Anti-War Update

A roundup of opposition across the country

Stacia Falat

Protest mania
Protests spread nationwide in January, culminating in a day of marches and rallies on January 18 that drew hundreds of thousands of people to San Francisco and Washington. Pittsburgh’s rally on Super Bowl Sunday, 5,000 strong, ended with a dramatic “die-in” in which marchers stretched out in the street to represent the war dead. At press time, protests on February 15 and 16 in 300 cities worldwide were expected to draw hundreds of thousands.

The elderly take action
On January 31, more than 80 senior citizens from Mill Valley’s Redwoods Retirement Center in California took to the streets. Waving posters and singing protest songs, the seniors marched with canes, wheelchairs and walkers in front of their nursing home. “I don’t support any of this,” said resident Mutsu Muneno, 95. “It winds up killing the young.”

Nobel laureates oppose war
Forty-one American Nobel laureates in science and economics issued an anti-war statement on January 27. “Even with a victory, we believe that the … consequences of an American preventive attack on Iraq would undermine, not protect, U.S. security and standing in the world,” reads their declaration. Among the signers are Hans A. Bethe, an architect of the atom bomb, and other former national security and Pentagon officials.

Cities for peace
Chicago is the largest of 90 cities and counties nationwide to pass a resolution expressing opposition to a pre-emptive attack on Iraq. At press time, campaigns in another 98 towns and cities were underway. Members from 30 cities that have passed resolutions went to Washington February 13 to meet with, or leave their resolutions for delivery to, President Bush. (For more information, go to www.citiesforpeace.org.

Historians form alliance
On January 3, 1,000 historians from 250 colleges and 47 states formed a national network, “Historians Against the War” (on the Web at www.historiansagainstwar.org) “We historians call for a halt to the march toward war against Iraq,” the group declared. “We are deeply concerned about the needless destruction of human life.”

Celebrities sign on
Artists United to Win Without War, a group of Hollywood actors, producers and directors, sent an anti-war letter to President Bush in December. The letter’s 105 signers included Susan Sarandon, Jackson Browne and Matt Damon. (For a complete list, see www.moveon.org/artistswinwithoutwar.)

Dissent in Congress
Much of Congress openly supports the war or has remained silent. But Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) has introduced a resolution in Congress that calls on Bush to fully support the work of U.N. inspectors and to require another congressional vote before he declares war. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) presented similar legislation in the House, co-sponsored by Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Barbara Lee (D-California), Danny Davis (D-Illinois) and Diane Watson (D-California).

In early February, Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced a bill that would repeal the 2002 resolution authorizing use of military force against Iraq. The measure has 31 co-sponsors.

The organizing continues
More than 600,000 people and counting have joined the anti-war movement online at MoveOn.org, which has run television ads in major markets and met with members of Congress in an effort to drum up opposition to war. The group joins hundreds of other progressive organizations, including more than 100 labor unions and 32 college student governments, in condemning possible military action in Iraq.

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