Camp Casey Detroit

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sept 24/DC antiwar photo/journal

Dear friends

I was fortunate to be among the 300,000 (at least) persons in Washington, DC for the mammoth "End the War On Iraq" rally and march on September 24, and have put up an online photo/journal of my experiences there. The URL is

I know a good number of you were there too. Wasn't it amazing?!!

By the way, if you have dial-up internet, it will take a goodly while to download all the photos, but there's plenty of text to read while you're waiting.

Hard as it may be to believe if you get your news from mainstream sources, we Americans who see that Bush's war is a disaster are FINALLY in the majority. And we say BRING OUR TROOPS HOME NOW!

in peace
Patricia Lay-Dorsey

Sunday, October 02, 2005

pictures and story

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Cindy Sheehan: My First Time

The fine for "demonstrating without a permit" is $75.00. I am certain that I won't pay it. My court date is November 16th. Any lawyers out there want to help me challenge an unconstitutional law??

Cindy Sheehan: My First Time Today 5:57 PM

The rumors are true this time. I was arrested in front of the White House today. It was my first time ever being arrested.

We proceeded from Lafayette Park to the Guard House at the White House. I, my sister, and other Gold Star Families for Peace members and some Military Families requested to meet with the President again. We again wanted to know: What is the Noble Cause? Our request was, to our immense shock and surprise, denied. They wouldn't even deliver any letters or pictures of our killed loved ones to the White House.

We all know by now why George won't meet with parents of the soldiers he has killed who disagree with him. First of all, he hates it when people disagree with him. I am not so sure he hates it as much as he is in denial that it even happens. Secondly, he is a coward who arrogantly refuses to meet with the people who pay his salary. Maybe the next time one of us is asked by our bosses to have a performance review, or we are going to be written up for a workplace infraction, we should refuse to go and talk to our bosses citing the fact that the President doesn't have to. The third reason why he won't talk to us is that he knows there is no Noble Cause for the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. It is a question that has no true answer.

After we were refused a meeting with the Disconnected One, we went over to right in front of our house...the White House (in front of the gate of course) and we sat down and refused to move until George came out and talked to us. We actually had a good time singing old church songs and old protest songs while we waited. I tied a picture of Casey on the White House fence and apparently, that is against the law, too.

After three warnings to get up and move off of the sidewalk in front of our house, we were arrested. It is so ironic to me that the person who resides in our White House swears to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. The person who is the (p)resident of the White House now has no concept of the Constitution. He was appointed by the Supreme Court for his first term, invaded and continues to occupy a sovereign country without a declaration of war from the Congress, and violated several treaties to actually invade, Iraq too. Not to mention the condoned torture that pervades the military prisons these days. These are all violations of the Constitution. The Patriot Act and denying us our rights to peaceably assemble are serious breaches of the Bill of Rights. George is so hypocritically concerned about Iraq developing a Constitution when he ignores and shreds our own Constitution.

Being arrested is not a big deal. Even though we were arrested for "demonstrating without a permit" we were protesting something that is much more serious than sitting on a sidewalk: the tragic and needless deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Americans (both in Iraq and here in America) who would be alive if it weren't for the criminals who reside in and work in the White House.

Karl Rove (besides just being a very creepy man) outed a CIA agent and was responsible for endangering many of our covert agents worldwide. Dick Cheney's old company is reaping profits beyond anyone's wildest imaginations in their no-bid contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and New Orleans. John Negroponte's activities in South America are very shady and murderous. Rumsfeld and Gonzales are responsible for illegal and immoral authorization, encouragement and approval of torture. Not to mention, violating Geneva Conventions, torture endangers the lives of our service men and women in Iraq. Along with the above mentioned traitors, Condi lied through her teeth in the insane run-up to the invasion. The list of crimes this administration has commited is extensive, abhorrent, and unbelievable. What is so unbelievable is that WE were arrested for exercising our first amendment rights and these people are running free to enjoy their lives of crime and to wreak havoc on the world.

The fine for "demonstrating without a permit" is $75.00. I am certain that I

Over 3,000 people marched and rallied in Salt Lake City

I got this on the net.



Dayne Goodwin

Over 3,000 people marched and rallied in Salt Lake City on September
24. Saturday's demonstration was organized around unity on one
political issue: "Support the Troops, Bring Them Home Now! U.S. Out of
Iraq." The crowd was fairly representative of the (limited) diversity
of Utah's population.

The rally at the city government building included anti-war songs,
hip-hop, poetry and speakers in the following order: Salt Lake City
Mayor Ross "Rocky" Anderson, Reverend Dan Webster of the Episcopal Peace
Fellowship, United Steelworkers union representative Julie Holzer of
U.S. Labor Against the War, Isaac Giron of Youth for Socialist Action
(who participated in World Youth Festival in Venezuela in August), Tala
Fakhouri of Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land, Gina Cornia of
Utahns Against Hunger, Robert Littlehale, M.D., of Veterans for Peace
and Joan Maymi of Gold Star Families for Peace.

In addition to the growing opposition to the war, the mayor's support
for the protest had a lot to do with it's relative success. I met Rocky
Anderson when he became an activist in the Central America solidarity
movement some twenty years ago; he is an unusually independent-minded
and radical Democrat. Last month an Anderson e-mail promoting protest
when President Bush came to Salt Lake to speak to the Veterans of
Foreign War national convention (August 22) was leaked to the press.
Instead of etreating, Anderson stepped up his support for that protest
(of around 2,000 on short notice) and he sent out a letter supporting
the local September 24 demonstration.

Whereas the August 22 anti-Bush protest was a happy, united affair
among the liberals and 'radical' Democrats who naturally took
leadership, preparing the September 24 protest was difficult, with
tension among organizers over issues that brought out political
differences between Democrats, 'radicals' who want to influence the
Democrat Party, revolutionaries who want to build a politically
independent mass movement, and the local 'anarchist' expression of
ultraleftism. The continuing bitter split in the Utah Green Party
(between those who supported the independent Nader-Camejo 2004
presidential campaign and those who supported the GPUS national officer
clique in _de facto_ support of John Kerry) and the resultant overlay of
personal antagonisms that involve some key local anti-war activists,
exacerbated the usual challenges facing a small group of volunteer

Although we weren't a very happy group, and organizing work suffered as
a result, we still managed to work together and mobilize a strong
anti-war demonstration that was even larger than the pre-war early 2003
demonstrations in Salt Lake City.

We are the ones we've been waiting for

Monday's journal entry gave voice to what I saw and heard on that historic day of protest in our nation's capitol. It was a good place to start. This morning I awake early with the need to recall how it felt to be among over 100,000--in my opinion, more like 500,000--women, children and men on those streets and patches of earth where so many millions have stood and marched in demonstrations for peace and justice since Washington, DC first became the geographical center of our federal government.

There is an energy deposited there that you feel through the soles of your feet, or, in my case and that of my wheeled sisters and brothers, through the wheels upon which you ride. It is an energy of persistence in the face of seemingly impossible odds, an energy that says your presence matters, that each individual has a unique and essential place in the whole. We were not a mass of humanity on those streets, on the Ellipse or on the Mall. No, we were a collection of individual drops of heart, head, body and spirit that together flowed into a river of resistance, a sea of responsible action, an ocean of intent. Separate drops of water take millennia to change the surface of a stone upon which they fall; rivers, seas and oceans transform seemingly solid realities in an instant.

September 24, 2005 was just such an instant.

It was the day our country manifested a new reality, the truth that the majority of people who live in this well-meaning but often unthinking nation do NOT go along with their president's war on Iraq. They do not believe his protestations that we must "stay the course." They say, "Get out now and bring our troops home where they belong!"

At least a half a million people said that with their presence in DC, and probably a million more said it with their presence at rallies and marches in cities and towns across our country. Not to mention our sisters and brothers in other countries.

To be in the presence of such determination, such extreme concern and deep-felt conviction was like getting a transfusion of hope. This is who we are, not the lemmings we'd feared were following their leader off a high cliff. Every one of the individuals who showed up in Washington, DC on Saturday paid for that experience with comfort, convenience, money, time and in many cases, the approval of their family and friends.

It wasn't just that we had travelled--many of us hundreds and even thousands of miles--to be there, it was that many of us had travelled uncounted miles of changed attitudes and deepened commitment to the principle that true democracy means our voices count, that we are the democracy in which we believe. There were more first-time protesters than at any previous national demonstration, perhaps in history, persons for whom it was not the norm to take to the streets, especially not the streets of their nation's capitol.

Think of it: hundreds of thousands of individual women and men who made the decision--for many an agonizing decision--that enough was enough! This president and his administration have taken a wrong turn and are leading our country on a path that leads to ruin. Each person marching beside the majestic houses of government on those historic streets, sitting and standing during the rally at the Ellipse, stopping to meditate on the true cost of war at the 1,910 crosses, Stars of David and crescent moons planted in the earth under the Washington Monument, dancing to the music of politically aware performers at the concert on the Mall...each of us carried the seed of change within our hearts and minds, each of us is an essential part of the transformation our world and planet needs to survive. As the song goes, "We are the ones we've been waiting for."

