Five years in Iraq, 4,000 dead, 30,000 injured – and that’s just the American count…a war that’s costing taxpayers $5,000 every second (read this and weep) being paid with borrowed money. It’s enough to get people protesting in the streets…a student tipster wrote in yesterday from college:

My name’s Aviva Kushner, I am actually a student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and I just took part in an AMAZING, unbelievable, and inspiring walk-out/rally against the war. Thousands of students and faculty walked out of class at 1:23 PM and gathered at the Vietnam War Memorial to listen to speeches from Iraq veterans, Vietnam veterans, students who grew up in Iraq amidst warfare, mothers of killed soldiers, and more while news helicopters hovered over the scene.
From there, we marched down George Street and stopped at the intersection of George Street and Albany Street (one of the busiest intersections in New Brunswick) and sat down for five minutes in silence for the five years in Iraq. This caused a great deal of traffic, but most of the people who were stopped at the traffic lights didn’t honk, but instead got out of the cars, sat on their roofs and took pictures with their camera phones.

We garnered more support and followers along the route, eventually coming to the Marine Recruiting Offices of New Brunswick to voice our protest. The sit-down at the George/Albany intersection was the highlight of the day, a beautiful representation of all that is to be embraced by democracy. This is what democracy looks like.
As hundreds of students passed the Johnson & Johnson headquarters shouting anti-war slogans and making peace signs with their hands, employees gazed out of every window of the building clapping, smiling, and making peace signs of their own. Yes, traffic ensued, on Route 18 and on New Brunswick busy streets, but it was well worth the cause. Power to the people.

Aviva adds:“We protested at the Marine Recruiting Station for its use of unfair and dishonest tactics and use of Rutgers resources to recruit students to fight to maintain this occupation (we stand by service men and women, but demand full and honest disclosure while recruiting).”

44 replies on “Anti-War Rally Resonates At Rutgers”

  1. Nothing like harassing the Marine Recruiting Offices to protest the war.
    I thought those “against” the war, supported the troops?

  2. For me, democracy does not look like a bunch of well-fed college students and faculty sitting in an intersection, blocking traffic and feeling good about themselves.
    It looks like THIS.

  3. I’m with you, Prof. Good one. Although, let me state that the students have every right to protest as they see fit. I just wish they’d rally against the REAL enemy(ies).

  4. My firm compliments to thee for that one, prof.
    And was that a collective sigh of relief I heard from all the baristas that this slow news week (fortnight, I’d opine) is hastening to an end?
    But I don’t think democracy “looks like” a bunch of Rutgers students. It’s more likely to be found in your average Marine Corps or Army platoon. Recruits in the USMC, for example, are taught that there are no white Marines, no black Marines, no Latino Marines. Merely Marines in assorted shades of green.
    It was also funny to read Ms. Kushner write that she’d been transfixed by, among others, “students who grew up in Iraq amidst warfare.” Those, I can only assume, were Maronite and/or Chaldean Catholics subsequently forced out of Iraq by Islamist bigotry, or simply Muslims of assorted stripes who seem to have forgotten their countrymen’s large capacity for bloodily internecine, religious warfare.
    One last point: I doubt very much too many people sat on the “roofs” of their cars, whatever Aviva Kushner claims to the contrary.

  5. When I was a ‘hippie’ in college, a couple of friends and I played the Marine Corps hymn on kazoos for the two Marine Corp recruiters who had set up a table in the breezeway of our student union.
    They were very professional and never said anything to us we were just busting chops and being obnoxious. When I look back on that, I have to admit it was hysterically funny to us. I mean, who in there right mind would expect any students to show interest in the Marine Corps during the height of the Vietnam conflict. Probably half the male students were there for the II-S deferment anyway.
    You want to see some ‘real’ anti-war protest, just reinstate the ‘draft’. Oh baby then the fun will really start.

  6. Pork Roll, that the Marines sometimes take heavy casualties is to be ascribed to their bravery and commitment. It should not be tossed out merely as cynicism about their deeds or their deployment as per the wishes of the current C-in-C.
    Your post also missed the point about American’s Armed Forces in general. A point Barack Obama might suddenly have to bear in mind if he ever becomes President.
    MellonBrush, as a former draftee I’d quite happily support the reinstitution of the draft. Better national service of some sort for 2 years than, say, pursuit of a job at an investment bank.

  7. These Rutgers kids have it all wrong.
    If you want to get out of final exams, you hold your walkout rallies later in the spring.
    That’s one thing we got right in the 1960’s!

  8. National service sounds good. Perhaps ‘literacy tutoring’ in the inner city would be a good place to start.

  9. Dear God, even though I don’t believe in you, just in case please PLEASE do not bring back the 60s.

  10. There is already an exodus in process, actually, because of the fear of draft reinstatement. Even though we preach peace, we can’t seem to practice it.

