Protest in D.C. January 27, you’re invited

Chris Kok

Almost 3,000 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead, and millions of Americans are sick of it. Just when does it become a civil war?

Recently, media outlets have begun to call the violence in Iraq a civil war, though President Bush disagrees with that sentiment. Apparently Bush would prefer to call it a sharp rise in the number of violent crimes committed in Iraq. Either way, this slog is getting to be too much of a mess for Americans to deal with any longer.

Too many people have died as a result of this war. In October, the Lancet, a medical journal, estimated that 655,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the 2003 invasion. Recently, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said that the situation in Iraq is worse than if the country was still under the control of Saddam Hussein. This past weekend nine more soldiers died in Iraq, bringing the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in this quagmire to 2,900.

This situation is out of control, and the people of the United States realize this. Last month, they went to the voting booths not to elect Democrats, but to kick out Republicans. The election was a sign that this war will not be tolerated much longer.

So, what have the Democrats done since winning the elections? Well, they have already said that they do not want to stop the war. The closest they have come to that is a phased withdrawal that would leave U.S. soldiers in middle of this civil war for years to come. The Democrats are angrier with Bush’s handling of the war than they are at the war itself. But the Democrats will not stop this war, so it is up to the people of the country to stop it.

The anti-war movement has begun to rear its head after being put to sleep by the election campaigns. Reliance on the Democratic Party kept much of the movement quiet, but now anti-war voices are being heard. These are not the “anti-war” voices that would prefer a war in Iran to the war in Iraq. Instead these are the anti-war voices that are demanding “troops out now!”

This past weekend, 400 people turned out in the chilly weather in Cleveland to protest the war. This protest was organized by U.S. Labor Against the War. This is the sort of action that is needed. People need to take to the streets in order to make change; voting hasn’t worked.

United for Peace and Justice has recently called for a national protest in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 27. As with past national protests, this event is likely to attract hundreds of thousands of protesters.

This is something that Kent State students need to be a part of. Currently, the Kent State Anti-War Committee and the Kent branch of the International Socialist Organization are working to organize rides to D.C. for this protest. Anyone interested in going to the protest can call Jackie Bleak at (614) 946-2018. I encourage every student on this campus who is against the war to go to this protest.

National protests are not the only action needed. We also need local organizing to build the base of the anti-war movement. All students who are sick of this debacle in Iraq should get involved in local anti-war groups such as the Kent State Anti-War Committee or Portage Peace.

Chris Kok is a senior political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].