As the day wore on, as marchers who had been on the street for hours passed by 14th Street and New York Avenue, NW, where I stood as my friend Lisa waited in a l-o-n-g line for sandwiches for herself, Jessi and me, my sign drew hundreds of smiles, cheers and thumbs up. Earlier in the day it had drawn no response, but by 5 PM on Saturday, September 24, 2005 on the still-crowded streets of Washington, DC, people knew in their guts what my sign really meant. It said, "Look around you--See Our Power!"

And our power is what we need to recognize and use in order to take our country back from leaders whose inclinations and actions lead to death and destruction for all but their favored few. Stopping the war on Iraq is just the beginning. We need to keep Saturday's momentum going and growing with grassroots mobilization of concerned citizens and non-citizens alike. Each town and city must become a center of thought and action where people come together to reclaim their power locally and nationally. But it must go beyond that. We must coordinate our efforts so our true power is felt. The things that divide us must be put aside, at least for now. We must find and build on what unites us. Within that shared consciousness, we'll find that our differences will enhance not separate us; they are the building blocks that strengthen rather than the barriers that divide.

The internet is an effective tool to use in this country-wide mobilization, but there must be opportunties to come together regularly, face-to-face and voice-to-voice. We need to continue to take to the streets, but even more than that, we must sit in circles and discuss what we think and determine what actions we need to take. It seems to me we can use the model created by those for whom civil disobedience is a tool of change: local affinity groups and regional spokes councils. Each affinity group would meet regularly and then send a member or two to a regional spokes council where decisions would be made by consensus. And, in this case, each regional spokes council would choose members from its body to meet regularly in a national spokes council.

We cannot wait; time is of the essence. I see the groups and individuals who organized this September 24th national mobilization as the natural leaders of our movement. Cindy Sheehan and her co-workers from Camp Casey Crawford and the Bring The Troops Home Now! Tour, Medea Benjamin and her sister organizers of Code Pink, the folks at United For Peace & Justice, and A.N.S.W.E.R. are a just a few national leaders who come to mind.

Let us not stop now. Saturday's march and rally, Sunday's trainings and meetings, and Monday's civil disobedience and Congressional lobbying were just the start. Now is the time to work together to make the changes we know must be made. WE are the ones we've been waiting for!

--posted by Patricia Lay-Dorsey

Monday, September 26, 2005

September 24, 2005 in Washington, DC...from my perspective

There were signs that made you laugh (a man carrying a sign with a picture of a strawberry and the words "Just another Fruit For Peace") and some that made you cry (an African-American woman with her son, carrying a hand-lettered sign that read "No Iraqis left me on a roof to die"). There were more handmade signs than I've ever seen before.

There were more people per square inch than you can imagine. There was a mile-long march that took five hours for everyone to complete. There were chants, drums, trumpets, saxophones, whistles, flutes, tambourines, and spontaneous cheers that erupted every couple of blocks. There was more focus, passion and seriousness of purpose than I've seen at any of the 6-7 DC rallies/marches I've attended. At the same time there were more smiles and expressions of love than I've ever seen or experienced in such a large gathering of "strangers"...even on the Metro subway train where we were packed tight as sardines in a can.

Cindy Sheehan spoke, the Rev. Jesse Jackson preached, Joan Baez sang, Sweet Honey In the Rock performed, and lots of us late-night folks danced. There was a Code Pink pre-rally rally at 10:30 AM at the Freedom Plaza (14th & Pennsylvania), the MAMMOTH official rally at 11:30 AM at the Ellipse, a peace & justice festival with tents and booths under the Washington Monument from 10 AM-10 PM, a march route that took us by the White House for the first time in years, and an Operation Ceasefire concert on the Mall with the largest stage and speakers I've ever seen, including two mammoth screens so even us folks way at the back could see and hear the wonderful performances and speeches that ran from 5 PM-1 AM.

There was also row after row after row of white crosses, Stars of David and crescent moons planted in the ground beside Cindy Sheehan's "Bring Them Home Now! Tour" tent on the Mall. More than 1,900 young American men and women dead in Bush's war on Iraq, and that doesn't begin to mark the uncounted--over 100,000?--Iraqi women, children and men dead. And the numbers grow every day.

There were WW II, Vietnam and Iraqi veterans, Gold Star families who have lost loved ones fighting in Iraq, untold numbers of peace groups marching together, grey-haired Vietnam-era activists, young people with black bandanas covering their noses and mouths, families with small children, high school and university students, busloads of folks from Florida to Vermont and Virginia to Oregon, and individuals from every state in the nation and many other countries. There were Muslim women in scarves, a stiltwalker whom I've seen for years at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, and an Ann Arbor woman in a wheelchair whose bare breasts were taped over in strategic places with blue duct tape that matched her outfit.

There was the man dressed in military fatigues, carrying a "Troops Out Now!" sign, who when I asked if he had fought in Iraq said, "No, but my two brothers are over there now. I'm here for them." There was the white-bearded man dressed in a suit and tie who sat in a wheelchair at the Constitution Avenue side of the Ellipse holding a sign that said, "WW 2 Vet For Peace." There was the man who walked by me on the march carrying a sign that said, "To our soldiers: Thank you for your blood, sweat, tears & service--but it is time to come home. We will work to bring you HOME!"

There were the mixed feelings of pride and shame I always get when I march by the Old Executive Office Building next door to the White House where my father had an eighth floor corner office as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council during the Truman and Eisenhower presidencies...pride that I am now doing all I can to stop US imperialism and war-mongering, and shame that my idealistic, ambitious father didn't seem to recognize how he was adding to those disastrous American attitudes and actions.

Lisa, Jessi (from Lansing) and I (from Detroit) had a wonderful but long 11 and 1/2 hour journey to DC on Friday and again today (Sunday) with stops for food and such. We stayed in a pleasant, reasonably-priced Holiday Inn in Chevy Chase, MD just blocks from a Metro Station. We three got along great even though we didn't get enough sleep and had a VERY long, VERY active day on Saturday. Like so many others in DC on this grey, occasionally damp day, this was Lisa and Jessi's first-ever antiwar demonstration. We all agreed we wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Who knows? Maybe we'll look back and say, "Remember September 24, 2005? That was the day the people rose up and STOPPED Bush's war on Iraq!" May it be so.

--posted by Patricia Lay-Dorsey

Interviews with demonstrators

day of walking and intensive talking still gave me only the smallest
sampling of such a demonstration. To my amazement, on my way to the Metro
heading back to New York at about 5:30 (almost seven hours after I first
set out for the Mall), I was still passing people marching. So I can't
claim that what follows are the voices of the Washington demonstration,
just that they're the voices of my demonstration, some of the thirty-odd
people to whom I managed to talk in the course of those hours. They are but
a drop in the ocean of people who turned out in Washington, while the
President was in absentia and the Democrats nowhere to be seen, to express
in the most personal and yet collective way possible their upset over the
path America has taken in the world. As far as I'm concerned, we seldom
hear the voices of Americans in our media society very clearly. So I turn
the rest of this dispatch over to those voices. Dip in wherever you want --
as if you were at the march too.

Angry Graphic Designer: On the corner by the Metro, we meet Bill Cutter and
a friend. Cutter is carrying a sign with a Bush image and enough words to
drown a city. We stop to copy it down. It has a headline that asks, "What
did you do on your summer vacation?" Inside a bubble is the President's
reply: "Well, I rode my bike, killed some troops, killed even more Iraqis,
raised lots of money for my friends, ignored a grieving mom and, for extra
credit, I destroyed an American city!" Cutter, a forty-five year old
Washingtonian with a tiny goatee, says simply enough, "I'm just an angry
graphic designer with a printer." The previous day he made his sign and his
friend's (an image of Bush over the question, "Intelligent design?"-- and,
on the back, Dick Cheney with quiz-like, check-off boxes that say, "Evil,
Crazy, or Just Plain Mean, Pick any three!" We're all looking for the
demonstration's initial gathering place, and so we fall in step and begin
to chat. A sign-maker will prove an omen for this day -- the march will be
a Katrina, a cacophony, of handmade signs, waves and waves of them,
expressing every bit of upset and pent-up frustration that the polls tell
us a majority of Americans feel.

Cutter explains his presence this way: "I figure that if we live here and
don't do something, it's ridiculous. Cindy Sheehan's sacrifice is so much
huger than anything anyone has done, so how could we not?"

On what is to be done in Iraq itself, he first says, "It's a tough one" --
a comment I will hear again and again, even from those intent on seeing
American troops withdraw immediately. On this day, you would be hard
pressed not to come away with a sense of Americans in protest over Bush's
war and the mess he's brought to our very doorstep, and yet deeply puzzled
by what is now to be done and how exactly to do it. "We've gotten ourselves
down a rat hole," he continues. "I don't know what to do. Ultimately, I
think it's going to end up as a civil war there and we'll have caused it. I
only wish the Democratic Party had the balls and would seize the moment.
It's like they're practicing the politics of safety. Do what's safe, not
what's right." He pauses. "It's the politics of expediency," he adds with
disgust just as we arrive at a plaza filled with a sea of pink balloons --
a sign that the antiwar women's group Code Pink is gathering here. We part
at this point with him saying brightly, "I'm not sure 'enjoy yourself' is
quite the right thing to say... but enjoy yourself!"

