Rally for local war protesters today

I've heard some folks call them the David Price Six, which has a nice ring to it. But it's also notable that Representative Price has requested to drop the charges against the six protesters who occupied his office in an effort to get him to more vigorously oppose the war.

Six local protesters go on trial this afternoon on trespassing charges in connection with an anti-war demonstration in U.S. Rep. David Price's office in February.

On March 26, the six -- Laura Bickford, Ben Carroll, Alisan Fathalizadeh, Sara Joseph, Dante Strobino, Tamara Tal -- pleaded not guilty to the charges. They had called on Price to oppose all further funding for the war and to seek an immediate withdrawal of American soldiers from Iraq.

Since then, Price has written a letter to District Attorney Jim Woodall asking him to drop the charges against the six, protester Carroll said in a release.

The protesters will hold a rally and press conference at 1 p.m. outside the Chapel Hill post office building at East Franklin and Henderson streets, where the courthouse is located.
- newsobserver.com | Chapel Hill's war protestors in court today



Ruby, the SDS doesn't think it's notable that Representative Price has requested the DA to drop the charges against the six protesters who occupied his office, they say that he's afraid to come and testify about his position about the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Of course, the trial is about trespassing, a charge that they seem to admit committing.

Unless you read the press release you linked to, then it's notable.

The press release says to me that Rep. Price asking to drop the charges is simply a ploy, so I guess it depends on how you wish to use the notable noun.

The traditional definition of notable is when you note something, as they did. I guess they have to kiss his ass to make it notable?

According to the N&O
charges were dismissed:

A judge dismissed trespassing charges today against six people who had protested the war in Iraq in U.S. Rep. David Price's local office in February.

Judge Alonzo Coleman dismissed the charges against Laura Bickford, Ben Carroll, Alisan Fathalizadeh, Sara Joseph, Dante Strobino and Tamara Tal at the congressman's request and "in the interest of justice," he said.

Now, maybe Congressman Price, in the "interest of justice", can put his shoulder to the wheel and get our troops the hell out of Iraq.

I often say that the role of extremism is to make less extreme allies seem more reasonable by comparison. That's certainly how I approach the business of blogging.

In my view, David Price has come through this dust-up pretty darn well.

Do I wish he were a firebrand calling for Bush's head on a pike? Sure I do. But that's not his style - and I daresay he's more effective than most of us would be (definitely true for me) on many issues.

I'm having a hard time knowing what "shoulder to the wheel" would look like right now in the US House.

Very notable. Please remind me again what realistic actions you want Rep. Price to take that he is not already taking? What are the other 439 members of the House doing that he might emulate?

Fred, are you hoping for a rematch of previous conversations on this same topic or do you have a new point to make?

Jim, Price is doing better than before. How about this novel idea - meet several times across the area with more than the local Democratic party folks during the Memorial Day Congressional break?

I don't see anything like that on his schedule.

He could discuss the Iraqii withdrawal proposition that was passed by the local Dems during their precinct meetup (yes, I know the Wake and Durham leadership buckled but, from what I can tell, the position has very strong grassroots support).

I'm just asking WillR, what in "the interest of justice," he wants him to do.

It's notable that you didn't ask WillR the question, but only me.

1. Price (with our next Senator Brad Miller) supported closing the 14 permanent Iraqii bases before, why not reintroduce/sponsor a new bill that pulls further funding for those bases and sets a specific timetable for their closure.

2. Price supported investigations into detainee abuse, why not open an investigation through the Homeland Security committee on the consequences of our current "torturous" policy?

3. Price could call or conduct a similar investigation into the abuses conducted by some of the 126,000 privatized military forces in Iraq.

4. Price could add language to the withdrawal bill(s) that includes targeted reductions of these private forces.

5. Price could add language to the coming withdrawal bills specifying deeper limits on U.S. "advisors" than the 20,000+ currently bandied about in the HR1591 bill.

