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“Kajillions” Protest The Iraq War In DC

From those lovers of peace at the Associated Press:

Julie Ide of McClean, Va., picks out a sign before the start of an Iraq war protest on the National Mall on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007, in Washington.

Thousands in capital to protest Iraq war

By LARRY MARGASAK

WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of anti-war protesters, energized by fresh congressional skepticism about the war in Iraq, were demanding a withdrawal of U.S. troops in a demonstration Saturday featuring a handful of celebrities such as Jane Fonda and Susan Sarandon.

"We see many things that we feel helpless about," said Barbara Struna, 59, of Brewster, Mass. "But this is like a united force. This is something I can do."

Struna, a mother of five who runs an art gallery, made a two-day bus trip with her 17-year-old daughter, Anna, to the nation’s capital to represent what she said was middle America’s opposition to President Bush’s war policy.

Her daughter, a high school senior, said she has as many as 20 friends who have been to Iraq. "My generation is the one that is going to have to pay for this," she said.

She held a sign that said, "Heck of a job, Bushie," mocking Bush’s words of encouragement to his disaster relief chief, Michael Brown, amid criticism of the government’s immediate response to Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005.

Other demonstrators on a clear, sunny day carried signs to the National Mall that said "Make hip-hop not War," "The surge is a lie," and "Clean water speaks louder than bombs."

As protesters streamed to the Mall, Bush reaffirmed his commitment to the troop increase in a phone conversation Saturday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a day when one or two rockets struck the heavily fortified Green Zone, home of the Iraqi government, thousands of Americans and the U.S. and British embassies.

Bush was in Washington for the weekend. He is often is out of town during big protest days. On Monday, for instance, he called anti-abortion marchers on the phone from Camp David.

United for Peace and Justice, a coalition group sponsoring the protest, said there has been intense interest in the rally since Bush announced he was sending 21,500 additional troops to supplement the 130,000 in Iraq. He termed the increase a "surge" in troops.

The group said its Internet site received more than 5 million hits this month, including 650,000 on Wednesday — the day leaders held a media briefing about the protest.

The rally was scheduled as congressional opposition to the war is building. The Senate is considering nonbinding resolutions that would state opposition to Bush sending the extra forces to Iraq.

Frank Houde, 72, of Albany, N.Y., was a career Air Force pilot who served in Vietnam. Houde did not carry a sign, but said that his protest was on his hat, which said "Veterans for peace."

"The fact is war doesn’t work," he said. "Iraq is not going to work. The war was started for reasons that turned out to be false."

Houde, retired from the antique restoration business, said he was never upset by protests at home while he was in Vietnam.

"I knew most were protesting on principle," he said. "It was a democratic process."

Houde said he came to this protest to be counted and added, "You can’t sit in the middle of the stink of war for a year and not be affected by it. We changed the balance of power in Congress."

He said that since the new Democratic Congress is now starting to listen to those opposing the war, the timing of the protest "isn’t an accident."

Scheduled speakers in addition to Fonda and Sarandon included Danny Glover, Tim Robbins, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy and several members of Congress who oppose the war.

Fonda was a lightning rod in the Vietnam era for her outspoken opposition to that war, earning the derisive nickname "Hanoi Jane" from conservatives for traveling to North Vietnam during the height of that conflict 35 years ago. She has avoided anti-Iraq war appearances until now.

A small group of active-duty military troops planned to attend the protest. A Defense Department spokeswoman said members of the Armed Forces can speak out, subject to several restrictions. They must not do so in uniform, and they must make clear that they do not speak on behalf of their military unit, their service or the Defense Department, unless authorized to do so.

In typical fashion most of the stories leading up to this "protest" predicted a turnout of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators.

A small sampling:

Thousands Expected in Washington to Protest War in Iraq HULIQ, NC - 27 minutes ago Event organizers say Saturday’s rally could draw hundreds of thousands of people. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and Hollywood actors Jane Fonda and …

Local residents joining anti-war demonstration NorthJersey.com, NJ - 3 hours ago Organizers of an anti-war protest in Washington, DC, are expecting hundreds of thousands of people nationwide to march today against the Bush …

Though discharged, Marine still fights battle against war Brattleboro Reformer, VT - 4 hours ago According to United For Peace and Justice, an anti-war coalition of 1400 organizations, the protest could draw hundreds of thousands of demonstrators. …

War protest set Saturday in DC Chicago Tribune, IL - Jan 26, 2007 Groups say they have chartered hundreds of buses and expect tens of thousands of people–some organizers said hundreds of thousands–to descend on the …

SATURDAY PEACE MARCH GLOBAL Free Market News Network, FL - Jan 25, 2007 Hundreds of thousands of Americans will march to their capital city Washington DC on Saturday 27 January. People round the world – let’s join the march with …

Peace activists to march in Washington Reno Gazette Journal, NV - Jan 25, 2007 "They expect hundreds of thousands of people at this march," said Stiller, a counselor at Sparks Middle School. "People from all over the country are …

Now the AP is talking about "thousands." (Of course they will blame the low numbers on the weather or the phase of the moon or something else, just like they always do.)

But note the photographs. Apparently war protesters are late risers.

Still, isn’t it odd how the AP couldn’t get photographs of the protesters mentioned in the articles along with their very clever signs?

She held a sign that said, "Heck of a job, Bushie," mocking Bush’s words of encouragement to his disaster relief chief, Michael Brown, amid criticism of the government’s immediate response to Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005.

Mr. Bush has prevented another terrorist attack against the United States for five and a half years. He has also liberated more than 50 million people in two countries and given them representative democracies.

What has Ms. Struna done?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Saturday, January 27th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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