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by Rodger Caldwell
Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007 at 8:43 AM
Santa Monica protest march on Jan. 11 against Iraq Surge
5santamonicapeacemarch_0127.jpg, image/jpeg, 640x480
The cold wind blowing over Palisades Park in Santa Monica this past Thursday the 11th was not enough to keep away a peaceful group of anti-war protesters from showing up to voice their opposition to Bush’s next folly in Iraq. An estimated 250 plus activists joined in a candlelit vigil / lively protest rally that started at 6 pm and continued a march through the Promenade blazing until around 8 pm. The group included young and old, hippies and punk rockers, war veterans and lawyers. Some participants spoke of hearing Nixon’s speech to announce the bombing of Cambodia and said Bush is singing the same tune!
If the continual cheers, honking horns and thumbs up signals from passing motorists during the protest are any indicator there is a strong “coalition” of area residents who see this planned escalation of the Iraq war for what it is. Another poorly conceived idea that is strongly opposed by elected officials of both parties (and no doubt the Green Party as well, let’s not forget them!).
During the march through the Promenade, our own little retail Mecca on the coast, one passerby queried “Do you want them to blow up more buildings?” Can it be that even now, many believe Iraq was behind 911? By all reports the greatest death toll has been among Iraqi civilians whose only direct connection to 911 is that they too belong to the human race. I believe that every death of an innocent is remembered by friends and family who now have a heart full of resentment and bitterness towards the USA. Ripe recruits for Al Quaida are created with every bomb we drop in Iraq…and now Somalia. Is Iran next on W’s list?
George W continues to pay no heed to high-ranking military as well. Gen. John Abizaid testified before the Senate Armed Services committee in November ‘06 that he personally asked each divisional commander in Iraq if more troops would add to our probability of success. “And they all said no”! W’s response has been to replace him and other officers who voiced dissenting opinions just before announcing his carefully considered “new direction in Iraq”. A new direction for Operation Iraqi Liberation (O – I – L for short).
Even an old warhorse like Alexander Haig has recently stated “we cannot create democracy at the point of a bayonet”.
In contemplating the cost of this war my mind wanders to “What if we spent 600 billion on our schools? What if we spent 600 job creating billions on R and D or subsidies for renewable energy? How many lives could be saved? How many lives could be enriched beyond their wildest imagining?
The cost in human suffering is beyond measure. The death toll is already over 2000 times what we suffered on 9-11. Returning war vets, many horribly injured and struggling to cope with PTSD, are virtually ignored by this administration. As the child of a combat veteran I know that their families will feel the consequences for generations to come. All for a war to find WMD’s…er to topple Hussein….no, it’s to create democratic society through bombing.
On that breezy, chilly night it was uplifting and inspiring to gather with a bunch of like-minded souls and express our desire for peace. To express our opinion collectively and individually that we believe peace is possible, that this war must end. Hopefully through the efforts of marches like this all over the country, it will end just a bit sooner!
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