Disabled (Peacetime) Vet: On the plaza we run into 48 year-old Steve
Hausheer ("How-ser," he says, "but if you look at the spelling, you'll
never pronounce it right.") -- or rather he rolls past us at quite a clip
in his wheelchair. He's dressed severely in black, but has a kindly, open
face. When I stop him, he swivels around, removes his black-leather
wheeling globes ("my hands are a mess...") and shakes firmly. "I'm
disabled," he says, "but I was in the peacetime military. I'm a peacetime
vet. Seventy-six, seventy-seven. I just missed the Vietnam War." He's
unsure about giving an interview. "I get really excited. I'm impassioned
about this cause, but then everything just flies out of my head!" He's from
New York, he tells me, and adds, excitement in his voice, "I've looked
forward to doing something more than just talk to my friends and donate.
I'm just so tired of seeing this country head in the wrong direction. It's
time to get proactive!

"We need to support the troops," he insists with feeling and then, after a
pause, "by bringing them home. We're stuck now. We've torn Iraq apart and
there are going to be no easy answers. George Bush has taken us so far down
the wrong road that it's going to be very difficult to find our way back.
My wish is that the people speak up until Congress and the other forty
percent of America that still thinks he's doing a good job change their mind.

"The men we're trying to bring home are true heroes and we need to treat
them as such. It isn't bad enough that he put them in harm's way through a
lie, now he's working to treat them as anything but heroes. Can you believe
it? He wants to cut their disability payments!"

I thank him, we shake hands, he begins to don his gloves and then, at the
last second, he calls me back. "One more thing," he says and begins to give
me this final comment in a slow, measured way as you might dictate to a
stenographer: "I want to put this country back into the hands of men and
women who are dedicated to serving the American people instead of
themselves and their cronies." He stops, satisfied, and then adds, "This
would be my quote, if you have to pick one."


Saturday, September 24, 2005


By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 2:57 PM

Absolutely massive. Loud. Pissed. Beautiful. Did I mention loud?

Haven't seen the riot cops yet.


By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 2:31 PM

I just overheard ten cops getting new orders to move barricades and open the streets further. They are scrambling to control the size of this thing.

The march has finally begun again, and a light rain is falling.


Holy Crap
By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 2:23 PM

CNN is estimating the crowd here to be more than six hundred thousand strong.

If CNN says it, it must be true.



By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 2:14 PM

The crowd is getting restless. They want to march. I cannot find the front of the thing. It is splayed in all directions.

Jessica Lange is speaking from the stage, but I can't hear her because of the helicopter overhead.


By Scott Galindez

Saturday 24 September 2005 1:54 PM

Huge is an understatement. The march has surrounded the White House.
Hundreds of thousands. This is the largest march I have seen in the over two decades that I have been attending.

The crowd is diverse, a true cross-section of American culture.


Too Big
By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 1:46 PM

The march is unable to move because there are so many people coming in from all directions. Constitution Avenue is a wall of humanity. I am up on the hill that holds the Washington Monument, looking down on the crowd. This is a massive, massive showing.

Hot damn.


Riot Cops
By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 1:25 PM

Kevin Spidel of PDA ran up to the front of the march. Apparently, there is a huge gathering of cops in battle gear up the line waiting for us. The march has stopped again and I don't know why.

The Amtrak line is running again.


By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 1:17 PM

There are apparently several lines of the DC Metro shut down, supposedly for electrical problems. The Amtrak line from New York is also closed.


The Long Line
By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 1:11 PM

They are running a long rope through the crowd. Attached to the rope are pictures of every soldier who has died in Iraq. It took a long time to pass my spot. Next to me was a woman whose son is over there. She had a look on her face I can't describe.

The march is underway.


By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 12:56 PM

The crowd is all lined up and ready, shouting, "Let's go!" in one voice.


The Count
By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 12:42 PM

It is pretty safe to say that there are more than a hundred thousand people here. Many more. Welcome to the majority.


By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 12:28 PM

I think the ANSWER rally is ending and people will begun feeding into the street.

Funny moment. Mimi Kennedy is standing here trying to give someone directions to this spot: "Walk past the peace signs and through the pink balloons. Turn left at the Abu Ghraib guy and pass the giant Bush head."

Hee hee hee.


Patriotic Dissent
By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Speech

Saturday 24 September 2005

Ahhhh, I love the smell of Patriotic Dissent in the afternoon!

As we stand here on the grounds of a monument that is dedicated to the Father of our Country, George Washington, we are reminded that he was well known for the apocryphal stories of never being able to tell a lie. I find it so ironic that there is another man here named George who stays in this town between vacations, and he seems to never be able to tell the truth. It is tragic for us that our bookend presidents named George have two completely different relationships with honesty.

Read the complete article


By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 12:06 PM

The march just got huge all of a sudden. Medea Benjamin has taken control of things here on the street. Cindy Sheehan just took the stage and the whole place went berzerk.


Coming Together
By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 11:48 AM

It is something indeed to watch a bunch of groups trying to get organized amid a crowd of thousands and thousands of people. The speeches have begun on the ANSWER stage.

The soldiers are here, too, doing their martial law exercise. The Raging Grannies are getting ready to sing. The people keep coming.


By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 11:31 AM

We have to march around a clot of counter-demonstrators who are being thunderously shouted down.

The Iraq veterans are here. The streets of DC are wild.


PDA's Corner
By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 11:13 AM

Here at 14th and Constitution, all the PDA caucuses and members are gathering. The crowds around us are swelling, and the shouting has already begun from the stage.

A lot of the people here are protesting the war for the first time. I am also seeing a lot of young people. Good stuff.


Chanting at Penn Station
By Scott Galindez

Saturday 24 September 2005 11:00 AM

Amtrak service from New York has been delayed for 2 hours. A spontaneous demonstration erupted at Penn Station as delayed passengers chanted, "Bring the troops home now!" All service has now been restored.


Big Stuff
By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 10:55 AM

The crowd here is incredibly large already, and the march itself is still more than an hour off. I am standing in the middle of Camp Casey, transplanted to DC.

The funny part is that all the rebels and so-called outsiders here are suddenly in the majority according to all the polls. Roll, wheel.


Here We Are Again
By William Rivers Pitt

Saturday 24 September 2005 10:00 AM

Here we are again. White skies and relative cool in DC today. Need to find some coffee.

Let's go march.


History in the Making
By Scott Galindez

Saturday 24 September 2005 8:15 AM

We are preparing to leave our hotel in Washington, DC. In the lobby there is a picture of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Later today, all eyes will be on a grieving mother who has emerged as a leader of the movement to end the war in Iraq.

I observed Cindy Sheehan rise to the occasion many times in Crawford, Texas. She responded to the media with a calmness that takes most people years to learn. I watched her take her message to a new level during the first Saturday rally at Camp Casey.

Today, however, the eyes of the world will be on her, and for that reason George W. Bush and his administration should be nervous. The Congress that authorized the war has good reason for concern as well. If Cindy Sheehan delivers today she may emerge as not just a leader of the anti-war movement but a leader of our country.

Come Sunday morning Cindy may just be the leader of the opposition to the current government. No Democrat has really stepped up to fill that hole.
After spending three weeks covering Cindy in Crawford, I think she can do it.

There is excitement in the air here - everywhere you go you see groups of protesters. We will keep you up to date throughout the day. Well it's time to head for the White House and watch history develop ...


Why We're Marching
By Medea Benjamin
Common Dreams

Friday 23 September 2005

On Saturday, September 24, tens of thousands of Americans from all walks of life will come together in Washington, DC to call on Congress and President Bush to end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home now.

When hundreds of thousands of us marched against this war before it began, the Bush administration called us a "focus group." Now that focus group represents the majority of the American public, who in all the most recent polls are saying this war was a mistake, it's unwinnable, it makes us less safe at home and it should end.

Read the complete article


When Rose Met Cindy: The Case against the War in Iraq
By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent UK

Friday 23 September 2005

On both sides of the Atlantic, two mothers who lost sons in Iraq have launched campaigns to end the conflict. One camped outside George Bush's ranch. The other stood in the general election. This week, they came face to face for the first time. Andrew Buncombe reports.

Along the sunbaked sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue came the sound of singing. It was music from an earlier generation, but as relevant now as it ever was. "All we are saying is give peace a chance," chanted the group of demonstrators as they made their way to the north-west gates of the White House. "All we are saying is give peace chance."

