Voices of protesters from around the country
Mon Jan 29, 2007 21:03

Monday, January 29th, 2007
Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Navy Seaman Jonathan Hutto, Bob Watada & Others Call for End to Iraq War at Anti-War Rally in Washington

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Anti-war protesters filled the streets of Washington on Saturday in one of the largest protests since the invasion of Iraq. Veterans and military families joined lawmakers, peace groups and celebrities to urge Congress and President Bush to bring the troops home now. Protest organizers United For Peace and Justice estimated 500,000 took part in the demonstration. In California, smaller rallies were held in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento. In Washington, marchers converged on the National Mall for a two-hour rally. The crowd included people who came on 300 buses from 40 states. [includes rush transcript]

* Voices of protesters from around the country

* Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), co-founder of the Out of Iraq caucus

* Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), co-founder of the Out of Iraq caucus. In January 2005, she became the first member of Congress to call for a withdrawal from Iraq.

* Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chair of House Judiciary Committee

* Garrett Reppenhagen, Iraq Veterans Against the War

* Navy Seaman Jonathan Hutto, co-founder of the Appeal for Redress

* Brenda Hervey, Military Families Speak Out

* Bob Watada, father of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq.

* Jesselyn Radack, former Justice Department Official


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AMY GOODMAN: In D.C., marchers converged on the National Mall for a two-hour rally. The crowd included people who came on 300 buses from 40 states.

PROTESTER 1: My name is Sean, and I’m from New York. I represent the Ya-Ya Youth Activist Youth Allies Network. I’m here to support everyone trying to stop the war and to bring the soldiers home.

PROTESTER 2: Hi. My name's Olivia, and I’m from Maryland, and I’m here to support the people in Iraq.

PROTESTER 3: My name’s Matt Carson from Toledo, Ohio, here to protest the war. Bring the troops home now.

PROTESTER 4: I’m Teddy Fishwin [phon.]. I am from South Carolina. And when South Carolina is against the war, you know that it's gone too far.

PROTESTER 5: My name is Ali Sadr [phon.]. I’m from Iran. Tehran, Iran. I was born in US. I was raised in Iran, and I left Iran after revolution. And I’m here to protest.

PROTESTER 6: Amanda. I am a Spanish people. And then, I’m not agree with this war, so I want to say just one thing: Bush, he can send his kids. His two girls, he has, right? I want to see how he will feel when they send over there to Iraq, and then I will see how he feel like a parent.

PROTESTER 7: My name is Pam Canine [phon.]. I’m from Yellow Springs, Ohio, home of Antioch College, and I’m here because I am sick of the lives wasted, the money squandered. It is time to bring our troops home and get down to sensible domestic and foreign policy.

PROTESTER 8: Yes, my name is Kwali Abdul Mohammed [phon.]. I’m here from Philly. I’m here to represent my family. Two of my fathers -- my grandfather and my father both died in a war. I have a nephew that's there now. I’m giving support to let Bush know that it’s no more war, no more war, no more war.

AMY GOODMAN: Among those protesting were a number of lawmakers who opposed President Bush's escalation of the war, calling on the President to bring the troops home. Democratic Congressmember Maxine Waters of California was among them. She had sent a letter to every other member of the House, urging them to participate in the antiwar march. Congressmember Waters is a co-founder of the Out of Iraq Caucus. She addressed the crowd on the National Mall.

REP. MAXINE WATERS: You have come here today to save your country, to change the direction of this country and to tell George Bush, “Hell, no, we won't go!” I stand firmly with you. My name is Maxine Waters, and I’m not afraid of George W. Bush. My name is Maxine Waters, and I’m not intimidated by Dick Cheney. My name is Maxine Waters, and I I helped to get rid of Rumsfeld. My name is Maxine Waters, and Condi Rice is nothing but another neocon, and she doesn't represent me!

George W. Bush led us into this immoral war. He tricked the American people, and he told us there were weapons of mass destruction. He did not tell the truth. He came out on the battleship and said, “Mission accomplished.” He misled us again. He said we were working with the coalition of the willing. It was only a figment of his imagination. He said that we were moving forward with training the Iraqi soldiers who would take over the security. Where are they? They are nowhere. As a matter of fact, they're undermining our soldiers in this civil war. He said we were going to get proceeds from the oil that would be pumped back into Iraq so that it could be reconstructed. As a matter of fact, he told us he made these decisions; he said he is the decider. But you know what? He's not the decider. He is the liar!