6. Price could make a firm commitment that come this June the Iraqii's oil resources will not be pillaged by U.S. and other oil interests.

7. Price could firm up the language in HR1591 calling for "targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with global reach" targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with global reach". What does that mean? As now it's very open-ended. Price has the credentials to weigh in on this particular element.

There's many more of these type actions that shouldn't be either controversial or outside what he's already on record supporting that would advance the cause of getting out of Iraq and restoring some sanity to our national policy.

Well, I think the protesters who invaded David's office got all the possible publicity they could have hoped for. I don't know why the staff had them arrested, and it was certainly a bad idea, but I don't think they conferred with David before having the police act. Judge Coleman, happily, ended the show.

I often have wanted David to do this or that which wasn't done, but I have always found David to vote the right way (in my view) when the chips are down. He is not a fire brand but he has developed a careful and effective way that has brought him the respect of his colleagues and a leadership role on a important committee. (I pray he does something about the poor security at our airports and sea ports)

The congessional war (with Bush on Iraq) is adrift with proposals and plans that will not have as much impact as the growing disapproval of the president by the American people, reflected in polls even Senator Dole might begin to understand. Bush ain't budging until GOP like Our Lady of Salisbury lay the "NO" on him. The flurry of bills by Democrats and calls for immediate action are not doing much and, unbelievably, they are irritating the American people.

In his calm and deliberative way David is doing the right thing and I trust his decisions on when and what will end our disaster in Iraq. I'm glad to see students active and hope they feel good about their efforts to end the war.

Very well said, Mr Reeve. Those of us who taught legislative politics often wondered why anyone who researched and wrote about Congress would ever want to serve there. David is the exception that proves the rule, as he learned from his years of scholarly work that "workhorses" always get more done than the "show horses." His style earns him tremendous respect on both sides of the aisle and his reputation as a hard worker and one who keeps his word makes him an effective negotiator.

I would rather have more like David than a representative who would adopt Will's action plan, mainly because going against the party's leadership and their priorities and agenda is a sure way to negate whatever effectiveness they might have on the complex issues facing us. And don't forget what Woodrow Wilson, another legislative scholar, wrote: "Congress in committee is Congress at work." The "show horses" don't fare well in the committee environment.

Slow and steady wins the race, Fred?

3378 - coalition fatalities as of May 8th
26,188 - U.S. military injured requiring medical evacuation as of Feb. 3rd
9,200+ Iraqii security/police/civilian deaths since Jan. 1st, 2007
104 - U.S. military casualties in April

10-12 - hours troops on the ground conduct operations 7 days a week

"A considerable number of Soldiers and Marines are conducting combat operations everyday of the week, 10-12 hours per day seven days a week for months on end," wrote Col. Carl Castro and Maj. Dennis McGurk, both psychologists. "At no time in our military history have Soldiers or Marines been required to serve on the front line in any war for a period of 6-7 months."

And although U.S. casualties in Iraq are far lower than in the Vietnam War, for example, military experts say that Iraq can be a more stressful environment. In Vietnam, there were rear areas that were considered safe, but in Iraq there are no truly secure areas outside big bases. "The front in Iraq is any place not on a base camp" or a forward operating base, the report noted.

%30 - soldiers suffering mental problems leading, in some cases, to improper conduct:

longer deployments increased the risk of psychological problems; that the levels of mental problems was highest – some 30 percent – among troops involved in close combat; that more than a third of troops endorsed torture in certain situations; and that most would not turn in fellow service members for mistreating a civilian.

Christian Science Monitor

Are you really satisfied with "slow and steady"? When you're standing inside a burning house, you don't call your buddies for a consult to see which direction you should leap. You might call it show-boating, Fred, I call it leadership.

If I respond to your points Will, Ruby will say that I'm not keeping it local. I know whatever I say will not convince you what it takes to turn that institution in another direction even slightly. I also think I understand what one member can do leadership wise, and it's not your construct. Do the math: 435/2=218, AND THEN it has to go to the other chamber AND THEN it has to be veto proof. Like David, I've spent a lot of time trying to understand how to do that and it's just not as simple for David to do as you seem to think.

