If his slumping popularity was what drove President Bush to take responsibility last week for the Katrina morass, perhaps a nationwide anti-war protest will get G-Dub to finally turn those little donkey ears toward public criticism of the Iraq morass.
On Sept. 24, dozens, if not hundreds, of cities will hold local rallies, teach-ins and peace vigils under the umbrella theme "End the war on Iraq." The anchor protest is happening in Washington, D.C., highlighted by a concert in front of the Washington Monument featuring Thievery Corporation, Le Tigre, Jello Biafra and Wayne Kramer (of MC5 fame). Yeah, no fair for us.
Locally, San Diego is planning what organizers describe as a festival-type event with speakers, booths and live music. Planners here went with an area-appropriate them: "We can bring the troops home."
Wait a sec-what about Colin Powell's "You break it, you buy it" Pottery Barn thing. We can't just leave, can we?
"I don't think any responsible person from the peace community is saying pull out in three days time and let it all go to hell," said Craig Jones, spokesperson for the San Diego event. "I think what we're saying is that it needs to transition as quickly as possible from an American occupation based on our forced invasion to genuine peacekeeping troops from different countries that would be acceptable to the local population.
"Our presence in Iraq fuels the violence and disruption and their ability as a nation to recover."
Martin Eder of Activist San Diego, who'll emcee the rally that begins at 2 p.m. in Balboa Park, said his opinion about a troop pullout changed after he went to see journalist Dahr Jamail speak in San Diego a couple months ago. Jamail interviewed hundreds of Iraqis to gauge their feelings on the presence of the American military. Folks told Jamail they felt the U.S. being there stirred up dissent rather than quelling it.
It's like dropping a hornet's nest in someone's house and saying you can't leave until you get rid of the hornets, said Eder. "We shouldn't be the ones to try to solve the problem that we created. If I'm asking you to get out, I'll take care of my own hornets; I don't trust you to get rid of them."The Sept. 24 Peace Rally kicks off at 2 p.m. at Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street in Balboa Park. Two group marches will converge at the park. The North County Coalition for Peace and Justice march leaves from the Santa Fe Train Station at Broadway and Kettner Boulevard at 12:30 p.m. A second march sponsored by Al-Awda leaves from San Diego City College at 1 p.m. 619-263-9301. A candlelight vigil will be held Sept. 25 at sunset in Balboa Park, across from St. Paul's Cathedral (Sixth Avenue and Nutmeg Street).