WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) More and more family members of U.S. casualties and personnel, still serving in the Iraq war, are voicing their opposition to the Bush administration policy.
“I hold the Bush administration responsible for tying my son to the railroad tracks for 13 days,” said Michael Berg at a rain-soaked rally June 5 in front of the White House. His 26-year-old son Nicholas, a contractor seeking work in Iraq, was decapitated by five masked men who captured him after he was released from coalition custody. A videotape of the crime was broadcast on the Internet.
Mr. Berg advocated “direct action” to the 3,000 in attendance. “These actions will let our leaders know just how we feel. They will begin to get the picture that, in this democracy, they have to do a better job of representing what we, the American people, want. And what we want is peace now!” Mr. Berg continued.
“Turn off the TV news for an hour. Write a letter instead. Turn it off for a week and attend a vigil or a march instead. Turn it off altogether and change the news. Don’t just listen to it, change the news! Change the news!” urged Mr. Berg.
Steady rain all day may have thinned the ranks of the protestors, but the crowd, organized by the International Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) coalition still marched, with a heavy police escort, from Lafayette Park to the home of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the nearby Kalorama neighborhood.
It was called the “Speak Truth to Power” rally with the voices of Muslims and Arabs whose families have been ripped apart through raids, detentions, and secret hearings, as well as activists who complain that vital domestic programs are being cut to pay the cost of the war.
Other family members of personnel still serving in Iraq carried pictures with signs at the rally. “Bring my son home… alive!” read the signs carried by two individual members of “Military Family Speak Out.” “Support our troops…bring them home now!” is their motto.
“Iraq is a 5,000-year-old civilization,” said Caneisha Mills, a Howard University student and rally organizer. “The Iraqi people can determine their destiny for themselves.”
Rally speakers included a variety of voices articulating their demand that the U.S. get out of Iraq. Speakers also protested U.S. policy toward Haiti, Korea, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela, and they demanded the end of the “colonial occupation of Palestine” and the support of the Palestinian “right of return.”
Other speakers said the Bush administration has trampled civil liberties with its enforcement of the Patriot Act and ignored great needs at home, while allocating money for a military adventure overseas.
ANSWER announced plans for a summer of protests. Nationally coordinated demonstrations are planned for June 30, the day the U.S. turns over “sovereignty” to Iraq, and in late July in Boston at the Democratic National Convention, and in late August in New York at the Republican National Convention.