Just think about 9 council members and some of your proposals, and remember, they are unitary decision makers.

I never said it was easy. In fact, I know it's exceedingly difficult - even for 9 folks.

Having witnessed the arrest, I have to say I'm not all that pleased with these students continued mischaracterizations. It wasn't Rose who called the police, it was the property manager.

Those kids came in looking to get arrested. I think it is unfortunate that they don't even have the good sense to say, 'Thanks for trying to drop the charges, now would you mind trying a little harder?'

And I am disappointed that because DP isn't doing exactly what they want they think he's not representing his constituency.

And do y'all realize that a pissing contest dissuades comments from new blood?


I'm a big fan of civil disobedince if the protersters are serious about it. Gahndi spent a long streach in jail becouse he belived in justice. When Dr. King wrote his "Letter from the Birmgiham Jail" he was in jail. Thoruo (sp?) wrote the book "Civil Disobedince". He went to jail becouse he wouldn't pay taxes to fund the Mexican war. That Berrigan guy went to federal prison for denting up an F-15 down in Goldsboro. I have a lot of respect for that.

I don't have respect for four knuckelheads who interupted the UVA game in Chapel Hill and thought they should get off scott free. If a person really belives in thier issue, they willing accept that the act has a price; before they act. If Dr. King can risk sitting in Bull Conners jail I think the CH-9 can handle what Orange Co. is going to throw at them.

These kids wanted to be arrested, they didn't want to talk to Price (he wasn't even in town, which they knew), 'cause that's their "radical" schtick, which is fine, its a free country.

I'm glad David Price asked to drop the charges; he's a nicer guy than I would have been in the same circumstances.

I would have been happy to see them go to jail for a couple days, or at least get a fine, so they can see their actions have consequences.

If they wanted to be arrested, then obviously they knew their actions had consequences. A class 2 misdemeanor carries a maximum consequence of $500, which, if they were so inclined, they could have chosen not to pay and maybe gone to jail for a few days.

To my knowledge the SDS didn't ask anyone to drop any charges.

Democrats are slightly better than Republicans, but not much different, and despite what the media has been saying about the recent "withdrawal" bill, they aren't offering any real alternatives to Bush's policy. We're never withdrawing from Iraq without massive public pressure. If young men and women are willing to die for Bush's war crimes, just as many should be willing to spend a few days in a cell or pay a couple hundred dollars in fines to make trouble for members of Congress.

From what I can tell the SDS is one of the only groups doing anything effective in actually trying to STOP the fucking war. Nobody else seems to give a shit, as long as there's not immediate physical threat to their comfy, upper crust Orange County lifestyles.

Lots of us "give a shit," about this Iraq mess, we give "lots of shits," in fact and think about every day. But what can we do that actually helps end it, rather than just says "we don't like it?"

I just don't understand how protesting the office of a rep who himself WANTS TO END IT help end it? Why not protest Senators Dole or Burr? Or one of the GOP reps who support the President down the line, like Pat McHenry?

What do you expect Price to do?

Does SDS want him to throw himself in front of the troop transport planes so they can't take off? Physically restrain the President from signing the spending bill?

Tell us what is you want him to do!

If he WANTS TO END it, How about he can VOTE NO on bills funding the war? The SDS has said this in their press releases over and over again, that was their problem with Price, that, several times, he voted to fund the war.

Why don't you go protest at Dole's office? Oh you're too busy "thinking" about it every day. Personally I'm done trying to convince Republicans. Democrats have the power to enforce the War Powers act - why don't they?

Edwards says he's going to send the same toothless bill to Bush over and over again. Watch out Bush! You might just get another $124 billion to build huge embassies, permanent military bases, and a client government. But you have to withdraw a few "combat forces". Not all forces. We wouldn't want to be impolite in funding an illegal war of aggression. No that would be doing "radical shtick".

