Hundreds protest Iraq war at Bush speech in Louisville

Fred Feldman ffeldman at
Sat Nov 2 23:05:01 MST 2002

This report from the Louisville, Kentucky Courier Journal is an indication
that the momentum of  the October 26 is being felt.  I have also noted that
there is a tendency for the consistency and clarity of antiwar positions to
increase and become more unconditional.  Calls to "send in the inspectors"
or suggestions that "multilateral" or UN Security Council-endorsed war might
be acceptable, which were still to be heard at protests around the September
11 period,  are disappearing.  (The fact that UN Chief Inspector Hans Blix
is so submissive to US wishes has probably helped clarify things for a few

 Even the more patriotic expressions are becoming more consistently antiwar
and recognizing the "other side's" rights and standpoint.  Note for instance
the comment that "If we launched an unprovoked attack on Iraq...[w]e will be
giving them the right of self-defense."  While the speaker  unintentionally
offers Washington the option of engineering a "provoked" attack on Iraq, he
is also thinking about that country's sovereign rights, a concept that is
verboten in the mainstream debate.  This is how "defeatism" and
identification with the Vietnamese people began for some in the 1960s. (Also
note that support for liberal candidates played no open part in the
protests, even though Bush was campaigning for a Republican candidate.)

The development of the protests has certainly vindicated my decision to set
aside my own sectarian twitches (and also my own legitimate concerns about
certain questions) and get into the action.  More action, and not more
kvetching about ANSWER, the RCP or any group that has been organizing
actions, is what is needed to further the prospects for united, broad and
powerful actions against the war (the war that is going on now and the
bigger war that is still being determinedly,  aggressively and
systematically prepared by Washington).
Fred Feldman

Louisville Courier-Journal (Kentucky)
November 2, 2002

300 Protest Outside Bush Rally, Challenge Policy on Iraq

by Michael A. Lindenberger

About 300 people protested during President Bush's visit to Louisville
yesterday, challenging his policy on Iraq.

The protesters chanted anti-war slogans, carried signs and beat drums, as
thousands of others waited to be admitted to the Kentucky International
Convention Center for the president's speech.

Alicia Smiley, a police department spokeswoman, said a suspicious package
found in the protest area was taken aside and detonated. She said
authorities couldn't determine what had been in the package but that it
wasn't anything harmful.

Carol Ralph, 57, of Louisville, was one of those protesting. ''We don't want
to go to war,'' Ralph said.

Police arrested six protesters just before 6 p.m. Mounted officers waded
into the crowd attempting to push them back into the designated protest
area, and some who were slow to respond were arrested.

The names of those arrested were not immediately released, but Louisville
police Maj. Don Burbrink said the six likely would face charges of failure
to disperse.

Inside the convention center, Bush urged support for U.S. Rep. Anne Northup
in her 3rd District re-election campaign in Kentucky against Democrat Jack
Conway, and for Mike Sodrel, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Baron Hill in
Southern Indiana's 9th District.

Few protesters showed support for any candidates and focused almost
exclusively on Bush's Iraq policy.

''The U.S. does not attack other people,'' said Bob Buhts, 60, of Prospect.
''For the president to take such a position is disgusting.''

Sister Miriam Corcoran, of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, said the
arrests struck her as un-American. But she said the bigger issue at the
protest was making it known that opposition to the president's policies
regarding Iraq was growing.

''There have been protests all over the country and all over the world,''
she said. ''Tens of thousands of people have spoken out on this war.''

In Washington this week, 100,000 people participated in protests against a
war with Iraq.

But for some young visitors to Louisville, the presence of the protesters
prompted them to mount a small counterprotest.

Some FFA members, in town for their national convention, saw the protesters,
went back to their hotel rooms to find American flags and returned to the
scene to silently challenge the protesters' messages.

Roger Turner Jr., 18, of Fulks Run, Va., held a flag with two of his
friends. He said Bush is right about Iraq and other issues.

''My dad fought in Vietnam, and I have never seen anything like this,'' he
said, pointing to the protest. ''There's nothing like a lack of support for
your country.''

But next to a sign that read, ''Peace IS patriotic,'' Louisville builder Sam
Avery said he worried that an attack on Iraq would make America more, not
less, vulnerable to terrorists.

''If we launched an unprovoked attack against Iraq, it will be seen as an
attack on the Arab world,'' he said. ''We will be giving them the right to
self-defense, and we can expect terrorism on a regular basis.''

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