September 24, 2005

Locals travel to DC to lend their voice to national war protest

The Dispatch reports 57 Quad-citians to attend rally in D.C.

DAVENPORT -- Memories of a lost brother and of a mother who lost her son are why Ruth Puck and Ann Berger boarded the bus on Friday.

The women and 55 others packed up their signs, bottled water and other provisions and left by bus Friday afternoon for the United for Peace rally in Washington, D.C., to protest the war in Iraq.

"I'm going because my brother (Chuck Slayton) was in Vietnam, and I didn't get involved back then," said Ms. Puck of Moline. "He came back and was never the same, so I thought I need to get involved now."

Ms. Berger of Davenport watched Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son, Casey Sheehan, in Iraq, become a beacon for those who opposed the war. Ms. Sheehan camped outside President George W. Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch, for several weeks, wanting to meet with the president. Ms. Sheehan will speak at today's rally.

"There are many people who feel passionate about this issue, so why not go," Ms. Berger said. "You want energy, this is it."

She wants to join others who also believe passionately that the war in Iraq is wrong. She should have plenty of company. Organizers are saying 100,000 could participate in the rally. Counter-protests by war supporters are also planned.

Many of the family and friends Ms. Puck and Ms. Berger have talked to in recent days gave their support and wished they could go, too.

"I knew a lot of people who wanted to come but because of work or family couldn't," Ms. Puck said.

"I've gotten calls of support, and they say you are going for me," Ms. Berger said.

Both women expressed surprise that more people weren't going to the rally. Cathy Bolkcom, who organized the trip, said more people were interested than seats were available. The trip cost $125 a seat.

Sue Howes, a retired Presbyterian minister from Andalusia, was staying in the Quad-Cities but said she would be there in spirit. She helped sponsor a person to go on the trip.

"I've been opposed to this war since the very beginning," Rev. Howes said. "It doesn't seem to be involved in the war on terror."

She cited recent polls that show support for the war is waning and that this weekend's rally is a start toward ending the war in Iraq.

"There are other buses from Iowa and the Midwest going," Rev. Howes said. "Polls show that 55 percent of the country opposes this war. If all 55 percent showed up, there would be an effect."
Great to see a piece on this story which otherwise would be expected to be ignored. Heads up reporting by the Dispatch's Kurt Allemeier on the local angle ahead of a story which will likely be national news.

And again, it boggles my mind that ditto-heads and other very confused people feel motivated to make the effort to counter-protest AGAINST those who desire an end to hostilities and continued death, destruction, and the vast expansion of hostility towards our country.


At 9/24/2005 10:14 AM, Blogger Dave said...

It is my view that about 30% of the American population is operationally in favor of American defeat in the war - the vast bulk of these people simply being ignorant and misguided...but then there is the hard core. This would be, in my estimate, about 10% of the American population...people who are not only working for American defeat, but know it and glory in the task. ANSWER, MoveOn, Michael Moore - these are the hard core. Thing is, 10% of the American population works out to about 30 million people...meaning that if you work it right, you can get quite a lot of people to show up, as well as getting them from every corner of the nation. What you can get, then, is something which looks a lot larger and powerful than it actually is.

How do Americans feel about the war? There is no way to tell on a short term basis - this or that bit of good or bad news might skew the results of a poll, and skew it right back again an instant later when different information becomes available. The only thing we know for certain is that a majority of Americans who care enough to get involved re-elected the man determined to win the war and fight it out in Iraq regardless of how long it takes. That result remains valid until at least November of 2006. What we will see in DC this day is a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Our challenge to the so-called "anti-war": Get out there and collect the voters, and we'll see you in a bit more than 13 months.

At 9/24/2005 2:56 PM, Blogger Dave Barrett said...

Well, dave, the United States will withdraw its troops from Iraq sooner or later and almost everyone agrees that when they do there is little chance that Iraq will be both a democracy and pro-American. In other words no matter how many more American lives we sacrifice and American dollars we spend in the war in Iraq almost no one believes that there is a chance that we can accomplish ANY of the many goals that the war was supposed to accomplish. Iraq will not be a western-leaning democracy that will be an example for its neighbors, a friend of Israel, a defender of western access to Middle Eastern oil or an unwelcoming place for anti-Western terrorists.
Right-wing supporters of President Bush are just as likely to admit these realities as left-wing Bush haters. Therefore, people who are advocating bringing the troops home now are not calling for American defeat. The defeat, the non-accomplishment of our goals, has already happened. They just want to stop throwing lives and dollars away.

At 9/24/2005 3:01 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Note that so far there are none of the indications that would rightly tell us it is high time to leave Iraq: Polls don’t suggest that Iraqis want us out immediately; the parliament has not asked the United States to depart; President Talabani does not order us home; American military commanders and diplomats on the ground in Iraq have not concluded that success is impossible, and there is not a grassroots popular movement across religious and tribal lines to oppose the American-sponsored democratic reforms.

Even though we have failed so far to marshal the strength to crush the Sunni insurrection, Iraq is still a far better place now than it was in March 2003, as most Iraqis agree. The Middle East is a better place, whether in Palestine, Afghanistan, or Lebanon. And the position of the United States, the object of unprecedented acrimony and invective, is better off — whether we measure that as the absence of another 9/11 attack, strengthening friendships with India, Japan, Eastern Europe, and the English-speaking countries, reforming the anti-American U.N., or making some progress in North Korea.