  11. Anybody who joins the military because they think that what we are doing in Iraq is just, moral, ethical, legal, necessary and/or a sound policy decision is deluding themselves. Those people I don’t support.
    Contrary to what the militarists here might believe, armies are, at times, a necessary evil in human history. They are never something to be celebrated. Nor is mass killing. Nor is training our young men and women to regard all Arabs as “hajis” and to march to cadences that describe killing Muslim school children. And these same hypocrites here never complain about our chronically underfunded veteran’s programs do they? Of course not. No comment about recruitment commercials that flat out lie about the experience one can expect when they enlist. No. You rghties are all full of horseshit.
    And isn’t it fitting that the biggest Roman Catholic Church apologist on this site is also the biggest cheerleader for ths immoral war? This is what Jesus was about? Are you fucking kidding me? Over 2 million Iraqis have left the country, Catheter. Christian communities were largely protected by the Baathists. We created the conditions that have allowed fundamentalists to persecute them. And you talk about it as if it’s the Iraqis fault. You stupid, arrogant un-Christian asshole.
    Look at the fucking picture, Prof. A woman dressing in black from head to toe– the hallmark of a fundamentalist Islamic society! All you see is a purple finger? Iraq was a secular country before e went in. Now, no matter how long we stay and how much blood we spill, we will leave it a Shiite-dominated, fundamentalist country closely allied to, or controlled by, Iran. That’s what an Iraqi democracy means. Elections don’t make a democracy when you have to put every major population center in a country under military lock-down so people can vote without getting blown up. American democracy evolved out of a very particular set of religious, political, economic, cultural and intellectual circumstances. You can’t “bring it” to a foreign culture at the working end of an Abrams tank and think it will mean anything. Oh, but by all means, let’s keep sending our young men and women over there to kill and be killed for the sake of a bunch of failed theories and the vanity of people who can’t admit they were wrong.
    And who MM are the real enemies here? Al Qaeda? Sure. We let Bin Laden go at Tora Bora in Dec. of 2001 just so Bush can continue to use him as a propaganda tool. Then we invaded an Arab Muslim country that was no threat to us, and opened a new base of training and operations for Al Qaeda; now emboldened by our very presence there. Now we are allowing them to dictate the terms of this war by refusing to get out of Iraq. That’s a strategy only an enemy could love. And as Basra and Baghdad erupt again, Bush goes on TV to talk about the “progress” we are making. Bin Laden wanted US. forces out of Saudi Arabia, and Bush was happy to oblige him. After 9-11 we close ourbases there. Half of all foreign figters in Iraq are Saudis? No problem, let’s just keep buying their oil and selling them fighter planes. Halliburton wants to move its corporate headquaters off-shore so it doesn’t have to pay taxes? Fine. Here’s another billion-dollar, no-bid contract for you. So who’s the enemy here? Who’s borrowing money from the Chinese to occupy a country that doesn’t want us? Who can’t seem to capture or kill the leaders of the group that attacked us over 6 years ago? Who is letting Afghanistan slide back into the hands of the Taliban? The “central government” in Kabul– run by a former Chevron exec. incidently– has no control outside the capital.
    Who has reserved the right to open your mail, read your emails, listen to your conversations, enter your home and imprison you without probable cause just because they branded you a terrorist without any juducial confirmation or legal oversight of any kind?
    All of you people are out of your fucking minds.

  12. Am I the only one struck by the irony of otherwise conservative folks (generally against: the “nanny state”, compulsory this, mandatory that, all manner of the gubmint telling people how to live their lives) enthusiastically embracing the concept of compulsory (i.e., forced) “national service”, whatever that seems to mean?

  13. guido, way to cut through the crap. you should post more. but maybe with slightly less of the anglo-saxon influence.

  14. I just wish that, guido, you’d come out and tell us how you feel!
    The bravery and commitment of the men and women of the armed forces should never be called into question. And not just the Americans, by the way. The Brits, the Canadians, the Dutch, the Polish and yes, the French (their intelligence service has been far more effective than anyone else’s in this part of the world, with the possible exception of the Israeli Mossad) have all risked a great deal and shown great courage.
    But this is, I think, the wrong war. These men and women have been pushed into quicksand, and the sacrifices that they are being asked to make will not change the fact that Iraq is a mess and has always been a mess, and always will be a mess. That is sad, but it is not for America to fix — it is for the Iraqis. And if they don’t, that’s too bad. You cannot tell me that this is all about doing the right thing unless you want to say that we should have done the same in Rwanda, in the Sudan, in Liberia, in Uganda, in Nepal, in Myanmar, in Cambodia, in Haiti, and on and on and on. Of course america must determine where its interests lie, and then proceed. But if Iraq is that place, I am not seeing a benefit to America from this adventure. Where is the benefit? How are we safer?
    A purple finger means progress? Please. They vote in Cuba too, and that is some hotbed of democracy, isn’t it?
    Let’s face it. college students playing at communards is amusing and more than a little ridiculous. For most of these characters, its a nice warm up to a night of bonging and trying to get laid, and they don’t know or care about the particulars of global politics beyond a few trite phrases lifted from songs. But there are those in Washington who should know better, and who are banking on the decency and the integrity of these brave soldiers and marines to buttress an argument that doesn’t stand up to close examination.

