Anti-war march draws thousands

Growing dissatisfaction with Bush’s war on Iraq took center stage Saturday in Washington, D.C. It was one of the largest and most vocal anti-war demonstrations to date.

A crowd that some estimated from 30,000 to 100,000 gathered before the Washington Monument to hear dozens of speakers, including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, presidential candidate Al Sharpton and Susan Sherman, a member of Military Families Speak Out.

The speakers denounced the administration’s decision to attack Iraq while addressing various aspects of the war.

“As more troops start to come home in body bags, more and more people don’t know what we’re doing there,” said Bill Hackwell, spokesman for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, which helped organize the march along with United for Peace and Justice, another advocacy group.

A majority of the protesters believed that the Bush White House lied to Americans about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and steered the United States into an unjustified war, propelled by oil and imperialist goals in the Mideast.

Like many of those in the crowd, Philip Booth, who rode a bus all night to get there, called for impeachment of the president, saying Bush violated his oath by lying to the public.

Richard Kaziny, from Chicago, voiced anger at what he saw as the administration’s manipulation of intelligence data on Saddam Hussein and his potential threat to American security.

“This country was in no danger from Iraq,” Kaziny said. “It was just a made-up fairy tale of an excuse for war for oil and business interests.”

March organizers were pushing for the administration to “Bring the Troops Home Now.” A spokesman for United for Peace and Justice, Bill Dobbs, said that was the theme of the event.

“That is the rallying cry,” he said. “Exactly how that happens is going to require some level of international cooperation.”

Many of those at the rally rejected the assertion that what they were doing in criticizing the Bush policies is unpatriotic.

“We’re the real patriots,” said Rev. Al Sharpton. “We want to stop the misuse of American lies in Iraq.”

Sharpton also urged Congress not to grant the president’s demand for more money to rebuild Iraq. “Don’t give Bush $87 billion,” he said. “Don’t give him 87 cents.”

There is a growing groundswell of anti-Bush sentiment in the aftermath of disclosures that spurious information was used to propel this country into war with Iraq.

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