Protesting the Wars

The United States is the most powerful country in the world, and it chooses to use its power primarily to wage wars.
If the US was run by intelligent, caring people, and if its citizens were similarly nice, the US could spend billions of dollars on programs to help the world’s people, animals and environment.

Instead, the US spends billions of dollars on wars in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and the Philippines.

There?s a worldwide war on drugs that the US Drug Enforcement Administration is waging in at least 37 countries.

One of those countries is Canada, where DEA agents are investigating Canadian citizens, doing undercover stings, and co-opting Canadian police forces.

On July 29, the US pulled the strings on puppet police employed by the Vancouver police department, using Canadian cops to raid the offices and political headquarters of Canadian cannabis seed merchant Marc Emery.

Since then, it?s been interesting to see the worldwide cannabis community gradually realize that the US war on marijuana is globalized, and that nobody is safe.

People who believe marijuana is a good plant that should be legal are asking themselves how to stop the war.

Cindy SheehanCindy SheehanThey could take lessons from Cindy Sheehan.

Her son Casey Sheehan was an Eagle Scout, a devout Christian, an honor roll student, and a respected member of his community. He made the mistake of joining the US military in 2000. On April 4, 2004, his commanders sent the 24-year-old on a poorly-planned mission into central Iraq, where he was killed.

Casey?s mom is sad that her son died, especially because she and her son believed that President Bush, Tony Blair and other war advocates had deliberately lied about the threat Iraq posed to the world, and the reasons for going to war.

Sheehan says her son knew that the war wasn?t justified; she wanted to send him to Canada to keep him from engaging in the war. But Casey felt honor-bound to go fight, and now he?s dead, as are 2,000 other American soldiers and an estimated 110,000 Iraqis, most of them innocent women and children.

What does an American do when she believes her government is engages in war crimes? Does she write letters to congresspeople or newspapers? Does she take Prozac and go shopping?

Sheehan decided to do what founding fathers of the American Revolution said citizens had an obligation to do ? she went directly to the ?king? of the US ? George W. Bush ? and demanded that he answer questions about the war.

These questions should have been asked by the American journalists, but most of them are in bed with the Bush administration, and have forgotten how to ask tough questions.

Sheehan has asked the questions for them. She asks why American soldiers are still in Iraq, given that the war is based on false premises and is achieving nothing but senseless violence.
She asked why Bush can?t admit that he made a ?mistake? when he outlined the reasons for war.

She first went to the gates of Bush?s summer resort in Crawford, Texas on August 6th, camping out in a ditch, demanding to meet with the president. The Secret Service threatened to arrest her, claiming she was a danger to the president.

On August 6, 2001, President Bush read a confidential report titled ?Bin Laden determined to attack inside the United States.? The report outlined the 9/11 attacks. Bush and others in his administration had received similar warnings before. The warnings were ignored. After reading the Bin Laden report, Bush went on a fishing trip. A few weeks later, 3,000 people died.

This year, while Sheehan and an ever-increasing number of war protesters camp out in front of Bush?s resort in searing temperatures while the president takes a 5-week vacation, dozens of American soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Celeste ZappalaCeleste ZappalaAnother mother who is protesting alongside Sheehan in Crawford, Celeste Zappala, told reporters that her son Sherwood Baker was killed in April, 2004 in Baghdad while providing security for the Iraq Survey Group, an organization that was trying to find the weapons of mass destruction that Bush said existed in Iraq.

Zappala said that while her son was guarding the survey group, administration officials already knew that no weapons of mass destruction would be found, and that there had never been any there in the first place.

She said she was particularly angered that President Bush had made fun of the weapons issue during a joke routine at the sumptuous Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association banquet in Washington a few weeks before her son died.
During the scripted comedy routine, Bush showed staged photos of himself pretending to look for weapons of mass destruction in his White House offices. The president thought it was funny that nobody had found the weapons.

The president told reporters he doesn?t have time to meet people like Sheehan and Zappala. He said that even though there?s a war on and soldiers are dying, he has to take time to enjoy his life. So he did have time to go on a bike ride with bicycling hero Lance Armstrong. He had time to go hunting and fishing. He had time to go to political fundraising events. He had time to make pro-war speeches. He didn?t have time to meet with grieving mothers who lost sons in a war he started.

The Crawford protest site is attracting hundreds of people who disagree with American wars. It is also attracting people who support war. The throbbing pollution sounds of the ?Christian Motorcyclists Association? smothered the Crawford site as groups of war advocates gathered across the street from Sheehan and other war protesters.

?I don?t mean to sound ugly or anything, but it?s a volunteer military, and some people lose their lives and some come back, oh well,? one Bush supporter said, adding, ?our country is still the greatest in the world.?

A female Bush supporter who has no children in the military derided Sheehan, saying that ?Bush is a man of faith and he wouldn?t lie.?

Right-wing media brainwashers have attacked Sheehan viciously. Rush Limbaugh, who is still wondering if he will face charges related to his alleged prescription drug dealing and fraud in Florida, said that Sheehan?s complaints against the president are lies. Bill O?Reilly says Sheehan is a traitor.

Sheehan responds by asking all pro-war politicians and media hacks if they will volunteer their children to serve in the military in Iraq. She notes that none of the top members of the Bush administration have children at war in Iraq.

President Bush?s daughters couldn?t get in to the military if they wanted to, because they have a history of drug and alcohol abuse.

President Bush?s brother, Florida Governor Jebby Bush, has sons who could join the US military to fight in Iraq, but his sons haven?t volunteered yet.

Jebby?s daughter Noelle is disqualified from serving in the military because she has been known as a ?crackhead? and has done jail time on drug charges.

Bush supporters have fired guns at Sheehan and those gathered with her. One Bushite drove his truck over some white crosses place on the roadside near Bush?s ranch to commemorate dead soldiers.

The White House and its allies are creating anti-Sheehan advertisements while a pro-Bush television station in Utah has refused to run advertisements that promote Sheehan?s peace message, saying criticism of the war might offend the station?s Utah audience.

Elderly man being tasered by Pittsburg PoliceElderly man being tasered by Pittsburg PoliceIn Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Aug. 20, police used Tasers and attack dogs on elderly anti-war demonstrators. The Tasers and dogs were used even though the protesters were engaging in a peaceful demonstration.

Some marijuana advocates have decided to travel to Texas to join Sheehan, whose Crawford war protest site is now called ?Camp Casey.? They see the war in Iraq, the president?s callous disregard for death and sadness, and the lies about the Iraq war as similar to the lies and brutality that characterize the war on marijuana.

?It?s the same war, with different faces,? said Tom Simmons, a Montana marijuana user who was preparing to travel to Crawford to stand vigil with Sheehan. ?They lie about marijuana, they lie about Iraq. They invade countries. They trash the sovereignty of nations. They destroy people. My government has blood on its hands. It?s time to tell the president to his face. When he gets off his vacation and goes back to DC, we?re going to follow him.?

Simmons believes that it would be beneficial to set up a ?Camp Emery? outside the DEA offices in Vancouver and elsewhere in Canada and around the world.

?One thing that?s great about Camp Casey is that every time Bush and his people want to go somewhere by car, they have to go by Cindy and see the crosses,? Simmons said. ?I think that we need to do something similar, so that when DEA agents are going to and from their offices and their homes, we are there holding vigil for our war victims, telling the agents very directly that we intend to see war criminals eventually put on trial for their crimes against our culture.? Celeste Zappala