Antiwar sentiments in military bastion

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Feb 12 10:14:13 MST 2003

LA Times, February 12, 2003

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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