Thank you for being here today. I want you to come to Capitol Hill and lobby on Monday and put some starch in the backs of the members of Congress and give them the courage that they need to do the right thing. It is alright to have some resolutions that are not binding, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and that will come when it's time to decide whether or not we're going to fund this immoral war. I will not vote one dime for this war! And when you come up here to lobby, you ask these members, “Are you going to support an appropriation to continue this war, to expand this war?” And you can tell the difference between those who are ready to bring our soldiers home and those who are only paying lip service. Don't forget, he is not the decider. He is the --


REP. MAXINE WATERS: He is not the decider, he is the --


REP. MAXINE WATERS: Bring our troops home!

AMY GOODMAN: California Congressmember Maxine Waters was joined by another founder of the Out of Iraq Caucus, Lynn Woolsey. In January 2005, Congressmember Woolsey became the first member of Congress to call for withdrawal from Iraq. She called for an end to the US occupation of Iraq.

REP. LYNN WOOLSEY: Thank all of you. Your very presence, your passion has taken us this far, and we are not going to stop until we end George Bush's immoral Iraq war. Americans don't want to send our young men and women into the middle of a civil war, a war we shouldn't have been in in the first place. We've injured -- over the last four years that we've endured bloodshed and mayhem, more than 3,000 American lives lost, countless physically and mentally wounded, tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens killed, hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, our global credibility shattered, terrorists emboldened rather than defeated.

We all know it’s not about winning or losing. It's about doing the right thing. Everybody knows this. Everybody knows this, except the President. He asks us to sacrifice more of our tax dollars so he can win in Iraq. You know what they say. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Fortunately, we have an antidote to this insanity. It's not another Iraq Study Group. It's not a new committee to debate what to do next. It is what you sent us to do last November. It's called HR 508. It's long title is the Bring Our Troops Home and Iraq Sovereignty Restoration Act, and it would end the US occupation in Iraq within six months, saving lives and limbs and money and America's standing in the world. HR 508 is the only comprehensive legislation that puts us on the fast track to a fully funded military withdrawal from Iraq. Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee and I have introduced HR 508 in the Congress, but you are the true authors of this legislation. It is your will that HR 508 carries out.

So when you go to the Capitol on Monday, when you go to Capitol Hill, and when you contact members of Congress in the coming weeks and months, and they ask you, “Well, what is your plan?” tell them, “Pass HR 508!” When they tell you they are against the war but don't know how to leave, tell them, “Pass HR 508!” When they tell you they would like to help you out, but, you know, the President has all the power, you tell them, “Pass HR 508!” Your voices have not gone unheard. They have life in HR 508, and I pledge all of my heart and all of my soul to this cause. In the name of national security, fiscal sanity and calm and decency, together we will bring our troops home. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Lynn Woolsey. Coming up: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Jane Fonda at the national march on Washington. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation to Iraq and Afghanistan. She has said that impeachment is off the table. But that's not the same message that John Conyers shared, the House Judiciary Chair, when he addressed the rally in Washington on Saturday.

REP. JOHN CONYERS: Brothers and sisters, I’m so glad that you're all here. We've got to hold more of these, just like on Election Day, November 7, until our government gets the message: out of Iraq immediately, this year, we’ve got to go!

Hello, Detroit. You came all the way in buses for ten hours. I hear you. Hello, CODEPINK, I hear you. Hello, Institute for Policy Studies, I hear you. But George Bush has a habit of firing military leaders who tell him the Iraq war is failing. But let me tell you something. He can't fire you. He can't fire us. But we can fire him! We can fire him! Maureen Dowd said this this morning: “Has anyone in the history of the United States ever been so singularly wrong and misguided about such phenomenally important events and continued to insist he's right, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?” Has there ever been anybody in America history? There certainly hasn't.

Now, we marched and protested and legislated against segregation, and then against the Vietnam War. Today, we march and protest and legislate against the war in Iraq, and we continue the great tradition of struggle of the people. Today's march is a continuation of the vote on November 7. The history is clear. When our country is at a moral crossroads, it takes the cries and the outrage of American people to force Washington to do the right thing. That's why we're here.

