Peace Demonstrations Break Out as War With Iraq Looms Closer With PM-Gulf Rdp, Bjt
Undated (AP) _ Young men sought advice on staying out of the military and soldiers’ parents pleaded for peace as the failure of the U.S.-Iraqi talks in Geneva brought the nation closer to war.
Anti-war rallies also took place around the country Wednesday, and participants spoke of a new sense of urgency in the wake of the failed talks, seen by some as the last, best hope for peace.
The United Nations has given Iraq until Tuesday to pull out of Kuwait or risk attack, and President Bush has asked Congress for a resolution supporting a war.
″Every American out there must rise up to bring pressure to bear in the next 24, 36, 48 hours on his or her congressperson and make sure they understand where the people stand,″ said Rep. Major Owens, D-New York, who added that he opposes the use of force in the Middle East.
Sen. David Pryor, D-Ark., said he is concerned that support for war is building in the wake of the failed talks between Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz.
″I think we need to exhaust every option before we start sending the first body bag back,″ he said.
″The best support we can offer our troops is to bring them back alive and well,″ Adelita Medina of the Military Families Support Network told an anti- war rally in New York City.
″People are really afraid,″ said Scott Weinstein, 33, a nurse and peace activist in Gainesville, Fla. ″They’re afraid of sacrificing their kids.″
Ray Parrish of Chicago, a peace activist who heads the Midwest Committee for Military Counseling, said inquiries about about staying out of the military rose sharply Wednesday. ″We usually get five to 10 calls a month for advice on military cases. We got 20 today,″ he said.
At Ohio State University, more than 1,000 students stood in a cold rain and chanted, ″Hell no, we won’t go,″ in a scene reminiscent of Vietnam War protests. ″This is the ’60s all over again,″ said Shelly Wright, one of the demonstrators.
Among the rally’s speakers was Gov. Richard Celeste’s wife, Dagmar. ″I’ve given birth to six children, all Americans, and no child of mine will ever fight for this country or any other country if I have anything to say about it,″ she said.
Not everyone who spoke out was opposed to war with Iraq.
″I’m not saying that I advocate war. But the president is the commander in chief,″ Tom Jordens of Neosho, Wisc., told a state Assembly hearing in Madison that was attended by about 1,000 people. ″I’m a father with two sons there. I don’t want anything to happen to them. But I’m proud they’re there and I back my boys.″
Some expressed hope that war can still be avoided.
″I’m praying a lot and holding out for hope, because it’s not lost,″ said Lynn Trussell of Hinesville, Ga. Her boyfriend, Sgt. 1st Class Bruce Byrd, is stationed in the Persian Gulf, and she said she spent Wednesday watching reports of the peace efforts on television.