Protesting war

There’s a war protest going on right now. But you probably haven’t heard of it.

We got a report that, for a second day, protesters are shutting down Twin Cities military recruiting offices.

A group of students were chaining themselves together (using PVC tubes and one with a bicycle U-lock around his neck to the door), barricading the entrance of a military recruiting office that had not yet opened for the day (sign says they open at 9AM)

protest.jpgA fight broke out yesterday at a protest on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus, but by the yardstick of major media coverage, it was essentially a non-event. The Minnesota Daily had the story.

Two opposing protests in front of a Stadium Village military recruitment office Thursday — totaling about 50 people — led to at least one fight, though no arrests were made.

Members of the Students for a Democratic Society and Anti-War Committee lined up on Washington Avenue to protest military involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq Thursday morning.

In opposition to the protest, students from the University of Minnesota’s College Republicans, as well as veterans and supporters, positioned themselves in front of the recruiting office, carrying signs accusing the original protesters of being unpatriotic.

So what is it News Cut readers? War fatigue? Protest fatigue? Can’t afford the gas to get there?

Or is it just too hard to stand in the political middle and shout, “Yes, but…”?

NPR’s Ken Rudin reminds us that on this day in 1971, more than 175,000 people marched in Washington to demand an end to the war in Vietnam.

  • Jennifer B

    Part of it could be war fatigue. The longer things drag on the more numb we get to them. But I think that part of it as well as that since we now have an administration that has openly stated a commitment to withdrawing our troops, part of the urgency is gone. The point of many of the protests has been to demand an end to our military action in Iraq. Now that the white house is working towards that end, I’m sure most people don’t find the protests as necessary and therefore lose interest.

  • Chris

    I would have to go with the political middle on this one. War is such a thorny issue. I’m against this war, but these sort of protests reinforce pro-war arguments. Military doesn’t set policy, it carries out the policy of civilian policy makers. It makes anti-war protesters look ant-troop and the pro-war side look pro-troop.

    We need to keep the pressure on our elected leaders to get out of Iraq and lay off the anti-military protests. Protesting the military is an easy way to torpedo your cause.

  • Bob

    Have to disagree with Chris’s comments that anti-war protesters appear anti-troop; IMHO, they appear anti-troop only to people under the sway of conservative commentators.

    I think the reason things are ho-hum on the Iraq War protest front is that so few people have a direct stake in the war — there’s no draft, and the war is being fought by about 1% of the population. In that respect, comparisons to the Vietnam War and its attendant protests aren’t very illuminating.

    That’s not to say that we won’t be paying for the Iraq War with thousands of damaged lives and trillions of dollars wasted, but for better or worse, these aspects aren’t sufficiently compelling motivations for most folks to join the protest ranks.

  • bsimon

    “Have to disagree with Chris’s comments that anti-war protesters appear anti-troop; IMHO, they appear anti-troop only to people under the sway of conservative commentators.”

    Bob, I have to disagree with your disagreement. By protesting at a military recruiting office, the protesters are making the event about the troops, not about the politicians who make the decisions about war.

    If the protesters’ message isn’t about the troops, they should find a more appropriate place to make their stand.

  • Steve

    Heck, I would love to protest. I was 14 in 1971, a bit to young. Still, my brother was old enough, and he and his colleages were educated, cocky and unafraid of the “ol man” and his colleagues.

    There were so many protesters, that I think for most…it did not go on their permanent record (I never heard of the term permanent record until about 1985). This war is not nearly as bloody to Americans (the tradgedy to Iraqis is profound).

    I have a job though, and as underemployed as I am, I can’t afford to lose it. The police are much more powerful now than they were in 1971.

    I think Obama has gotten the message. We do not want to fight wars. Somehow, we forgot, or at least Bush forgot.

    Dear God, help us out of this mess and bring peace to this world.

  • Paul

    There were huge protests involving literally millions of people around the world, and thousands of people here in the twin cities BEFORE THE WAR. The question isn’t where are the protesters, the question is why you people never listen to them. Now that they’ve been proven right, your wondering why the demonstrations aren’t larger?

    I always get a kick out these people who worry about the soldiers being protested, as if being protested is more of an insult than being killed or maimed for life. Yeah wave the flag as they go to war and pretend your defending them by fighting the protesters who tried to keep them home… I’m not impressed.

    By the way MPR, the consensus media almost always ignore or minimize peace protests and movements. This anti war movement has been underway since before the war, ever had anyone from Code Pink or any of the other groups on Mid Morning or Mid Day? Why not?

  • Scott Travis

    I’m glad this topic has come up and I hope you’ll hear me out. If you had asked the protesters why they were there, you might have learned that they were particularly objecting to the deceit that military recruiters commonly perpetrate on unwitting kids in order to tempt them to enlist. (a civilian-directed policy by the way) Have you talked to a new recruit lately, or heard how all branches have lowered their entrance standards, or heard about how these kids are promised they’ll never go to Iraq and then within months are flown to Iraq? There is so much more context to this story than you all have discussed above. Please get a grip on what your country has done in your name these last 8 years, 110 years actually.

    This issue isn’t about “the troops” unless you all construe it to be. Have you asked any of “the troops” lately why “we went to war”? Try it. Have you asked yourself lately why we went to war? Have you read through the Patriot Act yet to check off the constitutional rights that have been stripped from us?

    Here’s a hypothetical – under what particular circumstances do you think it would be acceptable for the US government to torture you? It’s funny how Chris asserts that now only a few Americans have a “direct stake” in the war when you all should know that over half of your tax dollars go directly to the defense industry. That seems like a stake. How about all of the new enemies we mobilized against us by allowing the Bush cabal to continue as long as they did? Do you all really think that Cheney and Rumsfeld aren’t war criminals? We all are on the line now since Bush polices incited so much anger against us and left so many other messes to tend to. Do you know that over half of all the trained scientists in the US work for the defense industry? How much is too much? Don’t forget that the most scientifically credible body count for the Iraq war done by Johns Hopkins et al over two years ago now had the number above 700,000 people, mostly Iraqis by a lot. We’ve got so much penance to do!