  15. croiagusanam,
    Respectfully friend, my comments were appropriately focused and referred only to those who join the miliary specifically because they support Bush’s policy.
    Bravery and committment are not the issue here. Soldiers, once enlisted, don’t get to decide where and when to fight–they don’t make policy, they only execute it. But when someone signs up knowing they will likely go to Iraq, and if that’s OK with them, then I take exception to the honorable standard of supporting the troops. Now this would be different if there was a draft, and people didn’t have a say about whether or not to enlist. Frankly, I think that ought to be the case. National service (as long as there is a civilian option too) is a good idea. An “all volunteer” military sounds good rhetorically. It conjures up images of minutemen and the Greatest Generation, but in this day and age, it actually results in a military whose members are much more likely to support an aggressive, militaristic foreign policy. In this climate, “supporting the troops” becomes a slogan that the politicians who started the war hide behind whenever someone questions the wisdom of their decisions, or in this case, holds a protest.
    As for your comment that “they don’t know or care about the particulars of global politics beyond a few trite phrases lifted from songs”, I would counter that many pro-war posters here don’t know or care about the particulars of global politics beyond a few trite phrases lifted from Fox News. I exclude you from that pack, though.

  16. Fair enough on the trite phrases. My point really goes more to their age than to their viewpoints. College kids in general are an arrogant and condescending lot. and I say that as one who has raised a few, and been one too. So please don’t mistake my comments as a dismisal of their passion, only as a general comment on their knowledge of the issues.
    This issue of the military has been raised before. I think that your view of the all-volunteer military as being more apt to support incursions should be looked at more carefully. I think your average enlisted man may be full of piss and vinegar before the fact, because he’s 22 and thinks he’s made of steel. A brief exposure to the reality of war cures that very quickly, and most never want to see it again. However, and here is where their bravery comes in, they WILL if they have to. They will suck it up and walk into it because they have a sense of duty and integrity. This country, in my view, made its biggest mistake in treating Vietnam vets as though THEY were the bad guys. I’m glad to see that this is not the case, by and large, this time around. Though that picture of the guy jawing with the navy guy is a bit much.
    The biggest part of why I hate this war is because it takes advantage of the extraordinary courage and decency of these men and women, and those who prosecute it count on their basic goodness to underpin their interests — while they risk nothing, as usual. They don’t risk it now, and when it was their turn in 1968 they made sure that they didn’t risk it then , either.

  17. croiagusanam,
    Well put. I have, however, read that in the last decade and a half or so, the military population has been trending towards white, conservative Christians who happen to support foreign intervention. This is not to suggest that everyone in the military falls into this category. I know people who have served who certainly don’t.
    But it seems we agree that it is the politicians who generally risk nothing. At least with Vietnam, there was a broad, long- established political circumstance of which that war was a part. However tragic our involvement in Vietnam ended up being, it had a context. Iraq has no such context, other than that hastily and erroneously fabricated in the year before we invaded. Iraq wasn’t a “domino”. It was not under siege by a foreign entity hostile to our interests. It no ability to project power beyond its borders. And for those of us who were keeping track of the particulars in 2002, we knew it had no WMDs. The idea of liberating a country from itself seemed ridiculous then, as it appears tragic now. This (among other things) is what galls me the most: The political rhetoric surrounding the war is so vacuous, so full of slogans and false premises and faulty generalizations and mistaken conclusions that to even call it political rhetoric is generous. When scrutinized, it all falls apart and we can see it for what it always was: propaganda.
    Call me altruistic, but we ought to expect better from our representatives.

  18. Shame on them and their stupid ideals. Not one of these Rutgers students is smart enough to have an opinion.
    The world is flat until we sell them a $100 text book that tells them it’s not flat.
    Damn kids and their opinions.
    Where’s Don Imus to put these Rutgers students in their place when you need him.

