End the War.

Sunday, upwards of 20,000 to 30,000 people are expected in downtown Portland for a rally against the war. From Willamette Week:

The rally and march will take place Sunday, March 18, in the South Park Blocks at Southwest Madison Street and Park Avenue. The "action camp" runs from noon to 5 pm and the rally from 1:30 to 2:15 pm, followed by the march through downtown Portland.

And unlike so many large-scale public protests, the organizers this year hope to translate on-the-street energy into direct political action:

In addition to the tightly focused message, there will be "action tents" to give everyone something concrete to do. Kids can make peace art. Voters can write letters and be trained how to lobby politicians. And people can sign up to be trained for future acts of civil disobedience.

Rally organizers are also working very closely with the Portland Police - and it seems that everyone wants the event to happen peacefully. From the Oregonian:

March organizers are doing their part. They have identified at least 40 people to serve as "Peacekeepers." They've been practicing, learning how to respond to potential problems. They'll wear yellow shirts and work closely with police.

"Protests and peacekeeping go hand-in-hand," said Joe Keating, who is heading up security for the march. Keating is a 64-year-old environmentalist who ran as the Pacific Green Party's nominee for governor a year ago.

Before and after the march, use this space to discuss.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Hope this doesn't become another one of those catch-all demonstrations where everyone from the "Mothers of Sicily" to the "Grey Panthers" touts their issues because it's somehow loosely related to peace and justice. These so-called "peace" coalitions just dilute the effort and keep potential supporters away from the march as being some kind of a radical love fest.

  • gt (unverified)

    How irresponsible. Let's just pack up and leave! What is that going to say about the credibility of the U.S? Would you guys have advocated we pack up and leave from Japan and Germany during WW2, too? What about Vietnam? Oh wait, yeah, I think the Dumbocrats did end that war and we left prematurely. You think the situation is bad now, after we leave there will be a power vacuum and even more people will die as a result. Shame on you for your limited and closed view.

  • (Show?)

    We had a reason to be in Germany. We were never in Japan. It's clear how ruinous it was to leave Vietnam so late, after another 20,000 soldiers had died needlessly. Let's not make the same mistake.

    We have no business in Iraq, and cannot improve the situation, only make it worse.

  • glenlivid (unverified)

    Sounds great! I love the addition of the "action camp", and how thoroughly organized this whole event sounds. I would expect a big turnout, as "Fully six in 10 Americans want U.S. troops home within a year". The anger and disgust for this war is growing, and unfortunately, nobody seems to be noticing.

    I guess everyone needs to be reminded of the gross deception that was perpetrated against all Americans to bring us into this quagmire. I guess people need to be reminded of how little this administration thinks of the very people that fund their policies. They don't care about the average taxpayer; not one bit. You are simply servile masses meant to hand over your money and shut your mouths.

    Tomorrow, you don't have to be quiet, and you are expected to be angry.

  • gt (unverified)

    If we are going to be the sole superpower, then we have a responsibility to be everywhere we can in order to maintain order around the world. Do you think the toothless and spineless U.N. can keep the peace? Of course not. They always call on the U.S. and the other countries are weak lazy and stupid when it comes to military prowess. I know some people who work for Mercy Corps, Medical Teams and USAid. The situation isn't as bleak as our liberal media makes it out to be. There are farmers and shopkeepers who are much more successful than they ever dreamed to be under the Saddam Hussein regime. And now the dumbocrats want to put a stop to it all and become isolationist. Well they are anti-military pro-UN and anti-US. They want us to be spineless and toothless like the other countries are.

  • Hawthorne (unverified)


    If you need a ride a recruiting station, let me know. I'd be happy to help a brave patriot such as yourself put his money where his mouth is.

  • gt (unverified)

    Sure, I'll sign up! My ancestors were patriots in the revolutionary war, I even have a membership in SAR and DAR - my dad was in the Vietnam War and my grandfater in WWII and my great-great-grandfather in WWI. I might be "too old" (31) and my vision kind of sucks (20/80 in one eye and (20/200 in the other one) but they might take me.

  • radio pluto (unverified)


    There taking folks up to 35 these days, so you're in. And I'm sure you can study for the vision test to make sure they accept you.

    They need recruits badly right about now so you're timing is good to continue your family's tradition.

    Unless you're gay, of course. We wouldn't want to do anything immoral, would we, like sending off a gay soldier to shoot people?

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    Hope this doesn't become another one of those catch-all demonstrations...some kind of a radical love fest.