At the head of the huddled group was Cindy Sheehan, the woman whose soldier son, Casey, was killed in Iraq last year and whose campaign to demand an explanation for the war from President George Bush took her to the gates of his Crawford ranch, made headlines around the world and - seemingly almost single-handedly - re-energised the US peace movement. At her side was Rose Gentle, a woman whose son, Gordon, was also killed in Iraq and who has launched a similarly relentless campaign to demand answers from Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"It's exciting to be here, to let George Bush know what we think about the war," Mrs. Gentle said moments afterwards, standing at the junction with 17th Street, carrying a photograph of her son wearing his uniform of Royal Highland Fusiliers. Asked if she thought he would have approved of her campaign, she glanced at the photograph of the young man, 19 years old, and
replied: "Gordon would have wanted this. His pals are still there [in Iraq] and he would have wanted them home safe. They still keep in touch."

Read the complete article


Anti-War Rally Will Be a First for Many
By Petula Dvorak
The Washington Post

Friday 23 September 2005

Focused message draws protesters of all stripes.

The seasoned protesters who organized tomorrow's antiwar demonstration are well-versed in many other causes. They have marched and rallied against police brutality, racism, colonialism and the policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

But their message on the Mall tomorrow will be singular: "End the war in Iraq."

Because of that sharp focus, they will be joined by novice protesters such as Patrice Cuddy, 56. Interviewed by phone yesterday, the former public school teacher in Olathe, KS, said she had to pull off her gardening gloves each time a neighbor interrupted her yardwork to ask about joining the bus she had chartered to go to the nation's capital.

Read the complete article

Debating Cindy Sheehan

September 16, 2005

Debating Cindy Sheehan

Bill O'Reilly vs. Phil Donahue

By CounterPunch News Service

Transcript from the O'Reilly Factor, FoxNews

O'REILLY: In the past Miss [Cindy] Sheehan has criticized Israel,
saying it is occupying Palestine, has called Iraqi insurgents
"freedom fighters," has accused Americans of killing people ever
since we stepped on this continent, has threatened Hillary
Clinton with the loss her job unless she calls for a pullout of
US troops from Iraq and has called the US action against
Afghanistan a failure. Quite a resume and with us now is Phil
Donahue, who supports Miss Sheehan's "dissent." So, I'm assuming
you don't - you don't support all her positions that I just

DONAHUE: Let's understand what's happening here. Once again we
have a woman who got to be just a little too famous for the
people who support this war, a minority of the American population,
by the way, and so the effort to marginalize this woman is
underway and you're helping out.

O'REILLY: I'm the leader of the pack!

DONAHUE: You're suggesting ...

O'REILLY: I'm the leader of the pack!

DONAHUE: First of all, Cindy Sheehan is one tough mother and
nothing you say or anyone else is gonna slow her down.

O'REILLY: That's fine. She has a right to ...

DONAHUE: You can't hurt her. She's already taken the biggest
punch in the nose that a woman can take.


DONAHUE: She lost a son.


DONAHUE: She's lost a child.

O'REILLY: But look - I'm not puttin' words in her mouth ...

DONAHUE: And by the way, she is going to be at the center of
one of the largest rallies since the Vietnam War. Proud, patriotic
Americans who will show up in Washington this week for one of
the most massive, largest demonstrations - protest demonstrations

O'REILLY: OK. And we'll cover it.

DONAHUE: ... right outside the President's window.

O'REILLY: And we'll cover it.

DONAHUE: And FOX is in the business of saying that this woman
is somehow saying un-American things - hyperbole.

O'REILLY (getting angry): No. No. No. No.

DONAHUE: Listen to what she's saying.

O'REILLY (checking his notes): Nobody said she said anything
un-American. We say that her positions are radical. And they
are radical!

DONAHUE: Let me tell you what's radical. (getting a little angry
himself) What's radical is to send more Americans to die in this
war, which is a monumental blunder by a President ...

O'REILLY (under his breath): Alright.

DONAHUE: ... who swaggered us into it with - by the way - the
at least tacit approval of the Democratic Party.

O'REILLY (shifts in his chair, upset): You know what's radical

DONAHUE: There's a lot of sin to go around here!

O'REILLY (angry, wags finger at Donahue): What's radical for
this -

DONAHUE (won't let O'Reilly finish sentence): Do you want to
send more people to this war?

O'REILY: Hey listen ...

DONAHUE: Is that your postiion?

O'REILLY: If we cut and run outta there, like you wanna do, we
would be putting every American in a thousand times more jeopardy
than they're in now.

DONAHUE (forcefully): We're going to cut and run anyway, Bill.

O'REILLY: Well, that's your opinion. I don't think we are.

DONAHUE: It's not my opinion. American military leaders have
said we're gonna draw down beginning next year. The reason
they've said that ...

O'REILLY(angry now): There's a difference between drawin' down
and cuttin' and runnin'!

DONAHUE: Alright....

O'REILLY (angry, jabs finger at Donahue): You're a cut and run
guy and I don't want my family in danger because of you ...

DONAHUE: You wanna stay the course, don't ya'?


DONAHUE: You don't ...

O'REILLY (getting angrier): Here's what I want to do. I want to
give the Iraqis a chance to train their army so they can defeat
these people who are tryin' to turn it into a terror state.

DONAHUE (calmly): Bill

O'REILLY: That's what I want to do! Go!

DONAHUE: Bill. This - Iraq was not a terrorist state.

O'REILLY (exasperated): Oh, no!

DONAHUE: I hope I don't patronize you for saying ...

O'REILLY (dismissive hand gesture) : Saddam was a swell guy!!

DONAUME: Saddam ...

O'REILLY (loudly, sarcastically): He was just a great guy!!

DONAHUE (louder): Saddam - Saddam was a bastard, but he was our

O'REILLY: He wasn't anybody's ...

DONAHUE: Donald Rumsfeld shook his hand in the 80s.

O'REILLY: Alright. Well that's great.

DONAHUE: You saw the pictures! (reasonable tone of voice) Now
listen - listen. You wouldn't send your children to this war,

O'REILLY (very angry, pointing): My nephew just enlisted in the
Army. You don't know what the hell you're talkin' about!!!

DONAHUE: Very good. Very good. Congratulations! You should be
proud ..

O'REILLY (starts to lose it, shouting, pointing finger, hand
shaking): And he's a patriot, so don't denigrate his service
or I'll boot you right off the set!!!

DONAHUE: I'm not ... I'm not ...

O'REILLY (very, very loud): That boy made a decision to serve
his country!!! Do not denigrate him or you're outta here!!!

DONAHUE (calmly): I'm not Jeremy Glick, Billy.

O'REILLY: That's right!!

DONAHUE: You can't intimidate me!!

O'REILLY: You're a little bit more intelligent that he is!!

DONAHUE: I'm not somebody you can come and just spew all your

O'REILLY: Don't tell me I wouldn't send my kids.

DONAHUE: Loud doesn't mean right!

O'REILLY: My nephew just enlisted. You don't know what you're
talkin' about!!

DONAHUE: Your nephew is not your kid. You are like ...

O'REILLY: He's my blood!

DONAHUE: You are part of a loud group of people who wanna prove
they're tough ...

O'REILLY (shifts angrily in his chair, under his breath): Aw
fer ...

DONAHUE: ... and send other people's kids to war to make the

O'REILLY (very loud): You have no clue ...

DONAHUE: This ..

O'REILLY: ... about how to fight a war on terror or how to defend
your country. You are clueless! So is Miss Sheehan and for Miss
Sheehan to say that the insurgents have a right to kill Americans
and you're shakin' her hand! You oughta just walk away.

DONHUE (quieter): How many more young men and women are you
gonna send to have their arms and legs blown off ...

O'REILY: Hey, this is a war on terror!

DONAHUE: ... so that you can be tough (points his finger at
O'Reilly) and point at people in a kind of cowardly way..

O'REILLY (disgusted, under his breath): Oh, yeah.

DONHUE: Take people like Jeremy Glick who comes on to - in memory
of his parents ...

O'REILLY: Oh bull.

DONAHUE: ... and you go off on him.

O'REILLY: Jeremy Glick accu ...

DONAHUE: ... like a big bully.


DOAHUE: Billy, you hafta be - you hafta feel sorry ...

O'REILLY: Mr. Donahue, with all due respect ...

DONAHUE: Have you apologized to him for that?

O'REILLY: Baloney!

DONAHUE: Do you know ...

O'REILLY: Jeremy Glick came on this program ...

DONAHUE: Do you know what I'm talking about?

O'REILLY: ... and accused the President of the United States

DONAHUE (sarcastically): Oh, and you had to ..

O'REILLY: ... of orchestrating 9/11. That's what he did. Right
after 9/11!! Do you know what the pain that brought the families
who lost people in 9/11?

DONAHUE: This war ...

O'REILLY: You buy into left-wing propaganda ...

DONAHUE: This war ..

O'REILLY: ... and you're a mouthpiece for it. (shifts in seat,
clenched mouth) Go ahead.

DONAHUE: This war is not fair to the American troops. This war
is unconstitutional. This war turned its back on the people who
framed the most fabulous document in the history of civilization.
I speak of the United States Constitution.

O'REILLY: Alright. Why ...

DONAHUE: This ... By the way ...

O'REILLY: Why isn't the Democratic party speaking that way?

