Tomorrow morning before dawn, three busloads of people from the North Fork will depart Riverhead for Washington, D.C. to attend a march for peace. I will be one of them.
The trip from the North Fork is being organized by North Fork People of Conscience. The group has been surprised by the response. Originally planning one bus, they hired a second when the first filled up in just a day. Now they've got three going.
People from every state in the union will be attending the rally and march, whose purpose is to send a message to Congress that American involvement in the war in Iraq must end.
It's been a very long time since I participated in any kind of a demonstration. The last time was, I think, at the U.N., in the early 1980s. I feel foolish to admit that I can't quite remember what it was about. El Salvador, I think. The debacle in the Middle East has inspired me. What a terrible mess. With no easy solutions. Perhaps no solutions at all. It's really very depressing. Hundreds of thousands of lives lost, a country in ruins, America disgraced. Our troops being used as pawns, not only in military warfare in an Iraqi civil war, but in political warfare at home. But, boy, does this sound familiar, as I'm old enough to remember Vietnam. Such a similar scenario. Except this one is actually far more dangerous, because of the powder keg that is the Middle East, and the potential for mass destruction.
Another 20,000 troops? Is that the answer? Not likely. As one of al-Qaeda's top commanders said this week, echoing the arrogant bravado of our own leader a few years back, "bring 'em on." He said we could send the whole army. It wouldn't matter. I think we should heed his warning. There are millions of people there who hate each other, but hate America even more. There is no "winning" this war. Bush, like Nixon decades ago, is casting "victory" as a matter of "honor," characterizing "supporting our troops" as supporting his war, painting people opposition to his war as unpatriotic.
Will this march accomplish anything? Who knows? But I feel compelled to attend, to stand up and join the chorus of Americans in protesting this administration's failed foreign policy and disastrous military initiatives in the Middle East. I can't, in good conscience, remain silent.