Monday, September 26, 2005

Washington's anti-war demonstration

With all my posts on Hurricane Rita this weekend, I've neglected a major event in Washington, D.C. Here's the story:

Tens of thousands of people packed downtown Washington [on Saturday] and marched past the White House in the largest show of antiwar sentiment in the nation's capital since the conflict in Iraq began.

The demonstration drew grandmothers in wheelchairs and babies in strollers, military veterans in fatigues and protest veterans in tie-dye. It was the first time in a decade that protest groups had a permit to march in front of the executive mansion, and, even though President Bush was not there, the setting seemed to electrify the crowd.

Signs, T-shirts, slogans and speeches outlined the cost of the Iraq conflict in human as well as economic terms. They memorialized dead U.S. troops and Iraqis, and contrasted the price of war with the price of recovery for areas battered by hurricanes Katrina and Rita...

Protest organizers estimated that 300,000 people participated, triple their original target. D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, who walked the march route, said the protesters achieved the goal of 100,000 and probably exceeded it. Asked whether at least 150,000 showed up, the chief said, "That's as good a guess as any.

Given my own conflicted views on the Iraq War, I won't add commentary here or otherwise judge it one way or the other. It was what it was. A significant anti-war protest in the nation's capital. Wherever you stand on the war and the occupation and the reconstruction efforts, it's good to see such political passion every now and then. Let the debate continue.

(See also Joe Gandelman's take at The Moderate Voice.)

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