DONAHUE: I'm sorry that it isn't. I am. But let's understand

O'REILLY: Are we all ...

DONAHUE: Excuse me.

O'REILLY: Are well so misguided ...

DONAHUE: Excuse me. Twenty-one Democrats in the Senate voted
against this war as well as Jeffords, an Independent, and- may
the Lord shine His blessings down upon Lincoln Chaffee ...

O'REILLY: Alright. I'm gonna say something and I'm gonna ...

DONAHUE (louder, refuses to be stopped): I'm almost finished,

O'REILLY: I'm gonna give ya' the last word.

DONAHUE: I'm almost finished!

O'REILLY: Alright.

DONAHUE: Lincoln Chaffee, the only Republican in the Senate to
vote against this war. We should be building statues to all
these people. October 2002 ...

O'REILLY: Alright;

DONAHUE: ... they stood up to as President and they knew that,
first of all, only Congress can declare war. Why is that
unimportant to you, Billy?

O'REILLY: Listen. It's not - I'm not ...

DONAHUE: Become the patriot that your loud voice proclaims you
to be

O'REILLY: The loud voice ...

DONAHUE: ... and stand behind the Constitution and insist that
we never go to war again without the approval and the consent
of the United States Congress.

O'REILLY: Alright . That's why we have the Congress. If they
want to take action, they can take action. Now I'm gonna say
somethin' then I'll give you the last word. The Iraq War is not
something I embrace.

DONAHUE makes surprised sound.

O'REILLY: It absolutely could be a tactical error.

DONAHUE: Well you should ...

O'REILLY (louder): Just listen.

DONAHUE: It's hard to know this.

O'REILLY (louder): Listen ta' me ..

DONAHUE: It's hard to know this.

O'REILLY: ... and I'll give you the last word. Not something
they embrace. Could be a tactical error and we have not waged
it the way I had hoped we would wage it.

DONAHUE: But, what?

O'REILLY: But ,,,

DONAHUE: You want to send more kids ...

O'REILLY: The war on terror ...

DONAHUE: ... to die.

O'REILLY: We're in a war on terror. Our cause is noble.

DONAHUE: It has nothing to do with the war on terror.

O'REILLY (louder again): Yes, it does. And if you don't understand
geopolitics, if you don't understand Iraq would be a terrorist
state if we pulled outta there...

DONAHUE (loudly): It's a mistake.

O'REILLY: ... then you don't know anything. Go ahead.

DONAHUE: It was poorly planned ...

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

DONAHUE: ... and poorly executed but Bill O'Reilly wants to send
more kids to fight and die. We've already had two thou - almost
thousand - (gestures for O'Reilly to hold off) - just let me
have the last word. In the last year two things have doubled.
The number of dead American troops in Iraq has doubled and you
know what else doubled, Billy? The price of Halliburton stock.

O'REILLY (upset): Alright.

DONAHUE: From $33 to $66. That doesn't shame you? That doesn't
make you wonder ...

O'REILLY: I'm not upset by Halliburton stock.

DONAHUE: ... whether this is an enterprise that is worth the
support of the American people. We need you at this rally on
Saturday, Billy..

O'REILLY: OK. I'm not gonna be at your rally.

DONAHUE: We need you out there in front of it to protest.

O'REILLY: I'm not gonna be at your rally.

DONAHUE: There is no democracy without dissent.

O'REILLY: I'm not gonna protest.

DONHUE: You should be proud of people who stand up and dissent.

O'REILLY: I am. I respect your ...

DONAHUE: A lot of fine men died to give me that freedom.

O'REILLY: You got. You got it. I respect your dissent. I think
you're way off in your analysis of the war on terror.

DONAHUE: You want to send more people to die? Is that your

O'REILLY: I wanna win the war in Iraq.

DONABHUE: Win. What does "win" mean?

O'REILLY: Means ...

DONAHUE: Tell me what "win" means?

O'REILLY: Means those people have a chance at democracy.

DOPNAHUE: How long's that gonna take.

O'REILLY: I gotta go. I gotta go.

DONAHUE: How long's that gonna take?

O'REILLY: Those people deserve a chance at freedom.

Cindy Sheehan: American Mother Has Iraqi Audience

Cindy Sheehan: American Mother Has Iraqi Audience


(Cindy Sheehan's message resonates in Iraq today. She's become the
best-known and most articulate and clear-sighted leader to have
come out of the anti-war struggle at this time. I'm sure efforts
to find dirt on her must be going on 24-y, but she hasn't made a
single false move to date and she also give the Democratic Party
no slack for its complicity, either. A great example for us all!)

American Mother Has Iraqi Audience
By Borzou Daragahi
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 22, 2005

BAGHDAD - Khalda Khalaf feels Cindy Sheehan's pain. She's been there, too.

Her 28-year-old son, Majid Khalid Kabi, died in 2004 fighting on the
opposite side in the same months-long stretch of clashes between
Shiite militiamen and U.S. soldiers in which Spc. Casey Sheehan

"Of course, she's a mother and just like our people are hurting,
she's hurting too," says Khalaf, a 52-year-old resident of Sadr City,
the east Baghdad slum where Sheehan's son died in April 2004. "Just
as she wants America out of Iraq, so do we."

Sheehan, the antiwar mom who is due to lead thousands of
demonstrators converging on Washington on Saturday to protest the
U.S.-led war, has become a minor celebrity in Iraq as well. The same
satellite channels that bring quick, often gruesome coverage of the
violence in Iraq to the nation's TV screens also gave regular updates
on Sheehan's lengthy vigil outside President Bush's Texas ranch.

Forty years ago, during the Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh and his top
deputies kept a close eye on U.S. public opinion and the antiwar
movement. Now on the streets of Baghdad, Najaf and Mosul, even
ordinary Iraqis have heard of Cindy Sheehan and formed opinions about
her and her movement.

"I sympathize with her and her cause, but I don't think that the
American administration will be affected by such a thing," said
Hassan Hashim Mahmoud, a 32-year-old government employee in Najaf.

Television and newspapers have reported the upcoming marches. And
footage of her speaking before previous rallies, aired on television
channels such as Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and Al Sharqiya, has made
Iraqis aware of the antiwar movement in the United States.

Even poor families such as Khalaf's know about Sheehan via "news"
videos distributed by political parties, such as the radical Shiite
Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr's movement, for whom Kabi died in August
2004 in Najaf.

To some Iraqis, Sheehan's stand at Bush's ranch and her continuing
opposition to the war make her a hero.

"The president doesn't have the credibility to face the mother of the
U.S. soldier who was killed in a war that many in the U.S. say was a
fatal mistake," columnist Muthana Tabaqchali wrote in the Iraqi daily
Azzaman, which the U.S. Embassy considers hostile to the American
mission in Iraq.

"Sheehan was a lady who stood like a lioness with her lofty staff in
front of the president," he wrote. "She collected all her strength
and motherhood to face the strongest president in the world to tell
him enough!"

Others, however, view her with cynicism.

"This might be a part of a political game, like when pictures of
prisoners' abuses in Abu Ghraib prison were published, just to harm
President Bush's reputation," said Hameed Shabak, 35, a Mosul

In front of the Faqma ice cream shop in Baghdad's Karada district,
Fathel Saad, a silver-haired professor of philosophy and theology at
Babel College south of Baghdad, debated a friend about Sheehan while
finishing up an ice cream cone.

"I think she is misguided," Saad said. "What the Americans have given
Iraq is the greatest gift: the freedom to think."

His friend, schoolteacher Fares Mukhlis, disagreed. "This is a brave
woman standing up for her principles that are correct," he said.

Nabeal Mohammed Younis, a professor of political science at Baghdad
University, recalled seeing Sheehan's image on Al Jazeera, the Arab
news channel, while having lunch at a Baghdad hotel with colleagues.

"We said that this woman is not very different from the women in Iraq
who've lost their sons," Younis recalled. "We started talking about
Cindy Sheehan and started to distinguish between how the women are
affected by the war and how the men are affected."

With thousands of Iraqis killed in violence since the March 2003
invasion and with the legacy of Saddam Hussein's tyranny still
haunting them, Iraqis are inclined to sympathize with a grieving
mother, regardless of their political views, Younis said.

"Most of them are with her and share her misery for losing her son,"
he said.

Sheehan's plight, as well as the news of thousands of Americans
voicing concern about the troubles in Iraq, helped Haqqi Fathulla, a
33-year-old Mosul resident, feel personally connected to Americans.

"The stand of this woman emphasizes the fact that there are no
hostilities between Iraqi and American people," he said.

Times special correspondents in Najaf and Mosul contributed to this

Patriotic Dissent

Patriotic Dissent
By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Speech

Saturday 24 September 2005

Ahhhh, I love the smell of Patriotic Dissent in the afternoon!

As we stand here on the grounds of a monument that is dedicated to the Father of our Country, George Washington, we are reminded that he was well known for the apocryphal stories of never being able to tell a lie. I find it so ironic that there is another man here named George who stays in this town between vacations, and he seems to never be able to tell the truth. It is tragic for us that our bookend presidents named George have two completely different relationships with honesty.

