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Monday, November 12, 2007

Anti-War Protests at the Port of Olympia

posted by on November 12 at 13:25 PM

Two months ago, I wrote a column titled “Got Protest?”

Here’s what I said:

Noticing that youth were absent from Baird’s meeting led me to another, more jarring realization: There’s no substantial protest movement at all. For all the complaining we do about Bush’s creepy war on democracy at home to fight for democracy abroad, the left hasn’t actually stood up for democracy at home when we most need to tap its possibilities. No wonder Bush feels okay teaming up with AT&T to clamp down on American citizens.

Locally, the antiwar movement had its only and finest hour (or 24 hours) when a band of protesters occupied Senator Maria Cantwell’s Seattle office in April 2006. Cantwell was forced to alter her position on the war.

Would Baird have given cover to President Bush if he’d known there’d be consequences—confrontations, road blocks at Ft. Lewis, maybe. But Baird knows the tone of today’s antiwar movement isn’t at that scale. Consider: We’re four years into this war. Four years into the Vietnam war this country witnessed the most raucous antiwar protest in the country’s history at the Democratic Convention.

Four years after we invaded Iraq? Baird got an earful from voters like Barbara Wills of Vancouver, who whispered to me at the meeting, “Well, of course, I’m going to vote for him.”

All was quiet as I drove home up I-5, passing Fort Lewis along the way.

Well, there’s action along the I-5 corridor now. Protesters blockading military shipments from the Port bound for Ft. Lewis were pepper sprayed Sunday morning. Three people were arrested. Twelve protesters were arrested on Saturday.

The Olympian reports:

The confrontations Sunday began after about 8:45 a.m., when protesters began marching back and forth across Franklin Street at the Market Street intersection. As 18-wheelers towing cargo began rolling down Market Street about five minutes later, two protesters lay down in the road, creating a human blockade. Police officers sprayed both with pepper spray.

Another caravan of vehicles began leaving the port about 9:45 a.m., prompting protesters to run out ahead of the vehicles. Police arrested at least one man who witnesses said was in the road and later arrested two others.

Those arrested on suspicion of violating the city’s pedestrian interference ordinance were Joshua Elliott, Montgomery Gondolfi and Luke Noble, according to Olympia City Jail.

Collection of Flickr photos here and some blog accounts here.

I was dead set against this war when it started. In a 3000 word essay, that was drowned out by Dan’s 900-word sidebar, I wrote: “Securing sweeping democratic reforms in Egypt and the rest of the aforementioned list of Middle Eastern nations will produce the overdue death knell of bin Ladenism, something attacking Iraq surely won’t achieve.

But I’ve been reluctant to take an absolutist withdrawal position since then: Scared of the chaos that would ensue; leery of “al Qaeda” victory (Yes. Yes, I get it, but bin Laden is good at spin.) But now I’m all for the get the hell out position. The war is the worst foreign policy blunder in this country’s history. It didn’t work, yo. Acknowledging that as a way to jump start other policy approaches is the only way to diminish the damage.

We need to disengage and focus on al Qaeda (really), help create a Palestinian state; encourage civil rights in states like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

And so, three cheers to the protesters in Oly. If Bush isn’t going to listen to the 2006 election and the 5000 percent of Americans who show up in polling every month to say the war was a mistake, and we should get out now, I say, shut it down.

RSS icon Comments


Wow. so Seattle protestors are dumber than I thought. I mean, COME THE FUCK ON. Do you think that trying to stop trucks at Ft. Lewis does ANYTHING? I mean, jesus fucking tap-dancing christ.

Go protest the capitol, go protest the white house, fuck...go protest KBR or Lockheed. Instead you are holding up some poor soldier driving a 5 ton? Are you fucking serious? That kid is prolly a PFC, making shitty money, having to get shipped out and you are "helping" him by making his day longer and shitty??

Wow, thats how you stop wars. Asshats.

Posted by Original Monique | November 12, 2007 1:59 PM

"Three people were arrested. Twelve protesters were arrested on Saturday."

Sorry, nice try but that "protest" was fucking ridiculous. Typical greener self-congratulatory bullshit. They really struck a blow against Darth Cheney blocking that Stryker for a few minutes.

How many of them DROVE THEIR CARS to the protest? No blood for oil indeed.

Posted by Westside forever | November 12, 2007 2:08 PM

I'll give a hearty shout out to the protestors! I'm glad someone's doing something since most Americans couldn't care less. Blocking those shipments takes a hell of a lot more courage than most people have.

Oh, and protesting at state capitols, etc. is totally futile since the word is out that none of the politicians or generals give a fuck. It's sad that the military is now just another corrupt, right-wing special interest that has to be paid-off and placated, but wars are a huge, lucrative industry.

If you really want to stop the war (and upcoming wars) then call your Congress creature and absolutely DEMAND more tax cuts. Bankrupting the US is the only way.

Posted by Original Andrew | November 12, 2007 2:31 PM

Well 'Monique' i mean, they DID SOMETHING besides sit at their computers bitching about things on blogs.

Posted by Jake Salvador | November 12, 2007 2:51 PM

Josh, you left out the best part! They brought their kids! From the AP:

"On Friday, protesters, including several small children, were able to keep two trucks from leaving the port. Olympia police said the department did not have enough officers available to remove the protesters Friday, and that they were not prepared to physically remove children."

Wow, using kids as your human shields. I guess it shouldn't be surprising though, given their sympathies for Palestinian terrorists. Next time I hope CPS is on site.

They also blocked equipment that was LEAVING Iraq... they've decended into self-parody.

Posted by Brad | November 12, 2007 2:56 PM

@3 - Of course, a war is the last thing to NOT get funded if the government is out of money.

@1,@2,@5 - Ad hominem attacks, all of them. The protest was symbolic and newsworthy. That's all that matters. Duh.

Posted by Mahtli 69 | November 12, 2007 3:24 PM

So few brave people, so few with the guts to take action.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | November 12, 2007 4:55 PM

The invasion of Iraq has worked very well for Shrub and Cheney, who are making buttloads of money from it. And it's been working very well for other people with business interests in the region.
This lot is getting onto thin ice with teir chest-beating over Iran, however. If nucular weapons are set off, the whole world will suffer the consequences. Bunch of fuckwitted old white men picking fights for profit...

Posted by isabelita | November 12, 2007 5:17 PM

Worst foreign policy in the history of this country, huh? Try:

-The US's undeclared war on the Phillipines 1890-1901

-The "liberation" of Cuba


-Hell, Korean war!

Posted by Marty | November 13, 2007 1:05 PM

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