And hey Bush, go ahead and attack Iran if you want, we'll strip the requirement for you to get Congressional approval out of the bill.

Yeah! Go fightin' Dems! End that war!

Getting arrested is a TACTIC, in other words: of course people do it on purpose (in this case). Dropping charges is an effective counter tactic.

Price supporters: please accept that not everyone is going to see it your way. Just because people don't agree with your logic doesn't make them wrong.

Price detractors: just because they don't show it the same was as you doesn't mean your neighbors don't oppose the war as correctly as you do. You don't make many allies by insulting all of Orange County or the mostly-=progressive participant on this blog.

Everyone: these arguments are getting repetitive and we're not coming closer to any agreement or even understanding. Think about what you are doing.

I didn't mean to insult all of Orange County, I'm insulting liberals who, unlike my pro-war Bush-supporting friends, actually SEE how terrible the trajectory of our policy, but are just as reactionary with the finger-wagging as pro-war Republicans when a group of young kids who could just as safely stay in the bubble of life in an affluent community decide to give a damn enough and have the courage enough to do something about it.

Really, I should extend the insult to most of this country, but since were here on Orange County politics, I'm being specific. I'm tired of Democratic politicians getting a free pass for supporting the exact same horrific policy, the exact privitization of Iraq's energy resources, the exact looting of the treasury, who voted for the exact same war when millions of us saw how much of a lie it was, but it's okay when we criticize George Bush, because he's on the red team.

Ruby, you make a good point. While most people think about the radical hippies and liberals protesting, burning, chanting, sitting-in and such in the 1960s as the driving force behind the withdrawal from Vietnam (and it certainly was A force); it is when Joe Bagadonuts decides that we need to get out of Vietnam/Iraq and starts talking about it that things actually happen.

Which is why we are probably in a the best spot we have been to stop the escalation in Iraq and begin the pullout ASAP. I saw a poll that a majority oppose the President's veto and a majority support drawing down the troops starting immediately. That means that nearly all Democrats support it and that a significant number of Indys and/or Republicans also support it. More purple district Reps. will start to vote against the war and soon.

There was also a poll I saw on MSNBC that 36% of Americans favor impeachment. Again, many of us have supported that for years, but at 36% you are starting to get Joan Moderate talking about impeachment, which is when things start to happen.

As for the local war protesters, good for them, now I think they should go sit-in at Dole or Burr's office here or in D.C. Of course, they might not be treated as kindly as they were here in Chapel Hill, nor let off the hook so they will have to be serious about it.

My apologies, 39% support impeachment.

So...now we have further proof that the Democrats and Republicans are just branches of the same Ruling Party. What's new?

yes, we liberals see how bad it is, but what can we do? Some of you are very good at IDing the problem, but we already know its a problem and that lives are being lost every day.

And what can Price do as one rep? He is not the speaker or chair of Appropriations (he is on the committee) so he himself can only do so much.

Bush has us over a barrel here. Unless you advocate a revolutionary overthrow of the government, I don't see where we who oppose the war can do much except to try to elect a President in 2008 whose first task is to get us out.

36% favoring impeachment is huge. How did that happen? Handwringing quietly about a perceived inability to change things or some folks having the gumption to get out the door and make some noise about the Emperor's clothes?

Meanwhile, the blood drips while we wait for who? Obama? The Dem of choice for Republicans (the better packaged Lieberman type)? Hillary Warmonger?

36% for means 64% against or neutral. And I say fine, he deserves impeachment. But it ain't going to happen, he has only 1-1/2 left in office, by the time evidence was gathered, impeachment hearings held, if successful (very doubtful, you could only lose a few Democrats on the vote), then the trial, bound to lose, as 2/3 of the Senate is needed to convict. And by this time we have a new President anyway. So what is gained? And how, in any event, does talk of impeachment that help us get out of Iraq? Would President Cheney get us out?

