Monday, September 24, 2007

Anti-war op ed in the Annandale paper

H/T to Sue! Thanks!

My hometown paper confuses the heck out of me.

They let Dean Urdahl off the hook on his flawed logic on his transportation flip flop.

They ought to hammer Urdahl putting politics before the people!

But, they have a great op ed on the war.

Chuck Sterling writes about a Support our Troops, End the War rally in St Cloud.

I finally did it.

After more than four years of wanting to take part in an anti-war demonstration, I did a couple of weekends ago in St. Cloud.

I joined a group that demonstrates their opposition to the Iraq War every Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. on the Division Street sidewalk alongside Barnes & Noble.

They welcomed my offer to protest with them, and I spent more than an hour there holding a sign and waving to people in passing cars. It was the first time I've ever taken to the street to declare my opposition to a government policy.

That seems odd for someone who spent four years on a college campus during the early and mid-1960s.

But the only previous demonstration I took part in was actually in support of the Vietnam War. It was 1965 in the early stages of that war, before the peace movement had made much of an impact and a full decade before the killing finally ended.

When I approached the St. Cloud demonstrators, I didn't come prepared with my own sign. They invited me to grab one of theirs, and I sorted through a stack of them before I found one with a message that I thought was especially appropriate.

"Not one more death," it said.

For me, that's the central issue about Iraq - the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and who knows how many Iraqis in a war that isn't and wasn't necessary.

The answer to the debate about what to do now is simple. We should do
whatever it takes to stop the killing, never mind whether that's seen as a

What glory can there be in winning an immoral war that should never have been fought? What pride can there be in a victory that has needlessly consumed so many lives? I was amazed at the positive response the demonstrators received from people driving by.

Many honked their horns enthusiastically and others held up their fingers in the V shape that's come to be known as the peace sign. One demonstrator laughed that some people have also flashed the one-fingered peace sign at her.

I'd estimate that half the passersby were on our side. And they weren't radicals. Supporters included young people, soccer moms and dads and gray-haired grandparents.

I took home a sign that declares: "Support the troops. End the war."I do support the troops. They're braver than most of us to put their lives on the line for their country. The fact their government started and refuses to end a pointless war doesn't diminish their courage.

I also visited a replica of the Vietnam wall at the St. Cloud VA Hospital that night, more by coincidence than design.

The memorial displays the names of 58,000 Americans killed in that war, and I wonder whether, more than 30 years later, anyone knows why they had to die.

I support our brave troops by protesting to try to help end a war that otherwise might add them to a list of dead that now approaches 4,000.

I don't want anyone to stand in front of another memorial wall someday and read the neatly carved names of 5,000 or 10,000 or more Americans and wonder why they had to die.

Great work Chuck!

I can tell you that 3 years ago, it was not such a pleasant experience. I had a full coke can thrown out of a moving car at missed by a foot or so...but kept going!

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