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Thursday, September 22, 2005

The March on Washington

Posted by on September 22 at 13:00 PM

Behind all the noisy hurricane coverage, there’s a good bit of attention beginning to focus on the big anti-war march that’s set to descend on Washington, D.C. this weekend. Cindy Sheehan will be among the speakers, and to draw attention to the march the group Gold Star Families for Peace is running this devastating ad on CNN and Fox News. It shows a parade of other mothers of dead soldiers, including Lynn Bradach, who I profiled in last week’s Stranger, all making direct appeals to president Bush:

Melanie House of Simi Valley, California: Mr. President, I lost my husband, and now I’m asking you, How many more soldiers have to die for your mistake?

Elaine Johnson of Cope, South Carolina: You lied to us. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11…

Bradach, of Portland, Oregon: Mr. President, we all love our country, we all love our troops…

House: But don’t sacrifice the lives of our loved ones for your mistake.

With tens of thousands of people expected at the march, Bush today unveiled a new rhetorical gambit, saying that withdrawing from Iraq now would allow terrorists ”to claim an historic victory over the United States.” Message: If we withdraw, we lose, therefore the Gold Star moms are defeatists who want America to get beaten by terrorists.

For an extremely satisfying collision of these two positions, watch this tense debate between Phil Donahue and Bill O’Reilly, in which Donahue more than holds his ground as O’Reilly tries to blast him with recycled Bush administration talking points.

Meanwhile, a new Gallup Poll out this week finds that 66 percent of Americans support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

Whether all of this will add up to a pivotal point in the anti-war movement on Saturday is hard to tell. But with Bill O’Reilly unable to effectively defend the Iraq war anymore, and a majority of Americans now calling for withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and Bush reduced to calling grieving mothers defeatists, there’s an opening for a defining moment.

For information on the companion protest that will happen here in Seattle this Saturday, click here.