A very inspiring night tonight at the DNC protests, RR.
Iraq Veterans Against the War led thousands of people from the Denver Coliseum (where Rage Against the Machine performed) to the convention. I overheard someone say between 7,000-7,500 people and sure, I’ll go with that. I don’t want to sweat the exact number, the point is also that we felt strong, spirits were high and the chants were right on. There was even a contingent of immigrants in the march!
Along the route the vets made occasional stops to share some of their war stories through a megaphone. To think that someone would train and command our youth to carry out the atrocities they described defies all reason and logic. One of the most horrific stories came from a vet who was ordered to include children in his list of targets to shoot for. Another vet almost broke down describing how no amount of therapy could ever take away the guilt of what he did in Iraq.
IVAW marched with a letter for Senator Barack Obama. Three demands on that letter:
1. Immediate withdrawal from Iraq
2. Health benefits for Iraq vets
3. Reparations for the Iraqi people
I dunno about you RR but I think the demands are totally reasonable. Like, totally reasonable. And there’s only three of them!
The last update I heard was that someone from the Obama campaign offered to listen to the demands from the Iraq war veterans.
“Someone” from the Obama camp offered to “listen” to the demands.
Frankly I’m surprised there’s not more enthusiasm from the Obama camp about meeting with the vets. After all, Obama is our supposed anti-war candidate, public sentiment has been against the war for as long as I can remember, Obama toured Iraq and met with troops on active duty and for fuck’s sake: they’re the vets! Nothing could be politically safer than meeting with vets!
Why is there no red carpet for these guys?
Obama voted for $300 billion in war allocations, doesn’t he want to see the product of his investment? Doesn’t he want to feel reassured that those $300 billion didn’t go to waste and that US troops are indeed being ordered to gun down Iraqi children? Obama also wants to send more troops to Afghanistan, this is the perfect opportunity to both articulate the wisdom behind his plan and check on troop morale.
There was some confusion on the direction of the march, RR. Somehow we ended up at a barricaded dead end located behind (and to the side of) the Pepsi Center. Not knowing exactly what to do, we stayed in that area for a while, just standing, sitting, photographing, filming, singing, talking and chanting. I heard the media speaking in several languages and they interviewed, photographed and filmed the IVAW.
After a while a march organizer announced that the cops were going to give three warnings. If we weren’t gone by the third: tear gas.
Now…that’s a bit of an escalation. Regardless, I think the IVAW made a good move by getting us out of that barricaded dead end and onto Speer Blvd where those who didn’t want to get arrested could turn right and those who were willing to risk arrest could turn to the left towards the entrance of the Pepsi Center.
I turned left along with several thousand other IVAW supporters and allies. This was worth risking arrest, rubber bullets and tear gas.
The pictures speak for themselves, RR. There were cops EVERYWHERE. We had cops surrounding us and standing in the center of the protest area.
They were on scissor lifts, on bikes, on horses, in SUVs, in riot gear with rubble bullet rifles in hand.
Despite the looming police state, morale was highest I’ve seen in the protester front. There were just too many of us and the cause was stubbornly just.