ( i.e. 10th ward) turf, but in a peaceful Democratic way rather than in a murderous, imperialistic Republican way. Aaron Freeman, the entertainer, was the emcee, and kicked off with a delightful Mark Kirk imitation with lines such as "people say I am hypocritical and dishonest. However, it is exactly the opposite - I am dishonest and hypocritical". |
The move started off with a singing of the anti-war song "Empty Boots" by its composer, Carol Williams. This was followed by a short movie showing soldiers and citizens speaking out against the war. Representative Schakowsky, who recently led a congressional delegation to Iraq, talked of meeting with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker at dinner. Dinner was a lavish gourmet meal replete with gilded menu cards. It followed the delegation's day of moving about in Blackhawk helicopters wearing protective suits and helmets. General Petraeus stated that the US would need troops there for eight or nine years (it crossed my mind that at the current rate of emigration, there would be very few Iraqis left by then). He also became rather testy when she questioned him about the 150,000 missing weapons.
The meeting proceeded with a number of short speeches, each timed to be about five minutes or so. One local businessman detailed the cost of the war by pausing in silence for 15 seconds and saying that was $125,000 spent. This is based on the figure of $729 million per day. He then listed how this money could have been spent, detailing the numbers of hospitals, college tuition grants , health insurance coverage etc. that it could have been used for instead.
Another speaker discussed Iraqi refugees in Jordan. He explained how they face deportation back to Iraq, how they live in destitution and go begging in the streets and how a poor country like Jordan cannot afford to support these refugees who now constitute about 10% of the people living in Jordan. About 3,000 refugees arrive in Syria and Jordan every DAY.
A bereaved mother bravely explained how her son, Brian, was shot down over Fallujah. His helicopter crashed, killing all 17 soldiers on board. It was shot down by a heat-seeking missile. The night before the US army had raided houses in Fallujah looking for weapons. Well, that weapon, obviously, was not found. She admitted her anger, which was a way of dealing with the grief. She pointed out that in Gulf War I only four members of congress had kids in the armed services in Iraq. In the current congress, I believe it is one. But since there is no draft now, the kids of wealthy Republican pro-war supporters do not need to join the "Champagne Squadron" as the Texas Air National Guard was named during our heroic president;s stint there along with many other wealthy young Texans..
One soldier, who had been a medic with the 10th Mountain division, suffered post-traumatic stress. He was not provided with sufficient medical help and then went AWOL. Another soldier spoke about the horrors of the day-to-day war activities which are not being accurately portrayed by the American media.
The meeting closed with a speech by William McNary, President of USAction. He gave a rousing, fiery speech (he said that he was a Baptist) condemning the war, the waste, the deaths, the suffering and the lies that had been so well described by other speakers. He also warned us of the Freedom watch group, led by the White House professional liar, Ari Fleischer, which is aiming for $50 million to disseminate lies about the war. Ari Fleischer, you may remember, among his other assaults on the truth, claimed that the disclosure of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative was normal business. Karl Rove, was the one who leaked that after testifying that he hadn't, which followed on Bush stating that no source of leaks would be tolerated in his administration, but then tolerated Rove for another year.....but it is better not to get started on their endless lies.
All in all, a fine meeting that banged one more nail in the coffin of this rotting, stinking, lying, murderous, imperialistic administration.