Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Hate The War

"Mr. President, please talk to us!" cried protesters outside the White House this morning after they marched there from Lafayette Park. President Barack Obama didn't speak to them and it's unknown whether he even heard them.

Around the same time, at the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, ABC News' Jake Tapper asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about "the new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 60 percent of the American people say the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting anymore. That's a high. Considering that the U.S. withdrawal date is not until 2014, how can the Obama administration continue to wage this war with so little public support?" Platitudes were offered by the Secretary of State who seemed decades -- if not centuries away -- from her former self as First Lady in the 90s when she worried about the children. Never in her answer -- possibly in keeping with her new position -- did she mention children -- Iraqi or Afghan or American -- who are growing up in the constant shadow of war and all the fear and doubt that comes with it.

Clinton replied, "I’m well aware of the popular concern and I understand it. But I don’t think leaders, and certainly this President, will not make decisions that are matters of life and death and the future security of our nation based on polling. That would not be something that you will see him or any of us deciding. We’re trying to do the very best we can with the leadership that we’ve all been entrusted with to avoid making the mistakes that were made in previous years, where we did not develop the kind of relationship and understanding and coordination with either Afghanistan or Pakistan that would enable us to have a better way of interacting with them and perhaps preventing some of what came to pass, and where, frankly, we walked away at some critical moments in the last 25, 30 years that created conditions that we had a hand in, unfortunately, contributing to." Secretary Gates also played the people-are-too-stupid-we-know-best card declaring, "First of all, let me just add to Secretary Clinton’s response to you that I think if you look at polling in almost all of our 49 coalition partners’ countries, public opinion is in doubt. Public opinion would be majority -- in terms of majority, against their participation. I would just say that it’s obviously the responsibility of leaders to pay attention to public opinion, but at the end of the day their responsibility is to look out for the public interest and to look to the long term." Neither secretary holds a post to which they were elected -- nor has either ever won a national election -- but they seem to hold their own views in higher esteem than the views of the majority of Americans.

While democracy and rule of the people were being kicked aside in the press room, outside in 24 degree weather, activists were chanting "Peace now!" and "Stop the killing! Stop the wars!" and "The war is a lie!" A number of them walked past the barricades and up to the White House fence. Pressing their backs against the fence, they faced the press, the police and many other activists as a police officer walking through the demonstration appeared to tell his partner, "This should be fascinating."

Activist and author David Swanson explained, "I'm here to help those who are doing more than saying the right thing to pollsters on the telephone. A majority of Americans saying we've got to end these wars, the president sitting there saying 4 more years and then we'll rename it non-combat -- that's outrageous, it's unacceptable, it's against the majority will of our people, of the Afghan people, of the people around the world. Veterans for Peace have been asking for a meeting with this president on behalf of the majority for years. We can't get a meeting. we're coming here, we're going to go to jail. The good people are in jail. The people who have not been charged with any crimes are in jail and the criminals are roaming free."

The activists sang "We Shall Overcome" and "Down By The Riverside."

"We have postcards that we want to deliver to the president," declared Veterans for Peace's Mike Ferner. "We have asked him in a letter three weeks ago to meet with us and to hear our concerns as military veterans of this tragedy and the wrong headedness of these wars. We've not been able to meet with him so we have a number of these postcards that have been signed by people around the country."

Since he wouldn't meet with them, they "delivered" the postcards by tossing them over the fence, onto the White House yard in what several present dubbed "airmail."

At War Is A Crime, Bill Hughes offers a slide show of the protest, and there is this video, this video and this video that we noted in the snapshot today and from which I pulled all info on the action when Hilda e-mailed to remind me that no closed captions and no text doesn't help her a bit. Thank you, Hilda. I'm rushing on those snapshots and was almost done dictating it when I was told there was video at David Swanson's site. I wasn't thinking about anything other than where to insert it into that already dictated section and if that was the last thing I needed to include and could call the snapshot "done." My apologies to anyone else who felt short changed. You were right too and it was stupid of me not to have checked to see if there was anything other than video there. I wrote the above to give those who can't stream or who can stream but have hearing issues a sense of the video. Again, my apologies. Thank you, Hilda, for kindly pointing out my stupidity.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last week, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4432. Tonight it is [PDF format warning] 4433.

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