Monday, October 29, 2007
October 27th Alaska Antiwar Rallies: 40 Show Up In Anchorage, 60 Attend In Fairbanks Where Democrat Diane Benson Gave Speech
An estimated 40 protestors gathered in Midtown Anchorage on Saturday October 27th, 2007, to raise their voices against the war in Iraq, now in its fourth year. Media coverage, such as it was, limited to a half-assed story posted by KTUU Channel 2 in Anchorage. Other sources of information for this post include the Alaska Ron Paul Meetup group and Alaskans for Peace and Justice.
I've also learned that there was a second antiwar rally held the same day in Fairbanks. Sixty people showed up, many attracted by the fact that Democratic U.S. House Candidate Diane Benson attended and gave a speech (pictured above left). No media coverage of this event. Photos of Fairbanks rally posted HERE.
The two rallies were part of a nationwide series of antiwar rallies attracting approximately 100,000 participants, in response to President Bush's recent request for Congress to fund another $46 billion for the Iraq War.
Antiwar protester David Johnson said the war should have never started, let alone gone on for five years. "It's the only war in memory that had a strong protest before it even began and four and a half years later the protests are just as strong, if not stronger. The need to end the war is just as dire now as it's ever been," Johnson said.
More activity is planned. Alaskans for Peace and Justice already hold weekly vigils at two Anchorage locations. Each Friday, they assemble themselves in front of the Anchorage Federal Building on 7th and C Streets between 12 noon and 2 P.M. Each Saturday, they hold a Women In Black Vigil from 1 to 2 P.M. on the corner of 10th and I Streets.
The Alaska Ron Paul Meetup Group is organizing another rally, to be held on Saturday, November 3, 2007, 12:00 PM at the Sears Mall Parking Lot (New Seward and Northern Lights). This rally will be more oriented towards the promotion of Ron Paul's candidacy rather than strictly protesting the war.
The National Priorities Project maintains a running total of the costs of the Iraq war. Nationally, we've spent over $464 billion dollars to date; Alaska's share is $790 million. And the war was neither a war of national defense nor a fulfillment of a treaty commitment. The WMDs, if they were there, were gone by the time we invaded. There is no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9-11 attacks. And certainly, no Iraqi actually invited us into the country. At least in South Vietnam, we were invited in by the freely-elected president of an allied nation under siege from a foreign insurgency, consistent with standards set forth in the old SEATO (Southeast Asian Treaty Organization) alliance.
And why wasn't there a "Viet Cong-style" insurgency in Iraq? Because as much of a bastard as Saddam was, he held the country together. Shiites and Sunnis got along as peacefully as Catholics and Protestants do in this country. Christians enjoyed more rights than in any other Arab country. Women were not forcibly wrapped in the chador like an enchilada, but were allowed full rights in Iraqi society. Our invasion of Iraq clearly helped destabilize the country; while many parts of Iraq have recovered, Baghdad is still a basket case, and the northern part of the country is about to blow up, with a threat of invasion by Turkey.
However, an immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be equally foolhardy. The Iraqi government has yet to satisfactorily display a country-wide ability to provide for the nation's security. A possible Turkish incursion into northern Iraq further complicates the issue. But the longer we stay in Iraq, the less likely the Iraqi people will be inclined to take responsibility for their own country. And the more they will resent us. We must set a loose timetable for a step-by-step disengagement from Iraq, to be accomplished within, at the very least, a two-year time frame. But we cannot allow an endless commitment to that country; we have problems at home to solve.