    Ah yes. The old conflict between grassroots action and top-down commandments, between energetic democracy and the folks scared of finding themselves "tarred" by the presence of Dykes on Bikes.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    The last anti-war rally I attended was probably in 1970, after several years of attending them in Oregon and even in Washington,D.C. and elsewhere. I kind of gave up on protest marches and rallies as an effective form of political action. But I'm going to be down there Sunday, even though the day promises to be a good one for gardening.

    It's no time to be cynical about these kinds of things. We have Democrats in control of Congress, but they seem to be unsure the public will support a quick end to the war in Iraq. It's up to us to show them the public is way ahead of them on this issue. Let's get 50,000 people down to the park blocks tomorrow--and then follow up with lobbying.

  • Joe12Pack (unverified)

    No, I think you can enlist in todays Army prior to your 43rd birthday. Be sure to write from Iraq, GT. I'd join you, but I already served.

    torridjoe, I think many a WWII veteran would strongly disagree with the notion that "We were never in Japan."

  • gl (unverified)

    Japan proper? When?

    Aug 15 1945

  • Charles Paugh (unverified)

    I'm just glad to see that this rally is getting the attention across the state and nation that it deserves, however Portland still needs to address problems facing veterans who ARE returning home to Oregon.

    In February 2006, my partner and I moved to Portland from Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso TX after he completed five years service as a Psychiatric Medic helping heal those with combat related mental illness. As a gay couple, we did not have as difficult time with our sexuality and his position in the Army as we had with coming to Portland and him being accepted as a war veteran.

    We've faced a great deal more institutionalized prejudice in Portland than personal prejudice, and it was quite unexpected. When we went looking for an apartment, most would not consider his Army disability payments as income to qualify for housing. Potential landlords, police on the street, and business managers give him a look of contempt when they see a 22 year old walk by with a cane as if to sneer and say, "You don't really need that," not realizing he lost use of 40% of his hip in the Army. The State of Oregon does not recognize ANY military training as valid training toward licensing and certification for any fields requiring a license in the state -- in his case psychiatric technician (we even encountered a US Marine certified welder with 12 years service in the military who the state of Oregon would not allow to work as a welder because his training was not from a technical college.) When we first arrived with my partner still holding an active duty military ID until April 2006, only ONE Portland area museum / cultural center would honor him with a military discount (the Japanese Gardens) with the Portland Art Museum going as far as to say, "Why would we give a military discount? Its just another job" -- it is to be noted that Portland is the ONLY city we've ever lived or visited that's cultural attractions did not either give free or discounted admission to active duty soldiers. My partner applied for many jobs upon our arrival in Portland, and he was categorically denied a job almost everywhere he went looking with lines of questioning about his "mental state" after being involved with Iraq indicating a hidden reluctance on the part of Portland employers to hire veterans of the Iraq war.

    The example of my partner is not an isolated one. We moved to Portland with two other friends (heterosexuals) who were honorably discharged from the Army at Ft. Bliss during the same time period as my partner. They encountered the same bias within Portland as my partner choosing to move to Gresham to avoid the prejudice. We wrote to the mayor's office about the issue, and we received a letter stating that this was a matter that the mayor's office was not interested in at this time. We've learned not to take that letter too seriously as we've written to his office about a handful of non-veteran related issues, and we've always received the same letter from the same aid saying that whatever issue we are writing about is not of interest to the mayor at that time. It is better than the response from each city council member who we wrote about treatment of veterans in Portland. How so? NOT A SINGLE ONE of them bothered to write back to us nor did our State Senator or State Representative. Letters to US Sen. Smith and US Rep. David Wu have consistently received prompt and helpful responses. US Sen. Wyden has proven useless regarding veteran's issues as his office only sends back general form letters and never offered any assistance.

    So, today, the city will be marching against the war in Iraq. Ironically, the building we moved into is located one block from the staging area in the Park Blocks. We will be attending the march as we believe that its time for our troops to leave Iraq. We just worry that when the rest of the troops do come home that they will receive as cold a reception as we have received from the city of Portland.

  • gt (unverified)

    I've tried this before and I doubt anything has changed since last time. My vision is bad and I've been on antidepressants. Why would I LIE on their test and make myself to be someone I'm really NOT? I would love to join the military - it's a great opportunity to travel and learn about other cultures up close. We have everything spoon fed to us through the liberal media and have no concept of what it's actually like over there. I'm looking into other options like USAid or PeaceCorps.

  • (Show?)

    I hope that everyone has fun at the Big Demonstration, and that you all get that warm feeling from your efforts.

    I know that it would be impolite to address the issue of whether these demonstrations actually persuade anyone to change their position regarding the war, so I won't do that.

