Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rolling Thunder at the Wall

This came to me from a bunch of vets who still work and play in the D.C. area. Regardless of what the sniveling pacifist spokesperson says, the evidence of the last fifty years dealing with anti-war folks is that they will degrade every honorable memorial to make their point. While the Capitol police stood by last month to let the slime spray paint the steps of the legislature, this time they opportunity will apparently not be provided at the Wall:

Veterans Vow to 'Protect Our Memorials' During Anti-War Rally
By Randy Hall Staff Writer/Editor
February 23, 2007

( - When protesters arrive in Washington, D.C., on March 17 to
mark the fourth anniversary of the "criminal invasion of Iraq," they'll be
met by members of several veterans' organizations determined to protect
memorials from being damaged during the demonstrations.

"We're going to be there to protect our memorials and to show support for
our troops," Artie Muller, founder and executive director of the group
Rolling Thunder, told Cybercast News Service on Thursday.

According to the organization's website, Rolling Thunder has "more than 80
chartered chapters throughout the United States."
While the group's main purpose is "to be an advocate for our troops,
veterans and POW/MIAs (Prisoners Of War/Missing In Action)," most members
are Vietnam War veterans, and thousands are also motorcycle riders.

When Muller learned that the upcoming anti-war rally would begin at
Constitution Gardens - near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, also known as
"the Wall" - and move from there to the Pentagon, he grew concerned that the
black granite memorial, which bears the name of every member of the military
who died in that war, might be damaged.

He put out a call for as many chapters, members and supporters as possible
to gather in D.C. that Saturday "to ensure that the Wall and other memorials
in the general area are not defaced."

Muller said, "We do not want, nor will we tolerate, a repeat of what
happened" on Jan. 27, when tens of thousands of anti-war protesters gathered
for a rally in Washington, and a small number of them spray-painted
anarchist symbols on the steps and pavement outside the U.S. Capitol.
Sarah Sloan, a national organizer for the International Act Now to Stop War
and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition, told Cybercast News Service the groups'
fears are unfounded.

"Information has been circulated that has been entirely inaccurate, alleging
that there's going to be some defiling or attack on the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial, which couldn't be farther from the truth," Sloan said.
"First, we're not even going to be at the memorial," she noted. "We will be
in a park near the memorial but not at the same location. Then, we plan to
march on the street from Constitution Gardens to the Pentagon, so there will
of course be no damage done to the memorial."

Sloan added that "many of the people who are involved in this other effort
are supporters of the war, and they're using their status as veterans to
perhaps mobilize additional people. This is similar to other events that are
always called and generally are very, very small in comparison to our

She also said many veterans would be among the protestors.
"To say that it's just veterans who are somehow 'counterposting' themselves
to our event is really inaccurate because many, many veterans are going to
be part of the march on the Pentagon."

Veterans participating in the march are doing so "because they oppose the
war and don't want there to have to be an Iraq War memorial. They want the
killing of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi people to end, which is why we're all

Sloan pointed to a letter on the rally website that has been signed by more
than 1,000 veterans, soldiers and their families supporting the march on the
Pentagon and pledging their participation, and the number of people signing
that is growing every day."

'Criminal invasion'
The letter calls for people to gather on March 17, because "on that day, the
Iraq war will become the second longest in U.S. history, after only the
Vietnam war." Since "the criminal invasion of Iraq," "hundreds of thousands
of Iraqis have been killed," "more than 3,100 U.S. soldiers have died, and
'non-mortal casualties' are nearing 55,000."

The site also notes that "2007 is the 40th anniversary of the historic 1967
anti-war march to the Pentagon during the Vietnam War," which "marked a
turning point in the development of a countrywide mass movement."
The site lists dozens of persons who have endorsed the event, including
former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.),
former Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and "peace mom" Cindy Sheehan.
However, Larry Bailey, a retired Navy captain and co-chairman of the
Gathering of Eagles, a group "formed by Vietnam veterans to protect the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial from being desecrated as the Capitol was at an
antiwar march last month," was not impressed with the names on the list.
"They stand for things that are a total anathema to those of us who were the
next generation after the 'great generation'" of Americans, Bailey said.
"We believe that the war memorials are sacred ground; as such, we will not
allow them to be desecrated, used as props for political statements or
treated with anything less than the solemn and heartfelt respect they - and
the heroes they honor - deserve," he said.

"We stand to challenge any group that seeks the destruction of our nation,
its founding precepts of liberty and freedom or those who have given of
themselves to secure those things for another generation," Bailey added. "We
will be silent no more."