Antiwar sentiments in military bastion
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Feb 12 10:14:13 MST 2003
LA Times, February 12, 2003
DISPATCH FROM ALEXANDRIA, VA.
Federal Bastion Raises a Peace Flag
By David Lamb, Times Staff Writer
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- One day when historians scour old newspaper clips to
glean America's mood as war seemed to grow ever closer, the town meeting
here to discuss the possible invasion of Iraq may escape unnoticed — a
minor event that made no news, changed few minds and maybe wasn't even
representative of the nation as a whole.
But in an overflowing school auditorium Monday night, at a forum with
their congressman, a two-star Marine general and an assistant secretary
of Defense, the citizens of Alexandria spoke of overwhelming concerns
about war with Iraq, and particularly its aftermath. Their antiwar
sentiments sounded like those heard in France and Germany.
The message was surprising because Alexandria, across the Potomac River
from Washington, is on the front lines of the war on terror.
The Pentagon is nearby, and the federal court where charges against some
terrorists have been filed is located here. Six percent of Alexandria's
133,000 residents work for the Defense Department.
"When you say the Iraqi threat is imminent, what do you mean by imminent
— a month, a year, 10 years?" asked a Vietnam War veteran. "I woke up in
Tay Ninh one morning and half a North Vietnamese division was on our
doorstep. Now, that's a clear and present danger. But I don't believe
Saddam Hussein today presents a clear and present danger to the United
The audience — mostly middle-age professionals — broke into sustained
applause when the veteran said the nation was being led into war by men
who had never gone to war. He thundered off half a dozen names: "George
Bush, hawk, did not fulfill his National Guard duty; Dick Cheney, hawk,
did not serve; Paul Wolfowitz, hawk, did not serve; Richard Perle, hawk,
did not serve."
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