    The important thing is whether you feel better about yourself.

    Someday the war will end (as wars always do sooner or later), and you will be able to state unequivocally that it was your efforts in the Parks Blocks that made it all happen.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    I believe public demonstrations do matter. In this context they are a public expression of the at least 59% of American who support withdrawal from Iraq by 2008 (Newsweek poll). It is also important not to conflate the Iraq issue with every other issue that organizations like ANSWER and others want drag along and promote. Mainstream Americans are fed up with this Republican war built on lies.

    The chicken hawks who want to keep the occupation going need to put their bodies and those of their loved ones where their mouth is and sign up today. I understand the Army is lowering their standards to keep fresh cannon fodder going to Iraq. Flag waving over someone else's corpse is such easy virtue.

  • Nancy Brumback (unverified)

    Pat Ryan, don't give up. I'm sure Blackwater or one of the other mercenary outfits would take you ... maybe, if not on the battlefield if your vision is truly bad, then answering phones or something like that. Then you can stop crying to the rest of us how much you want to go, but can't. Right. Otherwise, wake up. Bush lied us into this war and he's lying now to keep us there. Do you really think it is noble to die for Exxon, Shell, BP and the rest? Or maybe you want to die for your president, right or wrong, out of patriotic loyalty.

    If we Americans don't wake up and see that the truly wonderful thing about being American is that we have the right (and some of us have the ability) to think for ourselves, there won't be an America anymore...

    See you at the Park Blocks!

  • steven andresen (unverified)

    "...We have Democrats in control of Congress, but they seem to be unsure the public will support a quick end to the war in Iraq..."

    There is no reason to assume that Democrats in Congress will oppose this war. There are probably only a few Democrats who feel any need to question the war, let alone a desire to put any staff resources into effective efforts to end it. Does anyone have any evidence that we could characterize the Democrats in Congress as having one mind on the war? I think the fact that there is no binding measure to bring troops home at any time tells us Democrats cannot be counted on.

    Hence, the "peace marches" seem to be appropriate for organizing. There are a lot of people who show up. Some of them can be asked to commit their own time and effort into a) electing candidates who will stop the war, b) supporting legislation that will end the war, and c) create organizations that will argue to the population and politicians to stop the war.

    Of course these marches won't be the be-all or end-all to the war. They have their place.

  • gt (unverified)

    Here we have the military protecting our country and you're whining and crying about it. Maybe your U.N. and French buddies can do a better job. I doubt it. I'm sure once another attack happens on U.S. soil you'll change your tone rather quickly. I just don't think the pansy Democrats can lead very effectively in these perilous end-times.

  • Chuck P (unverified)

    Link to picture of desecrated flag

    One of the unfortunate incidents to occur at the anti-war protest today was a group of teenagers dressed in black with ski masks hiding their faces carrying signs that read, "For each American soldier that dies, an Iraq civilian lives," who opted to wrap an American flag in feces and light it on fire.

    What I found to be equally disturbing was this female photographer, who once the police chased the hoodlums away, opted to kick, poke, and prod the remains of the flag to "get a better picture of it."

    I took this picture of the woman, then I pissed her off by gathering up the remains of the vandalized flag to take, properly honor, and dispose of tonight. In my opinion, her kicking and poking at the flag's remains with her feet to get a better picture was as disgraceful as the idiots who desecrated the flag.

  • gt (unverified)

    "One of the unfortunate incidents to occur at the anti-war protest today was a group of teenagers dressed in black with ski masks hiding their faces carrying signs that read, "For each American soldier that dies, an Iraq civilian lives," who opted to wrap an American flag in feces and light it on fire."

    What else did you expect to see at this anarchist's rally in liberal Portland, Oregon?

  • Chuck P (unverified)

    One thing to note that I did not mention in my original post. When I needed a bag or way to gather together the remains of the flag, I approached the booth for Veterans for Peace chapter 72. They didn't have anything for me to put it into, so I found some cardboard to wrap around it and carry it back to their booth. Instead of being greeted by veterans who honored the flag, I was told to just throw it in a trash barrel near by. Anyone who has served in the military or was properly trained in civic's class knows that unfit flags are to be burned.

    I returned home, and I emailed the head of this local chapter telling him how disgraceful his organization's response had been especially calling themselves veterans.

