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THE WHITE HOUSE (FinalCall.com) – President George Bush cloaked himself in the blood of the martyrs who have died defending his Iraq war policy and assured reporters that his administration is “implementing a strategy that would lead to victory in Iraq.”
“So, on this third anniversary, the beginning of the liberation of Iraq, I think all Americans should offer thanks to the men and women who wear the uniform, and their families who support them,” Pres. Bush said upon arrival via helicopter Mar. 19.
In the face of record low approval ratings, discomfort about the war and other issues (even among his loyal Republican base) and demonstrations protesting the war in hundreds of cities around the world, Pres. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney observed the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion trying to convince Americans that: “Remarkable progress has been made in Iraq in the last three years,” and that the country should continue to support it.
But hundreds of protest demonstrations were also the order of the day.
Worldwide, demonstrations started Saturday, Mar. 18 with 500 people chanting anti-war slogans in Sydney, Australia. The anti-war protests rolled around the world, with major protests in Pakistan and London, according to published reports. Another 3,000 demonstrators were expected in Seoul, South Korea, which has the third-largest contingent of foreign troops in Iraq, behind the U.S. and Britain. Another protest was planned outside the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the largest city in Malaysia.
In this country, demonstrations spanned from coast to coast and border to border. More than 1,000 people gathered in New York’s Times Square. In California, tens of thousands of people took part in activities in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In Washington, hundreds marched on the residence of the Vice President.
Over a weeklong period, more than 600 anti-war activities nationwide were organized, calling for an end to the war and for all U.S. troops to be brought home, now. Anti-war groups held marches, rallies, forums, vigils, nonviolent civil disobedience actions and other events to mark the third anniversary of the war.
“Concerns that the anti-war movement has lost momentum should be put to rest,” said Leslie Cagan, national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of more than 1,400 member organizations in a statement. “In every state of the nation, people have been making their voices heard in a clear call to end the war and bring home all of our troops. We will continue to pressure Congress to cut off the funds for this war and we will use every tactic available to make sure there is not a 4th anniversary of this war!”
The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition was also active, calling for “Global Days of Action” to commemorate the anniversary. “The people of this country have turned decisively against the war in Iraq,” stated Brian Becker, national coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition. “The antiwar sentiment is now the majority sentiment, and we will demand that all the troops be brought home immediately.”