You want photos? I've got photos. I hope you
As promised, I attended the protests in Washington DC on Saturday, September 24
The short version; it was a freakshow.
But it was also an awful lot of fun, in a weird sort of way, and I advise anyone with such events taking place near then to do likewise and attend them. Heck, we had people on our side fly in from all around the country just to attend our counter-demonstration.
Although I've lived near Washington DC for over thirty-five years, I've never gone uptown for a protest or rally before. It's not that I'm any more political than I was, I think it's just the idea of being able to do a report and post photos on the Internet that makes it all more exciting and worthwhile. Because going without food, water, a bathroom, and trucking around on the DC metro all day surrounded by moonbats is not normally my idea of an exciting day. And C-Span does an excellent job of covering these events. But now of course the Internet has changed everything, so here goes.An Overview
I was with the counter-protesters all day, of course. From 10 - 1 we held a rally in front of the Navy Memorial. We had a little ceremony, a US Navy color guard came out and raised the flag, we did the pledge of allegiance (nowadays everyone shouts the "under god" part), and sang the Star Spangled Banner. Funny, but I rather doubt the lefties did those things during their opening ceremony.
Here are some of the signs we had ready for the lefties. I especially like the one on the right. It about says it all.The first Batch of Protesters
As we were holding forth, several bunches of anti-war protesters came up from the Navy Memorial Subway stop. We were ready for them with our own signs:
Among, them, however, was an infiltrator: a protest warrior:
He explained to me that their tactics were to march alongside or even with the anti-war protesters with signs of the sort you see above. If you don't read it carefully you might think he was one of them. I asked him if they ever caught on. "The hippies never get it" he said with a smile. He then marched off right with them. Now that's gutsie.
We had maybe 150 or so people come to our rally and counter-demonstration, as I think I got a count from one of the folks at FreeRepublic.com I'll check their site later for their post
Then we walked a block to the FBI building, where we also had a permit for the day. We had maybe a 100 yards or of space on the sidwalk beside the street, with maybe 50 feet or so between the street and the building. About 10 feet in from the street the city had erected a short fence as a barrier There was then a line of cops between the barrier and the street, where the leftie protesters marched by. The police were decked out in riot gear, just in case, and I swear all looked like NFL linebackers. Nobody was going to cross that
line. After it was all over I made a point of walking up to each group and thanking them, which they seemed to appreciate.
The protest march got to us at about 2:30 or so and lasted until after 5.Getting Ready
Just to be sure the protesters knew that they were going to face people with an opposing opinion, we had a little greeting for them:
The reference, of course, is to one of the organizers of the march, International ANSWER, or Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. ANSWER is a front group for the outright communist Workers World Party
, and if you don't believe me just take a look at their web page. Brian Becker
, a member of both ANSWER and the WWP, is profiled on David Horowitz' DiscoverTheNetwork.org
In addition to the sign, one of our people was stationed up front by these signs asking the protesters if they knew who organized their march, and explaining it in pretty clear terms just to be sure they got the picture.
Here's a better shot of the orange MOAB (Mother Of All Banners, which is what we tend to all call of these large ones) when we had it up over by the Navy Memorial. The moonbats were not pleased when they saw it. It 's pretty in-your-face, but they needed it. And as you can tell, I liked giving it to them.
Here we are, getting ready. I was standing about half-way down our section.
I forget where these two flew in from, but I really
liked their signs.
Here I am, flag and sign in hand. I didn't carry the sign most of the day, but handed it off to someone else.Marching Moonbats
Well, we thought
these guys were moonbats. Turned out, this first group were the ProtestWarriors
come the moonbats!
This was probably the strangest group to come by all day. They did a little dance for our benefit, and chanted something I couldn't understand.
The first of many Che Guevara and Socialist/Communist signs that I saw
The first of many Palestinian flags that I saw
This is about as thick as they got. They obviously had several thousands there, but nowhere near 100,000 people came by us.
This next one, of which I saw plenty also, is apparently the flag of Iraq. It's the old flag of Saddam, and as I recall the new government tied to come out with a new one but there were so many objections they went back to the old one. The embassy here in DC
shows the old one (I think) on their site. Here in a day or so I'll do more research, but in the meantime if someone can enlighten me I'd be indebted.
After seeing the same old stuff for awhile, it was easy to look bored, as the one guy does in the foreground of this photo. But notice the bullhorn a few people down
This is where the fun began.
The moonbats would shout at us, and we'd shout at them. They never seemed to understand that you can't outshout a bullhorn. I have to say that bringing them was genuis, probably born of experience.
We taunted them several ways; whenever they held up the "V" peace sign with their fingers, we'd do the same and all shout "Victory in Iraq! Victory in Iraq!", of course using the bullhorns to amplify the message. The protesters did not
like this coopting their symbol and usually put their hands down.
Of course we saw a lot of "impeach Bush" signs. Whenever we did, we'd say something like "Here comes another President Cheney supporter!" or some such. They really did not like this also.
We also liked to say that we worked for Halliburton, or owned Halliburton stock and it went up today, or some such similar thing.
Other things we'd should is "Saddam thanks you!" or "Al Jazeera thanks you!"
One thing they'd say is "did you serve?" "or "So will you sign up to fight?" We did have many veterans among us, so you can imagine what they said. As for me, who has never served, I responded by asking if they would then support the war if I did. When they answered no, I said "well then it doesn't really matter, does it?" To which they usually had no response.