    Below you will find his reply:

    Grant R. (Veterans for Peace chapter 72) to [email protected] date Mar 18, 2007 6:04 PM subject Re: information Well what were we supposed to do? We were kind of busy and tired. Seems you took it upon yourself to do something. Did you separate the intact parts of the flag (not that there were many)? Did you finish burning it? Or did you give it a ceremonial burial? Why lay this on us.There are many of us who want nothing to do with the flag since so many atrocities have been committed under it. There are other who still still salute it. By the time you got it, it was not a flag. I'm the one you approached, so if you want to give me crap go ahead, it was me not the organization. Until this administration is out of office and the war ends, we do not fly the flag except on very special occasions. But we never burn it. You don't want to join us, fine. If you want to end the war do something else, but do something.

  • Bill (unverified)

    We were never in Japan? Really, that's interesting. And to think that we actually have bases to this day in "Japan proper" (outside of Okinawa). Here's a nice link for you:


    "By the end of 1945, more than 350,000 US personnel were stationed throughout Japan."

    Occupation ended in 1951.

  • rscowboy (unverified)

    For the first time in more than 30 years I attended an anti-war protest. Since the 70s, I've spent my time with family and work and followed the politics of my country through media. Television, print and particularly the past 3+ years, the internet. At times my participation ebbed to the point where I bypassed some elections. What could my participation do to affect the larger world?

    I attended with a friend of mine. It was also his first demonstration in more than 30 years. His heart has always been in the right place, but he arrived there by a different path. From a commitment to peace. Our conversations were instructive for both of us as we shared how we arrived at that point.

    Some completely random observations.

    ***I appreciated the diversity of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, experience, spiritual presence I observed.

    ***The first counter-demonstrator I saw was walking around the park blocks with a sign" "Real Americans don't cut and run." As he passed by, I noticed one of the yellow-shirt clad "peace keepers" walking behind him. Several people engaged him and there seemed to be earnest conversation, although I could not hear the substance of the exchange. I commented to my friend, "Funny, he doesn't look Native American."

    ***Before the march proper began we relocated over to the porta-potties (being men of a certain age with attendant bladder issues) and I noticed two Portland Police Bureau officers standing there with a digital video-recorder. What is this, I thought. Are we going to be on COPS? I speculated to my friend that perhaps they were recording what happened in case there was an "incident". They couldn't be simply recording to make a data base of those peaceably exercising their Constitutional rights? Later I asked a young woman with a "Portland Cop Watch" tee shirt on what the purpose was of the recordings? She speculated is it allowed/required under the Patriot Act. Which I was astounded at. Not that she may be correct, but that she so casually tossed that off as an explanation. I'm not internet competent, so I cannot research whether her claim is correct or not. I certainly am curious.

    ***I appreciated the wit (as well as efforts at wit) people displayed on their signs.

    ***Do I think my physical presence will result in change in this government's behavior? I am not so self-absorbed to fall for that. However, as they say about winning the lottery -- buying a ticket doesn't guarantee you winning, but it's better odds than not buying one.

    ***These are my observations only. Few postings here can change my mind about something, but those that contain no independent documentation for a position will never do so. So please spare me uninformed responses.


  • gt (unverified)

    The peace rally really pissed me off. I was hoping to get downtown so I could meet a friend at Starbucks at Pioneer Square. That didn't happen since there was an angry mob of anarchists blocking my way so I couldn't go. Why would I want to be caught in the cross fire in case these idiots decided to start smashing things like they usually do? These people looked like the same sort of people who shut down Shumacher's Fur store.

  • (Show?)

    GT, please go away. You're not contributing anything meaningful or interesting to the conversation here.

  • DH (unverified)

    GT- I get the impression that you have spent alot of time on blogs like freerepublic or nwrepublican. That you aren't "blue" is not the issue. But you will find few responses on Blueoregon that use name calling as either their argument or their callout. You seem more interested in a pissing contest as opposed to a discussion or conversation.

    As for the rally, I don't know what the immediate or longterm impact will be. But a big plus was keeping the focus on the war in Iraq by a broad group of participants. It is of value for people to see or hear that the people who participated are regular folk.

    "Ah yes. The old conflict between grassroots action and top-down commandments, between energetic democracy and the folks scared of finding themselves "tarred" by the presence of Dykes on Bikes."

    Not scared or "tarred" but the fringe groups bring very little to the table in actually persuading people and I am not particularily inclined to bring my children to an event where there will be ridiculous, counterproductive behavior. Of course the people who engage in these behaviors are by far in the minority but they are usually the first impression from ms media.

    It's one more opportunity to have your voice heard and to be im community with many - not an unimportant, trivial point.

  • glenlivid (unverified)

    Pat Ryan:

    "I hope that everyone has fun at the Big Demonstration, and that you all get that warm feeling from your efforts."

    There is power and support in groups. Not to mention the potential for sharing ideas and networking. You should try getting out of the house sometime.