On impeachment - it's a simple matter of upholding law. If we don't uphold the law then it becomes useless.

On the acumen of david Price in realizing his limitations and supporting a process that might eventually cause U.S. involvement to wind down a little bit - What about democracy? A majority of U.S. citizens want us out and now this:

Majority of Iraqi Lawmakers Now Reject Occupation
By Raed Jarrar and Joshua Holland

Wednesday 09 May 2007

More than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected for the first time on Tuesday the continuing occupation of their country. The US media ignored the story.
On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.

Yes Mark, we know what most Americans want, but George Bush won't do it, at least not yet, and Price can't do much more than he is now doing to try to end it. If it ends or winds downly substantially before the Bush Administration leaves office, it will be because of rebellious GOP members of Congress, almost all of whom have stood with the President, while almost all Dems, even more conservative ones, supported a timeline, but it ain't going to happen because of Bush.

So again, great diagnosis of the problem, but what can Price alone do? In fact, what can the Democratic caucus as a group of 233, even if 100% united, do with only a handful of GOP votes to override vetos (which needs 290 votes)? Nada. And Price has been against the war from the beginning and has been a forceful proponent of withdrawal of combat troops in a short period of time, no ifs and or buts. But there are not the votes in the Democratic caucus for this, although there are for timetables and benchmarks. Everything you want? No. Everything I want? No. But its something. Bush is still President and holds most of the cards.

When his own comes around, which appears to be happening more and more, it may change. Pressure should be on our state GOP congressmen (one of whom, Walter Jones Jr. is already on board), like Howard Coble, already making noises that he is not happy, plus the others still more or less true believers: Sue Myrick, Virginia Foxx, Pat McHenry, Robin Hayes and our 2 Senators. Therein lies the problem, not Price and the Democrats.

True, David Price did vote for the supplemental appropriations bill last Thursday, but so did just about every other Democratic member of the House of Representatives: only 10 voted against it and 2 of those were "Blue Dog" conservatives who voted against it because they thought it went too far, not that it didn't go far enough. That's 95%+ for it, an overwhelming consensus in the Democratic House caucus and I, for one, was happy that our rep was one of the 95%, not one of the 5%.

An example of something "simple" within Price's purview:

Federal intelligence agencies must provide Congress with a detailed report by April 2008 of all the private security contractors performing intelligence work for the U.S. government under an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Bill. The amendment was submitted Thursday by U.S. Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat, Barb Barrett reports.

The report would include specific programs and responsibilities of contractors, the justification for hiring private companies to do such work, and an estimate of the costs or savings of hiring private contractors for intelligence work.

“We want to know exactly what the government is asking contractors to do,” said Paul Cox, Price's spokesman. “We have serious concerns about prisoner interrogation, about private surveillance, about the transfer of prisoners between countries.”

N&O, May 10th, 2007

A good strong step towards reasserting Congressional oversight. Thank you David.

Now, may I suggest a few other amendments ;-)?

When Democrats were not in power in Congress, the mantra was "what can Democrats do, they are not in power'. Now they are in power in Congress and the mantra, from the weak kneed 'liberals' is " what can Democrats do they can be vetoed and they can't overide vetoes' ... well what Democrats can do to stop this war is to keep the President vetoing the Supplemental Appropriations bill by only passing a strong resolution that only provides for funding to withdraw from Iraq.

Funds to continue the war will cease to exist if: 1) the President continues to veto these Supplemental Appropriations bills that provide the funds that he needs to continue the war anyway or 2) The President never gets a bill that includes funds for the war period.

Currently, Congress, after each new veto, capitulates even further from an already unacceptable Supplemental Approriations bill the newest version of which is also unacceptable because it :

1) Continues to be the largest of seven Supplemental bills that have been passed by Congress since the war began,
2) Continues to fund an escalation of 30,000 troops in Iraq,
3) Continues to fund the continuing occupation of Iraq for at least another year (this time in instalments)
4) Continues to include benchmarks (the timetables in this version have been stripped), that are waivable by the President, for withdrawal of ‘combat troops' from Iraq.
5) Continues to include a benchmark that requires the enactment of a Hydrocarbon law by the government of Iraq. The Hydrocarbon law that the U.S. is pushing through the Iraqi government is a law that guarantees the privatization of trillions of dollars of Iraqi oil.