President Bush is the Commander-in-Chief of the military, but he is not the Commander-in-Chief of the citizens of this country. He is not. Vice President Cheney has said repeatedly, “Congress can't stop me.” But we must stop him! We're going to stop him. And so, the founders of our country gave the Congress the power of the purse, because they envisioned a scenario exactly like the one in which we find ourselves today. Not only is it within our power to stop Bush, it is our obligation to stop Bush. The founders of our country gave the Congress the power of the purse, because they envisioned a scenario exactly like the one in which we find ourselves today. Not only is it within our power, but we're going to do it by holding rallies every week, every month, every day, until we stop this illegal, immoral war in Iraq. We've got to do that.

And with your help, the people can prevail. We stopped the war in Vietnam, didn't we? With Dr. Martin Luther King, we did the Civil Rights Movement, and with marches, we did it, and we're going to do it again. Thank you for being with us today. All of these members of Congress are with you. Victory.

AMY GOODMAN: Congress member Conyers was joined by veterans, active-duty soldiers, military families. This is Iraq war vet Garrett Reppenhagen.

GARRETT REPPENHAGEN: I was a sniper in the First Infantry Division. I served one year in Iraq. Now I’m home. I’m still serving my country. I’m still serving my brothers and sisters and trying to get them home alive.

Iraq Veterans Against The War is the most progressive veteran organization in America right now. We’re growing. We’re quadrupled in size in the last year. Men and women are coming home, and they're pissed off. I listened to the State of the Union address, and in the 50 minutes of rambling, George Bush not once mentioned the word “veteran.” Not once. So that leads me to understand that, you know, where the intentions of this administration is. You know, our elected officials are no longer representing us as a majority of the country.

When I served in war, I thought I was serving honorably. I thought I was going because our country needed its defense and because there was an injustice in the world that needed to be stopped. Instead, I was sent to war without proper planning, without proper training, without proper equipment and for causes that have proved fraudulent.

We need to put pressure on our elected government and force them to represent us as a country and bring the troops home legitimately. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Earlier this month, a group of 50 active-duty service members visited Capitol Hill to call for the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. The soldiers presented a petition, known as an “Appeal for Redress,” signed by over 1,000 troops, mostly enlisted service members. Liam Madden is a co-founder of Appeal for Redress. He served in Iraq as a Marine sergeant. He spoke to the crowd.

JONATHAN HUTTO: No justice! No war! More death, no peace! More imperialism, no peace! We come here today on behalf of 1,223 active-duty members of the United States military, Reserve members, National Guard members who are using their constitutional rights to speak out against this war, an imperialist war, a war for profit, not for people, a war for death, not for people, a war against the working class, not for justice. We thank you.

I’m going to be very short, but a couple things I want to say. Number one, this is a very great turnout that we have, and we have to continue to build this mass movement. We have to understand that this current war is going to continue. Many people who are here are veterans of the GI movement from the Vietnam War. And the reason why they're here, back again 35-40 years later, is because we have got to keep the mass movement going, no matter who's in office, a Democrat or Republican. We've got to keep the mass movement going against the system. It’s a systematic war.

Alright, finally, I am going to end with a chant. Alright, I want you all to say it with me, OK? When I say, “racism means,” you say, “got to fight back.” Racism means we got to fight back. Racism means we got to fight back. Oil war means we got to fight back. Imperialism means --

AUDIENCE: We got to fight back!

JONATHAN HUTTO: Imperialism means --

AUDIENCE: We got to fight back.

JONATHAN HUTTO: Iraq war means --

AUDIENCE: We got to fight.

JONATHAN HUTTO: Occupation means --

AUDIENCE: We got to fight back.

JONATHAN HUTTO: No justice, no peace!

AMY GOODMAN: That was Navy seaman Jonathan Hutto, who together with Liam Madden, was co-founder of the Appeal for Redress. The families of soldiers also spoke out. Brenda Hervey's stepson Michael was injured while in Iraq. This is Brenda Hervey.

BRENDA HERVEY: My name is Brenda Hervey. I’m a member of Military Families Speak Out from Sioux City, Iowa. On November 2nd, 2006, my stepson Michael was seriously injured when an IED exploded near his Bradley vehicle in al-Anbar province, Iraq. He was on his second deployment, serving on stop-lo

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