    "I know that it would be impolite to address the issue of whether these demonstrations actually persuade anyone to change their position regarding the war, so I won't do that."

    Changing minds, especially those of the government, is the eventual goal, but you won't win a marathon without jogging a few miles first. This is about supporting and exercising the methods of assembly and action. We, the people, own this country and elect our 'leaders'. This is a way of reminding everyone of that, but at the same time, it is simply maintainence on the machine of action. The time will come when those that have been watching are willing to participate, and when that day comes, you will know what all the fuss was about.

    "The important thing is whether you feel better about yourself."

    Considering how little there has been to feel good about for the last 6 years, I'm inclined to agree with you.

    "Someday the war will end (as wars always do sooner or later), and you will be able to state unequivocally that it was your efforts in the Parks Blocks that made it all happen."

    You don't go to war without first going to boot camp. Does boot camp matter? Ask an Iraq war veteran. This is all a part of boot camp for those of us unwilling to sit idly by.

  • Dan (unverified)

    I read the estimates of up to 30,000 people showing up.

    The Oregonian estimates that only 10-15k showed up.

    The Portland Trailblazers draw that many on a nightly basis when playign a bad team.

    Looks like most of you are completely out of touch with the 1.2 million in the Portland metro area that had better things to do, like :

    Go to church Watch the NCAA tourney Visit Bridgeport Villiage Take their family on a Sunday drive in their huge SUV Read a nice book Spend time with family and friends Begin planting this year's garden

    Keep it up. The pictures of your friends wearing bandannas, yelling at police, are simply priceless.

  • gt (unverified)

    "Keep it up. The pictures of your friends wearing bandannas, yelling at police, are simply priceless."

    Al Qaeda, the PLO and Hezbollah are all so very proud of you all. Keep up the good work! "Death to America!!!"

  • DH (unverified)


    Many people went from church to the march. It was supported by a very ecumenical range of churches and such. Many churches arranged carpools and buses. And still had time to watch the tourney.

  • raul (unverified)


    I served with 20/80 vision, so you can. Maybe you can really put your money where your mouth is, eh? An astigatism should not keep you from serving your masters. And if you get wounded, there is a rat infested room at Walter Reed for you. BTW, I spent a year at Walter Reed (91-92) and it was clean and well run, and the doctors were very kind.

    There were combat veterans at this march, and parents and most of my church congregation. We think we read some parts in our Bible where Jesus talked about things like the golden rule, and loving your enemies.

    You freeper types appear to be embarassed by this rally. If we were out of touch with the 1.2 million other Oregonians, where was the pro war march? Where are he pro war polls?

    As sure as you are as to what Al Qaeda, the PLO etc. wants makes me think you are speaking to them directly.
    BTW GT, each time you posted I donated $10.00 to NW Veterans for Peace. Keep on trolling, and I'll keep on giving.
  • TG (unverified)

    "Maybe you can really put your money where your mouth is, eh?"

    I called the recruiters office for the Air Force this morning. Something about my continuous use of anti-depressants for the last 10 years is more at issue than my lousy eyesight. Sounds like discrimination to me, do it to you?

  • raul (unverified)

    Sure you did. That is a lie I can spot from a mile away. Besides, how much fighting are you going to do in the Air Force? Get down and dirty- be a Marine.

    You are a gutless chump- and I just donated $10.00 to the Oregon Democratic Party in your name. I think I hear your mother calling.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)

    GT, you have three choices: 1.) Army. 2.) Marines. 3.) Navy corpsman.

    And I think there are plenty of places around here where you can get Lasix done on your eyes, and you can conveniently not tell your recruiter about your SSRIs. After all, you'll be fighting the War on Terror!

    Or perhaps you're a Fighting Keyboarder, supporting the troops by trolling Blue blogs, while crying about how high your taxes are and ignoring Walter Reed.

  • TG (unverified)

    "you can conveniently not tell your recruiter about your SSRIs. "

    I didn't tell him about it - I was still in their system from when I inquired back in my early 20's. Also since I have my B.S. and MBA so therefore could qualify as an officer but they said as long as I've been medically documented as having been on SNRI's, anti-convulsants and anti-psychotics they don't want me, trust me. I would be too much of a liability apparently.

  • Fred Heutte (unverified)

    To gt I say, the great thing about being an American is that you have choices. If the Starbucks at Pioneer Square is blocked by anarchists or a lengthy line of double latte quaffing Boomers, what the hey, there's another Starbucks mere moments away. And never let a bunch of law-abiding Americans exercising their free speech rights get in the way of your next caffeine break.

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