For more information on the hydrocarbon law visit:

* iraq's hydrocarbon law - in whose interests? (This one has a link to the actual law at the end of the press release)

* Will the Iraq Oil Bill Increase Violence in Iraq?

Representative Price was made aware of these issues during a meeting of Orange County Democrats Precinct chairs and him at his office on Friday, April 13, 2007.

His response to the hydrocarbon law issue was that the congressional Democrats were for a law that would assure equitable share of revenues from oil amongst iraqis and that they would not have past the Supplemental if it really was what I was claiming: in support of an iraqi bill that essentially guarantees an opening up of Iraq's oil reserves to foreign investment and control. I have backed my argument up with these articles since then and have not received a response from Representative David Price yet.

Last Thursday Represntative David Price voted in favor of the latest version of the Supplemental Appropriations bill.

That's very true Mark. Republicans came out in strong support of raising the minimum wage, pay-go, stem cell research, negotiated drug prices, lower student-loan interest rates, cutting oil subsidies, and tougher rules for lobbyists.

Sure, things are not happening as fast as some would like, but it has been four months and some good things have happened. Keep up the pressure and hopefully MORE good things will happen.

Mark, if you think you can build a consensus in this country around the views of 8 members of the House, please show me the way.

May: 52 coalition, 825+ Iraqii casualties so far.

Love stem cell research, lower student loan rates, tougher rules on lobbyist (though they're not really that much tougher), minimum wage improvements. etc. but I'd postpone every single one for a firm Iraqii withdrawal and aid plan. How does one calculate the loss of these lives versus these domestic benefits?

My experience is grounded in the Vietnam war - my response informed by the loss of friends and family, somewhat visceral - but even for the most "objective" of analyses there must be a tipping point.

For the Dems facilitating this war, what calculus are they using to determine their own tipping point?

I was thinking it might be smarter to build around the consensus of a majority of Americans.

That's a good question, but it also seems obvious. Almost all the Democrats are against the war, so any vote that continues the war is taken by them because they believe to do otherwise would result in their losing the next election. They are pushing for "timetables" because that is what they see as politically feasible. When they see withdrawal as politically feasible, they'll vote for it.

You/We can't change the reality, but what can change is the speed with which withdrawal/redeployment becomes politically feasible.

Mark, the majority of Americans support cutting off all funding for Iraq right now as you and eight House members do?

Please show me some evidence of that.


It is curious how dificult it is to find any poll that specifically adresses that question of supporting/not supporting cutting off funding to discontinue the war ... either way.

However, there are polls descriptive of the urgency that specific populations feel about the U.S. occupation of Iraq and getting out of there ASAP. And, we know that Congress, Constitutionally, effectively has a say in matters of war through its control of the purse strings.

Now, on the issue of the Iraq war (where 3,000+ U.S. Service people, untold numbers of U.S. hired mercenaries, and 650,000+ Iraqi civilians have died), which population's opinions matter most when you as a constituent make the decision of how to exist as a force that your Representative must recon with: World population opinion, Iraqi population opinion, U.S. Military population opinion, U.S. population opinion, or Congressional Democrats population opinion?

From what I understand of your logic, you have decided to take YOUR STAND based on how the U.S. population and the Congressional Democrats population feel on this issue.

Two ideas come to mind: Self-Fulfilling Prophesy and Lemmings.

U.S. citizens want this fiasco over asap. Polls - and the last election - reflect that. Surely we have the right to expect that our elected reps have the native intelligence to get it done.

If only we had had the same level of handwringing, foot-dragging, and prolonged debate on every detail of how to manage the armed forces when we were going IN to Iraq. We wouldn't even be there.

