Washington demonstrators speak out against war on Iraq

By Paul Sherman
20 January 2003

The WSWS interviewed workers and youth who participated in Saturday’s anti-war demonstration in Washington.

Adam, from Charleston, South Carolina, said, “I feel that any time we try to be the aggressor that nothing good can come out of it. I have not seen any evidence that Iraq is building weapons. And even if Bush was able to convince me that Iraq had weapons, I still don’t think war is the right answer.

“I think Bush is after revenge, oil and control. Revenge for what his father didn’t do. And he wants to control the region, the oil and the wealth that is there.

“I am afraid that war is inevitable. I don’t care what the inspectors come back with, Bush wants a war and they are going to start it. Our culture has become too violent. That is the answer that people give to any problem. Rather than try and solve a problem, the first answer is to turn to violence.

“There are no differences with the Democratic Party. They are all too moderate. It is like they don’t want to stand up for anything. There are no real choices. They are all afraid to speak out and stand up for what is right.

“I feel they are going to start bombing no matter what. They are going to find any reason they can to get started and they don’t care what it is or what it will mean for the people there.”

Cara, of Washington DC, said, “I want to try to stop the escalation of the war. There has been a continuous war going on. They are bombing right now, and the sanctions have continued to kill people.

“It especially hurts me, and makes we want to stop it when I see that 4,000 children are being killed a month from the sanctions. The sanctions have caused the destruction of the water system and sanitation system, crippled the medical system and prevented supplies from coming into the country. It is even hard for them to get the food that they need.

“This is causing children to die, children who have never hurt anyone, and we are hurting them. The UN has imposed the sanctions, but it is the US that is behind them. We are the main backer and the ones who are keeping this going and causing all of this death.

“I don’t know what Bush is thinking—if he thinks he can dominate the world with control over oil. I am absolutely disgusted with the Democrats. They are one and the same as the Republicans. I always said that Clinton represented a wolf in sheep’s clothes. They kept the sanctions going during his administration and they are just as responsible.”

Olivia and Courtney live in Durham, North Carolina. They took off work and left Friday night, arriving in Washington at 5 a.m. Saturday to take part in the demonstration.

Olivia said, “I have always believed that you can’t just complain, but that you have to do what you can do.

“The core of all of this is that we have just simply been lied to. We are not being told the real reasons that they want to go to war. Propaganda is always part of the political system, but this is more than that.

“The way in which people have been rallied behind this war is wrong. It is wrong to start a war when people aren’t really being told what it is for. In some ways I believe that even Bush believes the propaganda. I don’t think that he really has given it that much thought. I don’t think he is a very deep thinker on issues.

“If they would come out and say what the war is really for, then people could then say they are either for it or against it. But then people wouldn’t support the war. Now they are preparing to kill a lot of people—not just Americans, but people in Iraq, too. And we are just being lied to about why.

“I saw a sign here that summed it all up for me. It said, ‘Imagine $200 billion being spent on health care and education.’ Just imagine what could be done if all the money that goes to the military could be used for people, to help feed, house and educate people. Just imagine what could be done if we did that instead.”

Courtney added, “I came to make a difference. I feel 9/11 has nothing to do with this. Bush is an aggressor and is going to proceed no matter what. He is using 9/11 to justify his war.

“What we are being shown on TV and in the newspapers is propaganda and it makes me mad. My mom is 100 percent behind this war; she just believes what she is being shown. It is wrong, because people are not getting the full story. They are showing us what they want us to believe and they are getting people to support going to war based on that.”

Sandra explained why she had come to the protest. “I just felt that I needed to express my feelings in a personal way. I am 54 years old and this is the first protest demonstration that I have ever been to. For once in my life, instead of sitting at home I had to come out and say that this is wrong.

“I don’t feel that we are getting enough truthful information to make a decision. I have two children in the military and I feel we need to know more about what is going on, not just end up being used by someone else.

“I want to be fair, I don’t have proof either, but I feel that we are going for another agenda, that we are going to war to take advantage of another nation’s natural resources. It just seems like Bush is very selective in whom we attack and whom we decide to overthrow.

“The Democrats are not speaking up, they are going along with everything that is being said. That is why I felt I had to come out. I think the people are going to have to do something about this now.”