But who is really angry at America since 2001?

Al Qaeda, of course. Saddamites, especially. Radical Islamicists no doubt.

France and Germany are also apparently unhappy: They lost plenty of oil business and loans in Iraq; they are facing the wages of not assimilating Islamic minorities in their midst; and they are fathoming that socialist and statist policies cannot be salvaged by cheap election-time anti-Americanism in an age when the United States is more eager to keep our distance from them than they us.

Historic changes are underway in Afghanistan and Iraq. While we at home squabble and point fingers, the U.S. military fortunately continues in its difficult but landmark mission — and so far, thankfully, pays us all little heed.

At 9/24/2005 4:36 PM, Blogger Dave Barrett said...

Dave, do you think that if the US military stays in Iraq long enough a pro-Western democracy will result? If so, which political group in Iraq do you envision leading this government? If not, in what way would see this result as a victory?

At 9/24/2005 5:25 PM, Blogger Dave said...

The Romans’ old mantra of “divide and conquer” is also being raised. Apparently we are to modulate Shiite-Sunni hostility, in the hopes that the Shiites would counter Wahhabi-inspired terrorism, each side wearing the other out — and leaving us pleasantly out of the fray.

But how forcing Iraqi Shiites further into the Iranian camp is a good thing escapes logic. I don’t see much difference between a theocratic nuclear Shiite Iran subsidizing Hezbollah and terrorist Wahhabis — but a great deal of difference between those extremists and Shiite and Sunni legislators now working out a compromise in Iraq. For all the present and legitimate criticism of our war, Iraq and Afghanistan are about the only places in the Middle East where Muslims are seriously fighting terrorists every day — and that is only because they are slowly becoming constitutional and trying to avoid descending into sectarian fiefdoms.

A timetable for withdrawal before Iraq is acknowledged as secure is said to be soon on the Democratic agenda — a sure way to cut American losses, expenditures, and worry over Iraqis for quite some time.

Nevertheless, why this “out of sight-out of mind” policy has not been quite yet raised by mainstream Democrats is obvious: Even the most diehard critics accept something positive is going on in Iraq that is a far cry from Vietnam.

A sequence of planned steps will lead to consensual government: approval of the constitution, national voting for candidates, a public trial of Saddam, and the establishment of a large constitutional military. The Iraqi security forces are getting better, not worse; the population is souring, not sweetening, on Zarqawi; we are becoming wiser, not more ignorant, about fighting the insurgency; and decisions are increasingly made by Iraqis, while Americans have receded into the media shadows.

At 9/25/2005 12:50 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

These are two separate persons here. However, clearly Dave Barrett is the more intelligent and informed of the two.

At 9/25/2005 3:18 PM, Blogger Dave said...


you better sit this one out

At 9/25/2005 4:42 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

I take it from your comments, you appear to have left your brain at home Dave.

At 9/25/2005 5:05 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Dope, where are the FOX and CNN reporters who were going to cover this rally??

Seems like th major media is ignoring it - gee I wonder why?

At 9/25/2005 6:12 PM, Blogger diehard said...

The mainstream was getting worn out talking only about the hurricane! It stopped being a story at about 9:00 on Saturday morning. Much to the distress of CNN, ABC, NBC that was there plan to cover the hurricane and not the massive peace rallys across the country.
Even Bush who was sitting in a briefing by the National Guard tried to act like he knew what they were talking about.
He looked like he was about to fall asleep.
I'm sure he either wanted to go to Crawford or the Whitehouse and lay down.[he's kind of on the lazzzzzy side]
But his handelers I'm sure had to remind him there was a huge peace rally going on. 'You need to stay here and act Presidential!'

At 9/26/2005 3:44 PM, Blogger Dave said...

dave barret

Did you get in over your head? Where did you go? We're not done here.

At 9/27/2005 6:43 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Dave- go home to your own boring blog.

Hey Dope, I thought O'Reiley said that FOX would cover the protest. Did all their reporters get stuck in Texas with Bush or something??

At 9/27/2005 4:10 PM, Blogger Dave said...


Like I said, sit this one out. If all you have to add is name calling. Youare a lightweight.

At 9/27/2005 7:54 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Well Dave I never said you were fat did I? You however like to shove those personal insults at people whom you have never seen and know nothing about.

But your kind will often sterotype groups of people....

At 9/27/2005 8:32 PM, Blogger Dave said...

...and you still have nothing to add.

At 1/18/2006 12:29 PM, Anonymous Chaz Robertson said...

I am vetern of the war you are strongly protesting and as a servce member your actions absolutly disgust me. By protesting and making a scene that shows negative support for efforts over seas you are undermining everything I fought for and my brothers in arms died for. All you have is a one sided opinion of someone who hasnt been there and doesnt understand. While you stand behind your picket signs and shout names and accusations, just remember that the only reason you enjoy the freedom to do so is because men like the ones who r overseas and here at home serving our armed forces. So please have some respect for those of us who put our lives on the line so you can say we are wrong. You can reply to this by emailing me if you want with either opinion at


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