  19. Nice rant, guido, but it was just a rant, as poorly reasoned as one would expect from the number of expletives. It was the rant of a child who takes no responsibility for the world as it is, or, more to the point, what should be done.
    In all the talk about getting the troops out now, does anyone consider the complete and utter betrayal of the Iraqi people our hasty exit would be? If you think America is hated now, wait until the bloodbath following our exit. That will truly be our shame.
    People sign up for the military for many reasons, as varied and complicated as human decisions often are. So who exactly are you directing your rant at, guido? Some fictional solider who exists only in your mind. All sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  20. After all the death and suffering I am amazed anyone would support the invasion and occupation of Iraq. We have failed as a country to do the right and moral thing. We are guilty and it is to our benefit that we recognize this. We should try to remember the dead, Iraqi and American. They didn’t need to die.

  21. “And who MM are the real enemies here?”
    The ones who make me feel afraid in my own country. Those enemies.

  22. Wallerdude:
    When do we reach the point where there won’t be a bloodbath when we leave Iraq?
    How will we know when we’e gotten to that point?
    What will it look like?
    How many more of our men & women will die before we get there?
    These aren’t idle questions. I’ve been grappling with them for several years. I don’t have any good answers.
    I hear a lot of “We have to finish the job” rhetoric from Cheney & his ilk, but they never define exactly what that means.
    My own, somewhat cynical, view is that there’s going to be a bloodbath whenever we leave, be it tomorrow or 50 years from tomorrow. We’re basically going to have to pick a moment when it looks like the bloodbath will be as small as possible, & then cut & run as fast as we can.
    I’d be glad to hear some arguments as to why it won’t happen that way.

  23. Do you ever get tired, laserdude, of beating yourself with that stick? If only you were in charge, we could inundate the Islamists with twaddle.

  24. If I knew the answers to those questions, crank, I’d tell you. I was not in favor of invading Iraq (the record shows that I did not vote in the Senate for the war resolution). I think Bush botched the occupation. But I also feel some responsibility to the country we invaded and some concern for our interests in the region. I don’t know if staying will only postpone the inevitable, but I don’t think we should leave until we’re pretty sure of it. It’s not good enough to say, “I wasn’t the one to elect Bush.” We elected him, and then we reelected him. Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno.

  25. “Sounds like fear is your enemy.”
    I guess you can say that about me, LM, after having been witness to an attack on our country (an unprovoked attack, I might add) on 9-11-01. Yeah, that might make someone fearful of certain things.
    Generally, though, I am not a fearful person. I take subways all over the 5 boroughs, day and night, never had any kind of problem. Before I met my fiance, I traveled to all kinds of places by myself.
    Since I refuse to live my life living like a frightened animal, that fear has now turned to anger. Whatever you think about the war in Iraq, all Americans lost something on that day.

  26. “Sounds like fear is your enemy.”
    I guess you can say that about me, LM, after having been witness to an attack on our country (an unprovoked attack, I might add) on 9-11-01. Yeah, that might make someone fearful of certain things.
    Generally, though, I am not a fearful person. I take subways all over the 5 boroughs, day and night, never had any kind of problem. Before I met my fiance, I traveled to all kinds of places by myself.
    Since I refuse to live my life like a frightened animal, that fear has now turned to anger. Whatever you think about the war in Iraq, all Americans lost something on that day.

  27. Walleroo,
    Betrayal? In poll after poll, “Iraqi people” tell us they don’t want us in their country. Over 80% of them say it’s OK to attack American soldiers. What the hell are you talking about?
    A bloodbath? What do you think has been going on in Iraq these last 5 years? The most conservative estimates indicate that 100,000 Iraqis have been killed. In a country the size of the U.S., that would translate to 1,200,000. 4 million Iraqis have been internally or externally displaced. Again, that would be 48 million Americans out of their homes. Your lame propaganda about “genocide” if we leave is utterly baseless.

  28. The latest estimate I’ve read shows 180,000 Iraqis killed in the last 5 years. (The Lancet studies that showed many more have been questioned, probably quite properly.)
    That still translates to 36,000 per year (assuming a more or less constant rate). From what I’ve read, Saddam killed approx. 30,000 per year to maintain his grip on the country. So all we’ve really accomplished is a shift in who’s killing whom. Which is exactly what I predicted 5 years ago.
    Small comfort in being able to say “I told you so.” Much harder to say what should come next.

  29. Um, MM, what does Iraq have to do with having been attacked by Al Queda? Remember, those were those Arabs, who got a free ride from the Taliban in Afghanistan with a little help from Pakistan. Iraq had nothing to do with the attack you mention. Al Queda does not believe the attack was unprovoked and claim our continuous meddling in their region – at the expense of Muslims – is the reason for their attacks. One does not have to agree with that point of view in order to understand it. The administration could have continued their efforts to find Bin Laden, stablize Afghanistan, and prevent Pakistan from becoming the mess it is, instead of fabricating reasons to take down Hussein. It was an arrogant, greedy and incredibly stupid move and we along with the Iraqis will pay dearly for this for many many years.

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