Stateside

March on the Pentagon

Based on news reports and video, a few observations on Saturday’s antiwar “March on the Pentagon,” which I was privileged to miss:

–Bitterly cold weather apparently kept the turnout down. But for the first time I can remember, there were reports of thousands of counter-demonstrators (largely military vets and family members of soldiers in Iraq) along the route.

The vets turned both sides of Constitution into a bitter, charged gantlet for the war protesters. “Jihadists!” some vets screamed. “You’re brain-dead!” Others chanted, “Workers World traitors must hang!” — a reference to the Communist newspaper. Some broke into “The Star-Spangled Banner” as war protesters sought to hand out pamphlets.

“Bunch of hooligans in motorcycle jackets!” one war protester shot back.

Actually the reference was to the quasi-Stalinist Workers World Party, for which ANSWER, the main organizer of the march, was once a front group.

In some past antiwar rallies, the number of counter-demonstrators has ranged from a handful to a few hundred. “Our side got apathetic,” said Debby Lee, whose son Marc, a Navy SEAL, was killed in Iraq and who came to the rally from Phoenix in a caravan organized by MoveAmericaForward.org.

But the war protesters have gone too far, Lee and others said. At a Jan. 27 antiwar rally, some protesters spray-painted the pavement on a Capitol terrace. Others crowned the Lone Sailor statue at the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue with a pink tiara that had “Women for Peace” written across it.

Word of those incidents ricocheted around the Internet.

“That was the real catalyst, right there,” said Navy veteran Larry Bailey. “They showed they were willing to desecrate something that’s sacred to the American soul.”

And no, I don’t agree that every (or any) protestor was a traitor who deserves to hang.

–To the credit of some marchers, there were American flags in the crowd (obviously not supplied by ANSWER) as well as the usual Palestinian flags.

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What would happen if someone tried to carry a Union Jack in a Stop the War demo in the UK?

–When and why did drumming become de rigueur at antiwar marches? And is there anything we can do to stop it?

–Why are people still wasting time trying to free Mumia Abu-Jamal? Hell, even Michael Moore said he was probably guilty before he changed his mind. Surely there are others on death row more deserving of support than he is.

–Is there anything in the world less menacing than a line of middle-class anarchists with their adorable little facemasks and their darling little shields?

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And can anyone tell me what they’re chanting starting at 4:08?

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