I also find it ironic and heartbreaking that my son, Casey, who was a brave person, tall and proud, who loved his country and was honest beyond measure, could be sent to his death by someone who is even too cowardly to meet with a broken-hearted mom, let alone go and fight in the illegal and immoral war of his generation. We are losing our best and our brightest in a country that we are destroying, that was no threat to the United States of America. Iraq was and still is no danger to our safety and security, or to our way of life. The weapons of mass destruction and mass deception reside in this town: they are the neocons who pull the strings and the members of Congress who have loosened the purse strings with reckless abandon and have practically given George and company a blank check to run our country into monetary and moral bankruptcy. We are out here in force today to take our country back and restore true democracy and sanity to our political process. The time is now, and we are here because we love our country, and we won't let the reckless maniacs destroy her any further.

We, as a young colony of Great Britain, broke from another tyrant, King George the Third. Well, I wish our George the Third were here today to see us out here in force protesting against his war and against his murderous policies. George is not here, though, because he is out galavanting around the country somewhere pretending that he cares about the people who are in the path of hurricane Rita. We know that he cares nothing for the people of America: Katrina, Iraq, and his idiotic response to 9/11 are evidence of that. He is just out and about play-acting like a President whose country is in crisis, just like he pretends to be a Commander in Chief and a Cowboy (I wonder if before he took off to Texas or Colorado or wherever he went, he watched a movie like Independence Day to see how that other fake president acted?). The reason he is out today is that his handlers told him that he got a little flak for playing golf and eating birthday cake with Senator McCain while some of his employers were hanging off rooftops and treetops in New Orleans. He swaggers around arrogantly like he is a macho dictatorial tyrant who doesn't have to answer to his employers, the people of the United States of America. Those days are over George, we are here today to tell you that we are a majority and we will never rest until you bring our young people home from the Middle East, and until you start putting money into rebuilding OUR communities: the ones natural disasters destroy with your help, and the ones which your callous and racist war economy are decimating. We won't allow you to take anymore money out of social programs to finance Halliburton to rebuild the Gulf States: there is no money. Our bank account is empty. George, this is our rainy day and you have failed us miserably. Stop pouring money into the pockets of the war profiteers and into building permanent bases in Iraq ... It is time to bring our billions of dollars home from Iraq too!!!

One thing the Camp Casey movement that hunkered down in Crawford, Texas, this past August taught us is that we the people of America have the power and we can and should name our national policy and make sure it is carried out. I constantly get asked if we are making a difference and if we think (like we're naïve boobs) that we will actually stop the war. Well, looking back at how Vietnam was ended and looking back in the history of our country, most notably in the suffragette, union, and civil rights movements, we the people are the only ones who have been able to transform history and affect true and lasting change here in America: so to those people who question if we are making a difference: I tell them to go back to school and read their history books!! And another thing these questioners overlook is that WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!!! And we are here to tell the media, Congress, and this criminal and criminally negligent administration: WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY!!!

We in the peace movement need to agree on one thing: yes we need an exit plan, but it is not a strategy, it is a command. The command should be: have all of our military personnel and paid killer mercenaries out of Iraq within 6 months, and the generals carry out the command. Simple, it's not brain surgery, and I think it is so easy even George Bush can sign the order. We can't give the homicidal maniacs any wiggle room or long-term strategy sessions. For one thing, when our leaders strategize, we are put in even more jeopardy - they have proven that they are not too bright or even a little compassionate. But the most important thing is that people die every day in Iraq for absolutely no reason and for lies. We have to say NOW because the people on the other side are saying NEVER. We can't compromise, we can't say please, and we can't retreat. If we do, our country is doomed. We have to honor the sacrifices of our loved ones by completing the mission of peace and justice. It is time. Bring our troops home, NOW!


Friday, September 23, 2005

New -- and Old -- Antiwar Protesters Hope to Turn Momentum Into a Movement
Peace by Pieces
New -- and Old -- Antiwar Protesters Hope to Turn Momentum Into a Movement

By David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 22, 2005; C01

One after another their trails led them here -- from California, New York,
Baltimore -- disparate members of the same movement, drawn by some strong
instinct that told them: Now is the time. This is the place.

Folded into a couch at one end of the restaurant is Tom Hayden,
silver-goateed eminence of antiwars past, while huddled with colleagues at
a long table is Leslie Cagan, doyenne of the peace movement's present.
Looking wan and wrung out in yet another corner stands Tia Steele, whose
stepson was shot in the throat and killed in Fallujah.

It's not just the usual peacenik suspects. Washington Wizard Etan Thomas
bounds up on the restaurant's stage to perform his updated Gil
Scott-Heron-style poetry -- They knock down doors to start wars / With
hands stained by the blood of foreign sands -- for a packed house that
includes David Meggyesy, the former Cardinal who quit the National Football
League in protest of the Vietnam War.

Vietnam? The unquiet ghost, the untamed analogy, is loose in the air.
There's that old nervy feeling that Something Is Happening. Here. Now. But
you could be mistaken.

Every movement needs a crossroads, a watering hole, an asylum. Busboys and
Poets -- part restaurant, bookstore, theater -- opened a couple weeks ago,
at 14th and V streets NW, just in time for the peace movement's headiest
days in forever.

Plump couches, radical books, free WiFi, $5 microbrews, killer sound
system, a menu that runs from catfish and collard greens to peanut butter,
banana and honey sandwiches: a cool, comfortable, slightly bourgy haven for
a hot, bothered, slightly bourgy peace movement.

Critics cannot easily dismiss this incarnation of antiwar enthusiasm as a
fringe passion of anarchists, communists and freaks (though an author still
tried to make that case last month at a Heritage Foundation forum). Recent
polls say a majority of Americans -- as many as 59 percent -- think the war
in Iraq is a "mistake" and the troops should be brought home. (Brought home
when? That's another question.)

The news is almost too much to handle. Demonstrators walk around saying, We
are the majority, trying it on like unfamiliar clothes.

It has been half a lifetime since the peaceniks felt so . . . mainstream.
The last time a majority became disenchanted with a conflict as shots were
still being fired -- including the Gulf War, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan --
was August 1968, when Gallup first detected that most Americans considered
the Vietnam War a "mistake."

Cindy Sheehan, the movement's own Mother Courage, commands the kind of
obsessive cable coverage usually lavished on titillating crimes. Her
caravan from Crawford, Tex., rolled into Washington yesterday and 17
television cameras documented her first step onto the soil of the nation's
capital in her quest to ask President Bush in person: "What is the 'noble
cause' for which you sent our country to war?"

Seeking to capitalize on the momentum, Cagan's United for Peace and Justice
and the ANSWER Coalition have organized a rally and encirclement of the
White House on Saturday morning that they hope will draw 100,000. That will
be followed by Operation Ceasefire, an 11-hour concert featuring Joan Baez,
Steve Earle, Thievery Corporation and the Coup. United for Peace and
Justice is planning more antiwar activities for Sunday and Monday. The
overall message: Bring the troops home now .

Until then, it has been long days of testifying on the Hill, haranguing in
Lafayette Square, fundraising, phone-banking, pounding out e-mails at 2:37
a.m. -- Re: FW: FW: FLYERING!

Then nights at Busboys and Poets, where members of the new not-so-silent
majority are ushered to the restaurant's theater for "Fear Up," a play
about the new American style of interrogation at Guantanamo Bay, or a
screening of "Operation: Dreamland," a grunt's-eye documentary about the
occupation of Fallujah.

"I think the depression and malaise that followed not being able to stop
the war and not being able to do anything after the election has shifted,"
Steele says, "and people who felt deflated and defeated are now coming
together in recognition that we can do something and we are doing something."

"I've opened many restaurants," says Andy Shallal, an Iraqi American who
owns Busboys and Poets. "This is the most bull's-eye I've ever shot. This
one people came in and got it right away. I think it's about timing."
The Roots of Protest

They converge, then disperse to "organize."

Whether Something really is Happening is difficult to measure. The polls
offer clues, but also caveats.

Americans were much quicker to decide that Iraq was a mistake than Vietnam,
says Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll. It took three years
in the case of Vietnam, just 15 months for Iraq.

However, Newport says, the peace movement's claims to rising momentum are
more tenuous. Since a majority first called Iraq a mistake more than a year
ago, the number has fluctuated rather than increased steadily. Polls in the
last week have suggested an uptick.

Hurricane Katrina and now Rita may be sucking publicity from peace. On the
other hand, the movement has struck a chord with some people by using
Katrina to further question Bush's competence and priorities.

If this weekend's demonstrations do draw 100,000, they will rival a prewar
peace march in Washington that police suggested involved more than 100,000
and was considered the largest antiwar rally since Vietnam. Organizers
claimed 500,000 attended that march.

So if you want to learn about the movement, you need to track the
characters back up the solitary trails of tears that brought them here. The
journeys involve the main questions facing the peace movement:

If the troops come home now, won't there be even more chaos and deaths of
innocents in Iraq?

How can you support the troops and not the war?