(for any of you who actually think the "chickenhawk" argument is anything but completely specious, here's one of the best responses
I know, I know, you can say it's all somewhat juvenile. But who cares, it was fun and they deserved it.
And speaking of cheerleaders with a bullhorn, this guy was #1 on our side:
He's got on a "Commies aren't Cool" T-shirt. He was a riot, and happy as can be. One of his taunts was "gee, I thought you guys were all about peace, love, and understanding, but you look so angry!" And they did. Me? I laughed throughout most of the whole thing. It was just impossible to take these moonbats seriously (more on all that later)
Most of their signs were so stupid and predictable that you couldn't take them seriously. This one, however, kind of got on my nerves. Who the hell did these people think were were doing in Iraq? We do what we do just so the Iraqis can have their country back from a genocidal maniac. Oh, but they think we're there to steal their oil. Have they checked gas prices recently? GrrrrrThe Ride Home
I took the metrorail, and as you may suspect was pretty out numbered most of the time. Many people, of course, were just going about their daily business, probably wondering what in the world was going on. We had several tourists come by during the day, and asked us what it was all about. "Now you're got a real Washington DC story to take home with you!" I'd say after explaining what was going on.
On the subway it was pretty obvious that I was in town to take part in the counter-demonstration, as virtually none of the lefties had American flags, and there I was, carrying a 6 foot flag, a "Freedom isn't Free" and "Keep the Promise to Iraq" button on my shirt. But altough I got some mean looks almost no one said anything.
Except one guy.
I was on the escallator going down at one of the stations where you change lines, and there was a 20 something guy in front of me who had long hair and let's just say didn't exactly look like your stereotypical conservative.
"Were you at the protest?" he asked.
"Sort of" I cautiously answered, not volunteering more. I had made a decision that I was not going to get into a debate or discussion with any of the anti-war protesters.
"You were at the counter-protest?" he continued.
"Good!" he said, and put out his hand to shake mine. "I'm glad. And you know, there are a lot more of us on your side than you think." (I paraphrase from memory)
That'll teach me
not to stereotype.
And I should know better by now. I've had enough experience with this in life that I've encountered people many times who are exactly the opposite of the stereotype of how someone "should" look. On our side at the Saturday rally, and in fact with us every Friday night outside of Walter Reed, are guys with long hair, beards, etc.
In my defense I can say that I was very much "on guard", and all that. Nevertheless, it was an important reminderFinal Thoughts
While the lefties were marching by, a newspaper reporter from the Afro American Newspapers
asked me if I'd speak with him. I said sure, and he asked very straight questions so I obliged him for about 5-10 minutes. I'll tell you what I told him.
No I do not think that the leftie moonbat marchers, or the organizers, represent the majority of Americans who oppose this war (At least, I hope they don't, but the Democrats are drifting more and more leftward, but that's another post).
A reasonable case could be made for opposing the war in Iraq. A reasonable case can be made the the Bush Administration et all has screwed up some of the occupation. I disagree with them, but that's not the point here. The people in this march, and their organizers, are the kook fringe, and need to be exposed as such. Newspapers such as the Washington Post almost never mention the true politics of ANSWER or Code Pink. So someone has to do it, and bloggers like me are going to shame the msm into reporting it.
He asked me about WMD, and I told him look, almost everyone thought there was WMD in Iraq. The debate before the war was not over whether there was WMD, but what to do about it. To say that "Bush Lied!" puts you on the kook fringe.
There you have it, at least the brief version. You can read my complete thoughts on the matter here
, if you care.Update
I added a photo, so go back up and find "Thank You For Protesting My Freedom". It about says it all, I think.
The Political Teen
has video of Cindy Sheehan's speech earlier that day. Watch for two things; who is standing beside her desperately trying to stay relevant, and listen to the crowd's reaction after she says what other countries
should not do.Global Cop
has some good photos of the protest march and the pro-America rally where I was at.Instapundit
has more links. But you knew that already.Do the Organizers Matter?
I actually saw a few people marching who had half-reasonable signs. One guy in particular I remember, he had a very wordy sign that said in effect "I am a moderate, I don't oppose all wars, just this one". I called to him and got his attention.
I asked, "you seem like a reasonable guy. Why are you marching with this crowd
? Do you know who organized this march?"
He indicated that yes, he knew who the organizers were. I forget his exact words, but they were to the effect that it did not matter to him who sponsored it. He went on his way.
While his intentions may have been good, he is morally confused on this issue. It does matter
who organizes and sponsors events. If you don't believe me, consider this; if you learned that the organizers of a "pro-troops" (or similar) rally were secretly members of the KKK, would you attend?
I didn't think so.Update II
United for Peace and Justice was one of the sponsors of the "anti-war March. UPJ is an umbrella group made up of many organizations. If you go to the Members section of their web page
here are some of the groups that they have listed and have links to:
Communist Party - Maryland (MD)
Communist Party - New York (NY)
Communist Party- Central Indiana (IN)
Communist Party USA
Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition-CT Chapter (CT ("Right of return" is a call for the destruction of Israel)
Young Communist League, USA (NY)
Communist Party of Vietnam (Vietnam)
Just so we're clear on who these people are who organize these "anti-war" protests.