Sammy, "my stand" is that we 1) should have never been there to begin with and 2) we should begin withdrawing combat troops now and have them all out by the end of the year.

But it ain't going to happen. That is why the Democrats have to compromise.

Politics is compromise, whether you like it or not. Bush is still President and holds most of the cards. I don't like it but its reality. Perhaps you should learn to deal with this reality or else get out of electoral politics and move into the revolutionary arena with SDS.

And the tent flap slams shut...

Will, you and Mark and Sammy seem to be very good at defining the problem but your proposed "solutions" are not politically viable. And I for one am sorry they are not, because I agree with your solutions, at least most of them.

But whether or not you or I or Sammy or Mark like it, the Congress is NOT going to cut off funding for the occupation. No way, no how. And even if they did, Bush would find money to keep it going, even if he has to take it illegally. He has shown that legality means nothing to him, so why would he start being concerned about it now? Short of leading a coup d'etat, what do you propose that Price and the Democrats do?

You can wring your hands and carry signs and get arrested and do whatever, that ain't going to change anytime soon.

So Democrats must compromise. I know that is a dirty word to you, but that's politics.

Paul & Will,
I think that you're both right to a point. I think that we need people out there protesting and getting arrested and raising a ruckus. At the same time we have to accept that until we get them to a new place, the Dems in Congress are looking at a one-year or more timeline. Again, I think that greater exposure, more noise, will eventually push enough Americans to action that Congress will be forced to the same page as the rest of the country.

Perhaps I need to clarify that I see nothing wrong with protests, marches, sit-ins or any other direct action. It isn't my "MO" but I certainly won't tell others that they shouldn't do it, that's not my business.

In some situations, such as the civil rights movement, it was the ONLY way to bring about change, because blacks were locked out of the system, unable to vote or to otherwise participate in our system.

But this is not true of anti-war protestors of today and I question how effective protest marches, sit-ins, etc. are in convincing the broad middle of America, probably 60% of all voters, that we need change. Like Rodney Dangerfield in the old "Lite Beer" commercials, they feel strongly both ways about the Iraq occupation. Look at the widly different poll results that occur with subtle changes in the questions. For example, most voters want us out, but aren't willing to cut off funds.

Protests during Vietnam ultimately did not stop the war, it was only when the broad middle began to see the folly of it that things changed. In fact, I think one could make a good argument that the protests were counter-productive and "turned off" a lot of the broad middle.

Also consider that congressional opponents of the war had tried to cut off funds from 1968 on but did not suceed until 1973; in fact, they lost something like 35-40 votes in the Senate on defunding the war before they finally suceeded and that was only after Nixon had already decided to bring the troops home and was only symbolic at that point.

Paul, the difference between yesterday's Vietnam "conflict" and today's Iraqii war is just that - our leadership didn't have an example of how ridiculously off-beam our interventions can go when they entered into Vietnam (though one might argue Korea as a fairly accurate progenitor).

Remember the "Powell Doctrine"? It was formed in the crucible of Vietnam. Much of our pre-2001 foreign policy was informed by the lessons of Vietnam. Last I checked, the majority of both the House and Senate are more than old enough to remember the lessons of Vietnam.

Yet, here we are, horribly repeating to a much greater degree the same exact mistakes.

Same could be said for the Watergate and Iran-Contra abuse of power debacles.

The current Dem leadership has zero cover claiming they didn't know, they never anticipated, etc. In our lifetimes (at least yours and mine, Paul), we have had the lessons - but, it appears, our leadership missed their learnings.

Please don't trot out the failures of yesteryear (the '68 defunding vote) as justification for not taking action now.

I guess that I see every protest, every failed vote in the House, every Veto as a positive. I see anything that hammers Iraq and its failures into the minds of American people, while pushing Anne Nicole, American Idol, and the Weather Channel out of their consciousness, as a step towards the broad middle began to see the folly of it.



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