If we don't fight the Enemy in Iraq, will we someday fight him here?

Isn't it a good thing that Saddam Hussein is toppled and facing trial?

If we "cut and run" and do not "stay the course," will the fallen have died
in vain?
Empty Boots on the Ground

On a recent Saturday, Tia Steele is contemplating a field of black boots in
Baltimore. The pairs are arranged in neat ranks like a negative image of
the white crosses in Arlington Cemetery. One pair for each of 1,895 dead
soldiers and Marines by this point in the war.

It's the "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit arranged by the American Friends Service
Committee at Johns Hopkins University. The exhibit has toured 65 cities
since January 2004, when there were only 504 pairs of boots, and has been
seen by more than 500,000 people, organizers say. About 6,000 people
attended in Baltimore.

The boots are symbolic, purchased from surplus, not worn by the honored
dead, but on a table is a special display of boots donated by families.

Next to a pair worn by Pvt. Robert Frantz are two photographs. One shows
him and his smiling recruiter, the other shows his tombstone.

Thick-soled and toe-scuffed are the boots of Spec. Casey Sheehan,
posthumously famous son of Mother Cindy. The leather is stamped "Made in
the U.S.A."

And there are the boots of Lance Cpl. David Branning, Tia Steele's stepson.

A woman approaches shyly. In her hand is an official paper: "Report of
Casualty." It's what Yvonne Green has now instead of her daughter. It says
Spec. Toccara Green, 23, of Rosedale, Md., was killed in action in the "War
on Terrorism/Operation Iraqi Freedom." The death is so recent that boots
for her are being added only today.

Steele embraces Green. Two mothers with wet eyes.

This is the feeling side of the peace movement. Steele, 56, a Baltimore
research psychologist, believes minds are changed not by information as
much as by experience. It's what happened to her.

She was stunned when David signed up for the Marines, but she didn't try to
talk him out of it. He was a thoughtful young man, figuring out his own
path. He took "War and Peace" to the battlefield.

He was killed kicking down a door in Fallujah. He was 21.

To her, none of the administration's evolving justifications for the war
withstood scrutiny -- 9/11, weapons of mass destruction, global war on
terrorism, building democracy. But she did not openly dissent until she got
her own Report of Casualty. She quit her job to coordinate "Eyes Wide Open"
and now hopes to find work in the movement.

"David can't have died in vain," she says. "I have an obligation to his
honor and to the David that I loved to do something about this craziness. .
. . This war is a lie. To keep perpetuating it is to cause more damage."

The View From Here

A huge collage covers one wall of Busboys and Poets, a scrapbook of a
century's worth of struggle for peace and justice. Portraits of Martin
Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Joseph McCarthy. Demonstrators being beaten.
The naked napalmed Vietnamese girl running down the road.

Painted across the top are the simple words of Langston Hughes:

Let America be America again

Let it be the dream it used to be

This is the fundamental yearning of protesters who consider themselves

Shallal, 50, painted the mural himself. His family came to Washington in
the mid-1960s, when his father was ambassador of the Arab League. After
Saddam Hussein seized power, they could not return.

Shallal became a researcher in medical immunology at the National
Institutes of Health, then switched to the restaurant business -- he also
owns Mimi's American Bistro and the Luna Grill near Dupont Circle -- and
became active in peace issues. He camped in Crawford, Tex., with Cindy Sheehan.

He expects a lot of the land where now he is a citizen.

"I don't want it to be another country with better plumbing," he says.

Before the invasion, members of his family, some of whom still live in
Iraq, were divided on the prospect of war. Some thought removal of Hussein
was worth the price of invasion. Others questioned the legitimacy.

Shallal thinks toppling the dictator could have been achieved peacefully
with more time. The violence, he says, undermines U.S. claims to be doing
anything good for Iraq. Life in Baghdad for his cousins is more primitive
and dangerous than under Hussein, he says.

The presence of American troops is breeding more terrorists, making America
less safe, he says, so bring the troops home now.

"The U.S. is only creating more conditions for civil war," he says. "The
Iraqis need to figure this out for themselves."

From War to Peace

Tia Steele's path leads to Charlie Anderson, who came home in one piece,
physically. He has donated his own boots to the exhibit.

"These boots were worn during the invasion of Iraq and the occupation of
Crawford, Texas," he says.

Navy Petty Officer Anderson, 28, was a hospital corpsman assigned to a
Marine tank battalion. He says five men he felt close to were killed. He
stands in the field of boots with his head bowed and wipes his eyes. He
flinches at the bang of nearby construction equipment.

He had a job stocking shelves in Ohio when he enlisted a decade ago hoping
for a better future. He kept reenlisting: He felt he didn't have a choice
with a wife and daughter and no immediate prospects outside the service.

When the war came, he supported it without much thought. He couldn't
believe his country would launch it without good reason and hard evidence.
Turning against the war was a slow process.

"To admit that everything we gave up in order to do this was for nothing,
that's a hard sell," he says.

Seeing the country for himself, he became dubious of the supposed terror
threat to the U.S. homeland, "as if Hassan with a bookstore on Haifa Street
is going to wreak havoc on Sylvania, Ohio." The alternative justification
of planting democracy seemed futile to him. "Then I was pinned down to
weapons of mass destruction," he says.


He joined Iraq Veterans Against the War before his discharge in March. The
group claims about 300 members and is growing quickly after public exposure
this summer alongside Cindy Sheehan. In comparison, Vietnam Veterans
Against the War took about two years to form and another couple years to
gain traction, Anderson says.

Anderson has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Now he is
a student in Virginia Beach and an activist.

He sees yellow ribbon magnets on cars, he hears talk about how you have to
"support the troops." He wants to ask the ribbon people if they ever wrote
a soldier to tell him? He wants to ask, How much support was there to send
the troops with proper armor? As some come home battered, how much support
is there for the budget of the Veterans Administration?

Anderson says American troops are "phenomenal people who are willing to
sacrifice everything" to complete a mission, but in Iraq "the mission keeps

"What is the mission? Tell me what the mission is."

A Distant Echo

A bare stage with nine actors. The theater is the room with the mural and
the hovering prayer to let America be America. An audience of about 70
fills nearly every seat.

An actor playing a troubled FBI interrogator says:

"Some of these techniques, I don't want to see, or be a part of. I took an
oath to the Constitution to uphold the laws against enemies both inside the
U.S. and out. . . . The [Pentagon] guy got really upset. He said he took
the oath, too. I told him that we must have different interpretations, then."

"Fear Up" is set in Baghdad and Guantanamo Bay. It's nonfiction, drawn from
testimony, memoirs and journalistic sources, like that quote from a recent
New Yorker article.

A few days before opening night, the two assemblers -- not playwrights,
exactly -- meet in a Capitol Hill coffee shop over a laptop and do final
tinkering. One -- Karen Bradley, 54, director of graduate studies in dance
at the University of Maryland -- had demonstrated against the Vietnam War
as a college student, and she recalls the possibility and power in the
movement then. She detects something similar in the air now.

"People are angry, but they're focused," she says. "It's not blind rage.
People are sober, and very determined."

Part of Bradley's evidence that Something Is Happening is that she knows so
many people who have never demonstrated before who are on their way to
Washington for this weekend. People like Michael Kahn, 46, an oncologist
from outside Chicago. ("This is a critical point for our country," he
says.) And Susan Krueger, 44, a mother who home-schooled her children in
small-town Michigan. ("We have to make a big noise and a continuous noise,"
Krueger says.)

The other creator of "Fear Up" -- Marietta Hedges, 44, assistant professor
of acting at Catholic University -- reaches back to the same point of

"The September 24 demonstrations could be a pivotal turning point like you
remember from the Vietnam War," she says.

But knowing when Something Is Really Happening has always been tricky.
Hedges was in London when hundreds of thousands marched for peace shortly
before the invasion, in an effort to forestall war. It was a stirring
experience. Hedges remembers what a woman marching beside her said: "I
think we're going to stop this war. I think we're going to prevent it from



Lila Lipscomb, whose son Mike was the first soldier from Michigan to be killed in Iraq, and who was featured in the movie Fahrenheit 9/11, opens a rally of family members of other soldiers killed there, as her granddaughter Destiny and the Rev. Edwin Rowe listen on-stage. The families are on a national tour originating at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, and spoke at Detroit’s own Camp Casey Sept. 10.

“It’s ironic to me that so many of our soldiers have been forced to tear up someone else’s homes in Iraq instead of rebuilding homes for people displaced from Hurricane Katrina,” said Lipscomb. She said she would be testifying in Washington, D.C. at an upcoming hearing into the Downing Street memos, which allegedly show that President George Bush knew there were no “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq.

“How much more proof do we need?” asked Lipscomb. “Is my son’s blood not enough? He was number 54; now there have been nearly 1,900 U. S. soldiers killed in Iraq.”

Numerous events featuring the family members were held in Detroit over the week-end, including a welcoming event at Central United Methodist Church Sept. 9, the five-hour rally Sept. 10, and church events scheduled in Detroit and Ferndale Sept. 11.

