On Thursday, January 11, the icy wind blowing didn’t stop an estimated 250 activists from forming a candlelit vigil and lively protest on the Santa Monica Promenade against Bush’s announcement to escalate – or “surge” as he called it – the massively unpopular war in Iraq. The rally started at Ocean and Wilshire, and though planned for an hour, lasted twice that long, as many were not quite ready to go home and give up. The group included young and old, hippies and punk rockers, war veterans and lawyers. Some participants spoke of hearing Nixon’s speech to announce the bombing of Cambodia and said Bush is singing the same tune.
If the continual cheers, honking horns and thumbs-up signals from passing motorists during the protest are any indicator, there is a strong “coalition” of area residents who see this planned escalation of the Iraq war for what it is: Another poorly conceived idea that is strongly opposed by elected officials of both Democrats and Republicans, and at least 68 percent of Americans even by recent polls by conservative media.
During the march through the Promenade, one passerby queried, “Do you want them to blow up more buildings?” A chilling reminder that there still remains some holders-on to the grossly inaccurate myth that Iraq was behind 9/11. By all reports, the greatest death toll has been among Iraqi civilians whose only direct connection to 9/11 is that they too belong to the human race. The death of any innocent is remembered by friends and family who now have a heart full of resentment and bitterness towards the USA. Ripe recruits for al-Qaeda are created with every bomb we drop in Iraq…and now Somalia. Many speculated from Bush’s speech on Wednesday that Iran is next on W’s list.
On that breezy, chilly night it was uplifting and inspiring to those who gathered with like-minded souls to express a desire for peace. Marches all over the country that night showed a passion and unified commitment to end the war not seen since Vietnam.