W pushes war, but people push back
New York Daily News
January 30, 2003
The number of Americans opposed to war with Iraq is growing faster than anyone in the White House dares to admit.
In his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, President Bush practically declared that a U.S. invasion is inevitable - even without UN backing.
But it's not just Europeans who believe that Bush's rush to war should be slowed. A new peace movement has mushroomed right here, and it is spreading beyond college campuses and into mainstream America.
On Jan. 13, for instance, a group of Republican business chiefs took out a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal blasting Bush for "waltzing blindfolded into what may well be a catastrophe."
Among them were John Haas, former chief of chemical giant Rohm and Haas; Peter Benoliel, a top director at Quaker Chemical Corp., and Howard Brembeck, founder and chairman of CTB Inc., an international agribusiness firm. All had voted for Bush and backed the first Gulf War led by Bush senior.
"The candidate we supported in 2000 promised a more humble nation in our dealings with the world," the busines chiefs said in their ad. "We gave him our votes and our campaign contributions. We feel betrayed."
The ad ended by urging: "War with Iraq is not inevitable. Now is the time to stop it. Speak out at your place of worship, at your business, among your friends and relatives."
Then there's retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, the commander of the first Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. He stunned Washington experts this week with his criticism of White House willingness to strike without UN approval.
"Candidly, I have gotten somewhat nervous at some of the pronouncements [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld has made," Schwarzkopf said.
When a general as tough as Stormin' Norman warns us that the leadership style of the U.S. defense secretary is "scary," we should listen up.
But opposition is not just coming from Republican businessmen and a former general.
As of yesterday, the city councils of 52 American cities have passed resolutions opposing a U.S. attack without UN approval.
Besides the liberal university towns you'd expect on the list, there are Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston and Corpus Christi, Tex.
If local politicians in those towns are taking symbolic stands against the President's war plans, you know they're feeling pressure from their constituents.
The media have covered a handful of big peace marches the past few months in Washington and San Francisco, but have paid little attention to the hundreds of local peace protests starting to pop up all over the country.
Bob Wing, a San Francisco-area activist, started a small anti-war newspaper called War Times last February.
"We expected to start with [a circulation of] about 10,000 in the Bay Area," Wing said yesterday. "But when we posted our plan on the Internet, we got swamped with orders by people who wanted to distribute [the paper] around the country."
Today, Wing says, his free newspaper has more than 1,200 individual distributors nationwide. He's printing 125,000 copies about once a month and paying for them through contributions from readers.
'Spectacle' U.S. may regret
A stinging critique of Bush came this week from Richard Butler, the former head of the UN weapons inspection team. Butler, who was known for his aggressive, unannounced inspections of Iraqi facilities in the late 1990s, said:
"The spectacle of the United States, armed with its weapons of mass destruction, acting without Security Council authority to invade a country in the heartland of Arabia ... is something that will so deeply violate any notion of fairness in this world that I strongly suspect it would set loose forces that we would deeply live to regret."
On Feb. 15, massive protests against a unilateral
U.S. invasion are scheduled for dozens of cities around
the world, including New York. If enough Americans stand
up, say the supporters of peace, the war can still be
slowed down - or perhaps even stopped.
How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?
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