US demonstrators speak out against Iraq war

"A slaughter for oil and private profit"

By a reporting team
28 October 2002

Reporters from the World Socialist Web Site interviewed people who came to the anti-war rallies held October 26 in Washington and San Francisco. For many, it was the first demonstration in which they participated. A number of those interviewed said they were regular readers of the WSWS.

Cinda McGuinn, a teacher’s assistant, came with a group of about 100 people from Boone, North Carolina. She told the WSWS: “There are plenty of people out there against this war idea. It’s for oil. He’ll be throwing away the innocent lives of children and our soldiers.

“So far, the media hasn’t covered the views of those who are against the war. It is not the case that everyone supports it. People are afraid to speak out. They feel that they are alone. Congress has capitulated. I think it is pathetic. They sold their souls to Bush and his cohorts.

“Bush is trying to link Iraq with terrorism. I don’t think there is necessarily a link. Bush talks about an Iraqi arms buildup. We are the only ones who have dropped nuclear bombs. We’ve never let inspectors in to inspect us. Now he wants to attack, and Iraq never attacked us. He probably thinks they are sitting on ‘our’ oil.”

Maria Lichtman, a professor at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, told the WSWS, “I think it has been building up since the war in Afghanistan. I was against the bombing of Afghanistan. I don’t think it was the right way to pursue the war on terrorism.”

Margaret came to the demonstration from Brown University in Rhode Island. She was one of the many students who joined the march. “Everyone is pretty much against it,” she said. “It is incredibly sad to see the lack of Democratic opposition. But that’s what they think the American people want. It is interesting that the director of the CIA came out to say that Iraq is not an imminent threat. That was ignored by the media. There are many factors that are not being paid attention to. They talk about weapons of mass destruction, but Pakistan has nuclear weapons and we say they are our ally, even thought they are more closely linked to Al Qaeda than Iraq.”

A computer worker originally from India traveled with a contingent of demonstrators from Atlanta. “Iraq has suffered immensely since the end of the first Gulf War in 1991,” he said. “Economic sanctions have wreaked havoc on the most vulnerable segments of the population. I have come to Washington today to express my solidarity with the workers of Iraq and express my outrage over the Bush administration’s plans to carry out a slaughter for oil and private profit.”

He described himself as a regular reader of the WSWS. “I look forward to reading the WSWS every day,” he said. “I am sick of the television news. Your articles are written without heavy ideological rhetoric and provide a real analysis of the political situation. Readers are convinced by the power of your arguments, which is the way it should be.”

Alex, a student from Binghamton University in New York State, said, “It is wrong to wage war and kill, especially since the American people have never been told the truth by this government about September 11. More people are going to suffer under the cover of taking retaliation for the terror attacks. In reality, a war against Iraq will only be for greed.”

Two students from the University of Maryland, Rachel and Jacob, also spoke with the WSWS. Rachel said: “War is wrong. This is a trumped up issue. It is not legitimate to claim that Iraq, after ten years of devastation, is a threat to the US. It’s a ridiculous attempt to fool the American people.”

Jacob added: “There is an ulterior motive at play. A war against Iraq would be for big business. Since September 11, the Democrats don’t want to provoke any confrontation with Bush. Our government is not representative of the people. Both parties are controlled by big money and they ignore the opinions of the majority of people. Regardless of this protest or the opinion polls, they are taking us into war.”

Mary, a technical writer from New York City, said she was a reader of the WSWS. “I think your web site is rich in information, context and background,” she said. “I just discovered your site about a month ago. I started sending it to all my friends.

“I am against war with Iraq and I am against war period. It is about oil and it is about distraction from the election. It is also their conception of world politics. It is a test case: can we dominate the world, fight battles on multiple fronts? I think it is fueled by racism and religious fundamentalism that is almost cartoonish.

“I think the war on terrorism is a lie. It is just a mechanism for us to exert control over the world. If we didn’t want terrorism we would withdraw our troops from where they don’t belong. They are tired of us using their countries as a latrine.”

A theater technician from New York City told the WSWS, “I think it is a good time to speak out in a public way. It doesn’t surprise me that Congress voted in favor of the use of force. I realize it was a lot of politicking. I am not happy with giving Bush a carte blanche.

“I grew up in the sixties and had all the delusions about what happened in Vietnam. I was told all these things by teachers that never really rang true—it was about the rice, it was about communism. I understand now that it is a monster out of control. There is economics behind it. It is not about what they say.”

Michele, who lives in New York, said she has been reading the WSWS for about nine months. “I like the international coverage that the site provides,” she said. “It has articles on the struggles of people all over the world. It is not just the Washington, Tel Aviv, Berlin axis, but it has reports on Canada, Sri Lanka, Africa and all over the world, in places that are not covered even in the liberal press.

“I also like the historical perspective of the articles. Every article has a historical time line; the events don’t just come out of nowhere. Your articles are very historical; they are the process of historical events. It is first-rate journalism.

William, Michele’s husband, added: “Your site has everything the Times does not see fit to print. The WSWS gives information that is extremely important to understand the economic or political issues that the mainstream press does not want to present.”

Danette Griffin from northern Kentucky explained why she likes the WSWS. “I have been reading the site for a little over a year and I think the articles and the reporting are just wonderful,” she said. “I see people whose consciousness we need to raise about what is going on in the world, and your site does a great job of letting people know what is taking place and why.

“There is a book, The Overworked American. It is about how Americans are overworked, so that we don’t have time to stop and think about what is taking place. Well, your site allows people to see and think Your site is excellent, but you don’t say, ‘Trust us,’ you give people the links and say look it up for yourselves.

“I send your articles to many people that I know. I always get positive feedback. Even people who don’t agree with your outlook have to tell me that the information was right. Keep up the good work.”

Angelina, a ninth-grade student at Emiliano Zapata High School in Oakland, California, came to the demonstration in San Francisco. “At my high school, many students oppose a war with Iraq,” she said. “There are big needs at home. High schools have no new books, supplies are running low all the time, and there are no jobs.”

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