The mainstream media reported that thousands of opponents and supporters of the U.S. presence in Iraq converged Saturday in the nation's capital for a day of demonstrations.
News outlets mis-characterized the gathering as an anti-war protest. Groups that support the military had a rally of their own. Gathering of Eagles
and Free Republic
met on the Mall and lined the protest route.
Many of the anti-war protesters were arrested after they jumped over a barricade near the base of the Capitol. Cheered on by the crowd, demonstrators continued to leap over the fence every few minutes and were then taken into custody. Some grew angry as police attempted to push them back. Protesters responded by throwing signs and chanting: "Shame on you."
AP reported the arrests of at least 150 people. The Washington Post downplayed the figure.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan told the crowd is was time to be assertive.
"It's time to lay our bodies on the line and say we've had enough," she said. "It's time to shut this city down."
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson, speaking from a stage to crowds clad in camouflage, American flag bandannas and Harley Davidson jackets, said he wanted to send three messages.
"Congress, quit playing games with our troops. Terrorists, we will find you and kill you," he said. "And to our troops, we're here for you, and we support you."The Rhetoric Heats Up
While protesters often say they they want to end the war to save troops' lives, there is some irony in the notion that few on the far left can count members of the military as friends. Shaggy anti-war types just don't hang with disciplined G.I.s; the lifestyles are incompatible. Perhaps there is more irony in the fact that the military community, which has been the target of so much anti-war wrath, is the one group who has given so much in order to preserve the right of the anti-war left to protest the war.
Whose interests are the most important to anti-war protesters? Are they the interests of individual members of the military, who those on the far-left often treat with disrespect and disdain? Or are they the anti-war protester's own self-interests, because liberals need to matter and feel good about themselves?
Perhaps the answer is best illustrated in the way liberals and Democrats responded to Gen. Petraeus' Congressional testimony this week. Not once did you hear a liberal or Democrat -- Representative, Senator or presidential candidate -- ask the general what they could do to HELP end the violence and bring peace to the Iraqi people. Instead, what you heard were questions and criticisms that, if not verging on impugning the general's credibility, had the effect of slandering him outright with no less than the whole world watching.Chanting demonstrators protest against the war as they march through down Pennsylvania Ave. Saturday Sept. 15, 2007.An unidentified member of a counter protest, center, yells at anti-war demonstrators as they march down Pennsylvania Ave., towards the U.S. Capitol grounds, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007, in Washington.
Related media sources: The Associated Press
, The Washington Post
, AP (updated)
, The Washington Post (updated)
.Tags: Democrats, liberals, Open Thread, Wire, Headlines, United States, anti-war
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Labels: GWOT, Iraq, Military, News, Open Thread, Terrorism