Organizers of the event also called for Detroiters to participate in a national anti-war march on Washington, scheduled for Sept. 24. Buses will leave from Detroit, with information available by calling 313-680-5508.
Photo by Diane Bukowski

Thursday, September 22, 2005

"See you there this weekend"

Published on Thursday, September 22, 2005 by

See You There This Weekend
End the war on Iraq! Sept. 24-26 Washington DC
Three days of Mass action
by Janet Bates

"Come gather round people where ever you roam and admit that the waters around you have grown and accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone if your time to you is worth saving"
-- Bob Dylan

"There comes a time when silence is betrayal"
-- Martin Luther King Jr.

That time has come with regards the Iraq war. It is time for every man woman and child to take to the streets and say enough is enough! Far too many people have died needlessly in a war that to date, no-one has given a satisfactory reason for. This was made blaringly obvious this summer, when President Bush was unable to answer Cindy Sheehan's seemingly straightforward question, "Why did my son die?" "What was this noble cause you talk about?"

That question above all must be answerable, if not; the war has no noble cause.

Now the war must end. It has no noble cause. Bush's silence has made that clear.

If you feel that a war should only be ever fought for the noblest cause, then you better get out this weekend and say so. There will never be a better time. There may never be another time, period. Your rights have changed. Come out and join us to end the war in Iraq. If you cannot make it to Washington, there are events all over the US, just go to and search for an event close to you.

It is possible. I believe that there is a critical number that will be hard for him to ignore.

That number needs to get out this weekend and make a stand!

To end, I feel that Arlo Guthrie put it best in Alice's restaurant:

"And the only reason I'm singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say "Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice's restaurant." And walk out. You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement."

And friends, that is what it is, it is the movement to end the war in Iraq, and it is happening this Saturday Sept 24th in a city near you. Be there!

For more information, go to

Janet Bates is a singer/songwriter headed from her home in Oregon towards Washington, DC.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Cindy & Bring Them Home Now tour members arrive in DC

Cindy Sheehan Caravan Stopped by Capitol Police
By Sarah Ferguson
The Village Voice

Wednesday 21 September 2005

Bring Them Home Now treks afoot to press conference.

Washington, DC - At just past noon on Wednesday, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and the rest of the Bring Them Home Now tour were stopped by a pair of squad cars two blocks from the US Capitol by members of the Capitol police force. Officers explained that they wanted to use bomb-sniffing dogs to inspect the caravan of three RVs and several cars.

The officers said it was standard practice to inspect large vehicles in the area. "RVs aren't allowed on Capitol Hill," one said. "That's standard procedure. Any trucks that come on Capitol Hill are stopped and turned around." Campers aren't allowed at all, the officer said, "unless they've been previously authorized."

Officers told the peace activists they couldn't park at the Capitol because they don't have the proper permits. Sheehan and company then began preparing to make the rest of the trek on foot. Awaiting them near the Capitol steps were a crowd of television cameras for a scheduled noon press conference.

Earlier this week in New York City's Union Square park, police officers unplugged Sheehan's microphone, saying she didn't have a proper permit for that either.

People with Bring Them Home Now seemed unfazed. "It's always something," said Stacy Bannerman of Military Families Speak Out, whose husband spent a year fighting in the Sunni Triangle. "It's just part of the deal."

The conference is being held by Sheehan and the others to announce their arrival in Washington and to kick off a weekend of resistance that is expected to include a march of 100,000 people and mass civil disobedience.

At 1:30 p.m., Sheehan and her allies plan to head to the White House, where they'll attempt to give President Bush a letter asking him to answer the question, "What noble cause are our loved ones dying for?"

Labor and the Iraq War

The following article comes as no surprise to those of us who were down at Camp Casey Detroit as 47,000 union workers and their families marched by in the Labor Day Parade. No wonder they were so open to our message and eagerly waved the "No War" signs we passed out by the dozens. We should also not be surprised that the mainstream media has kept this anti-war sentiment and official resolution passed at the AFL-CIO convention quiet. It bodes ill for the continuation of Bush's war(s).


Labor and the Iraq War
Written by Charlotte Dennett
Monday, 19 September 2005

There's an old adage among investigative journalists: if you want to know what's really going on, ask the workers.

If you want to know what's really going on in Iraq - to American soldiers, to their families back home, to Iraqi women - read this column, and learn what I did at the historic AFL-CIO convention held this summer in Chicago.

If you find yourself hesitating, your mind's eye imagining a smoke-filled room full of union toughs battling over issues that have no relevance to your life, believe me: this convention defied all stereotypes.

Predictably, the mainstream media would have you believe that the only thing that happened at the convention was negative: the much anticipated (and widely decried) walkout and disaffiliation, before the convention began, of two of the nation's largest unions, the Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters. True, the defection cast a temporary pall over the AFL-CIO's 50th anniversary celebration. But something else happened that caused the remaining 2,000 delegates to stand tall and walk with a spring in their step. For the first time in the history of the trade union movement, they voted nearly unanimously to break with the federal government over a foreign war while it was still being fought. They passed a strongly worded resolution against the war in Iraq, and demanded that American troops be brought home, not merely "as soon as possible," but "rapidly." And rapidly, according to one of the makers of the motion, was to be interpreted as "immediately."

"Our soldiers," the resolution read in part, "come from America's working families. They are our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, our husbands and wives. They deserve to be properly equipped with protective body gear and up-armored vehicles. And they deserve leadership that fully values their courage and sacrifice. Most importantly, they deserve a commitment from our country's leaders to bring them home rapidly. An unending military presence will waste lies and resources, undermine our nation's security and weaken our military."

The mainstream press did not cover the resolution, even though the convention hall erupted with cheers and applause when it passed with resounding "ayes" and only one "no." I asked the New York Times reporter why he neglected it. "The AFL-CIO isn't as important as it used to be," he replied smugly, then confessed, perhaps realizing that his comment belied why he was there at the convention, "and besides, my editors told me to focus on the split." continue reading article...

Cindy Sheehan Takes on the Democrats, Hillary Clinton

The anti-war activist has plenty to say—and it’s not all about Bush

by Kristen Lombardi

September 20th, 2005 2:27 PM,lombardiweb,68015,2.html

Cindy Sheehan, the rising star of the anti-war movement, remembers when
people used to think of her as one of those crazy activists, speaking out
for a cause, inconveniencing all who stumbled onto her path. She remembers,
from her days camped outside President Bush’s ranch in Texas, how some
drivers would shout out at her, "Get a job!"

Her response was always the same. "I’d say to them, ‘I have a job,’ "
Sheehan explained Monday night at the last of her New York events, at the
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. "I’d say, ‘It’s a full-time job,
and it’s to hold George Bush accountable.’ " With that, the 1200-strong
crowd of peace activists, war veterans, ministers, and high-school students
went wild.

Sheehan, the mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq, has become the
persistent thorn in George Bush’s side and, in the process, an icon for
Americans angry with the way the president and his administration is
handling the war. Monday night, she drew out the anti-war sentiment in New
York, making her last stop in well-publicized three-bus Bring Them Home Now
Tour launched from Crawford, Texas, on August 31. The tour has traveled to
51 cities in 28 states.

Audience members packed into the cavernous hall wearing T-shirts with block
donned baseball hats, VETERANS FOR PEACE, or carried makeshift signs, CINDY,
YES. BUSH, NO. They waited to hear the celebrity guest for an hour,
listening to emotional stories of other military families. The message? Don’
t keep our troops fighting a war based on lies. Instead, get on the bus and
protest in Washington, D.C., the site of a three-day anti-war rally this

When Sheehan assumed center stage, she kept her focus on Bush, calling him
"a liar" whose "reckless, callous, and moronic policies have made our
country vulnerable." Bush, she said, had proven himself a coward who cares
little about the troops in Iraq.

"I hate to be harsh," she said, "but we’re not accepting any excuses for not
bringing our troops home."

But Sheehan isn’t stopping her critique with Bush. On the contrary, she has
begun to set her sights on Congress and the Democratic Party as well. When
she spoke in Brooklyn on the night before, she took note of the fact that
Senator Hillary Clinton voted to authorize Bush to use force in Iraq and–
like most Senate Democrats–has done little to bring the troops home.
Clinton, in fact, has filed legislation calling for more troops.

In an interview after her speech, Sheehan told the Voice she was "so
frustrated" by leading Democrats like Clinton "who should be leaders on this
issue, but are not." Already, she has set up a future meeting with New York’
s junior senator this weekend. And she plans to sit down with the state’s
senior senator, Chuck Schumer, too. "It’s time for them to step up and be
the opposition party," she said. "This war is not going to end unless the
Democrats are on board with us."

Local anti-war activists agree, and are busy strategizing on how to kick up
the pressure. "There is a real push to put members of Congress on the hot
seat," says Bill Dobbs, of the New York City chapter of United for Peace and
Justice. "It’s one thing to put the blame on Bush for this whole mess, but
it’s Congress who has the power to stop it. We’ve got to make them pay a
price for keeping this war going."