INSIGHTS - by Joe Howard Crews. Jan. 2, 2007
Three years ago Kathleen and I joined another friend in downtown Oceanside to protest against the war. I remember carrying a sign that read “IRAQ - the new Vietnam”. There were only three of us, all manning opposite corners of the intersection. Lots of middle fingers and nasty invectives, and precious few smiles or V-signs. Suddenly, eggs were tossed at Kathleen. They missed. It was a shocking moment. We were to encounter similar acts of violence in other demonstrations.
Those were the days of madmen and fanatics. My, how things have changed. Monday on New Year’s Day I ran into Kathleen at Balboa Park, where over 220 patriots had gathered spontaneously to protest the death of the 3,000 American troops killed in the Bush war. I also ran into Marcia, the organizer of the first anti-war rally I ever went to. New Year's was a very different day. Not one motorist shouted even one invective, and I saw not one middle finger during the two hours. There was instead a musical cacophony of horn blowing and V-fingers raised in support. Thousands passing by honked their exuberant approval to those of us denouncing the insane slaughter of American troops and the Iraqi people.
The most prominent sign at this rally, a 4 ft. by 8 foot giant, in large letters read “NOT ONE MORE DEATH. NOT ONE MORE DOLLAR.” It resonated with everyone. Several signs read “Support the troops. Bring them home.” My favorite, worn on the shoulders of a tall fellow declared “I refuse to fight in a war lead by men who refused to fight.” Public approval was overwhelming and positive.
As someone who has been protesting this war vigorously since before it even began, I have seen things turn from rabid meanness against demonstrators to the current spirit of gratitude and exuberant support. This is significant. America has awakened to the realization that this long Bush War is a terrible and disastrous mistake. There is strong opposition to the war, even in red enclaves and military towns.
Only one thing is wrong. Bush is not listening. He remains tone deaf to the people of America. He remains mule headed and defiant. Rather than withdrawing troops from Iraq, he and his defiant coterie announced an escalation of the war instead, to send in an additional 30,000 troops, in what has now been labeled The McCain Policy.” The advocacy of John McCain for expanding this war boggles the mind. How can a seemingly intelligent and independent maverick such as McCain, who suffered so much in the Vietnam War, advocate the same failed tactics of that war in the current Bush War. McCain is a deeply flawed man, tragically out of touch with reality and the American people.
McCain is a freak, even in his own party. Strong opposition has developed against Bush and McCain in the Republican party, especially among the pragmatic power brokers who know how this war has seriously fracture their party. They realize that unless the course is reversed, and that very quickly, immense damage will be wreaked on the Republican party for decades. Some realize the fiscal damage done to the nation and the environment is already irreversible.
At this point we proponents of peace and the common good must be especially vigilant. There are clever deceivers among the neo-cons seeking even now to place blame for this catastrophe and this defeat on the messengers of peace and rationality. They scheme to entice the Democratic Party to choose a weak and vulnerable candidate. They tighten their grip on the mainstream media and enrich their propaganda coffers.
I go back to that sign: “NOT ONE MORE DEATH. NOT ONE MORE DOLLAR”. Reading its bold message from across the boulevard, I remarked to a Vet for Peace standing beside me that the first order of business after congress reconvenes in January is another off-budget war appropriation, f
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