War: March 2003 Archives

You're either with us or against us.

Like it or not, Canadian baseball fans will be hearing God Bless America played during the seventh-inning stretch of each team's first home game.

Toronto's SkyDome will air the song during the New York Yankees game on Monday night, a Toronto Blue Jays spokesman said. Normally, Okay, Blue Jays is played during the seventh-inning stretch.

The directive was handed down from Major League Baseball, which has decreed that God Bless America will be sung during the seventh-inning stretch of all home openers, Sunday games and holiday games to honour U.S. military men and women serving in Iraq.

OK. I need to take a break on war stuff for a bit. Here are links to my favorite news sites. Only one of them is based in the U.S. Imagine that!

Common Dreams


Guardian (UK)

The Independent (UK)

Agence France-Presse (in English)

Ha'aretz (Israel)

Google News

Or, you can click on the "other blogs" link over on the right and look at the ones under "Politics". Most highly recommended are Atrios, Daily Kos, and Nathan Newman. The Agonist seems to have updates every couple of minutes about Iraq.

Also, my partner James probably won't be able to stop himself from posting about it.

I'm going to post some cultural notes soon.

The AP has a story quoting Bill Dobbs from United for Peace and Justice about what happpened at the end of the march.

The organizers of an antiwar march said Sunday police escalated tensions by trying to clear a downtown park too quickly, while Mayor Bloomberg blamed a handful of unruly protesters for the injuries of 17 police officers.

“Most people behaved themselves, said their peace and went home,” Bloomberg said, a day after thousands marched through the city to show their opposition to the war in Iraq. “Unfortunately, a handful of people really got out of control and injured 17 New York City police officers who were there to protect us all.”


United for Peace and Justice spokesman Bill Dobbs said four medics volunteering for the group were pepper-sprayed by police at Washington Square Park, while others reported seeing protesters handcuffed too tightly.

Dobbs said police were cooperative and helpful until the protest reached the park. He said officers then tried to clear the area of thousands of people too quickly, and raised tensions by massing in riot gear and on horseback.

“It was premature to clear those streets,” Dobbs said. Once officers massed in riot gear, “the police became lightning rods. It’s regrettable.”

Several protesters also complained that they were shoved by officers and sprayed with Mace, Dobbs said.

“Whatever happened down there ought to have been defused with some common sense and not trying to clear streets prematurely,” he said.

Police officials had no immediate comment Sunday. Officials had said that the protesters’ march permit expired at 4 p.m. Officers began ordering people to disperse after the permit expired.


Interesting --The NY Post article has this:

The peaceful mood turned truculent when cops started clearing the park around 3:30 p.m. - about a half-hour before the march was expected to end.

Unless if was dangerously crowded in Washington Square Park itself, it is NOT illegal for people to be in the park with anti-war signs. It is a public space, and one's presence there should not be at the whim of the NYPD.

I didn't see this one, but as agitprop (and painting) it's pretty good.


Photo courtesy of Tom Moody. Go read his post on the march.

I got an email from Jesse of pith.org fame -- go read his beautifully written post from early this morning -- about the fact that he only saw well-behaved police. I agree that I only saw that, except that as I got close to the end I saw more and more police officers wearing riot gear on the site streets. I finished the march around 3:30.

Tom Moody has a good photo of NYPD in riot gear from yesterday. We all know displays like this are meant to intimidate, even when we've had hours of peaceful marching so far.


Our group's Pink Triangle Peace Symbol (with glitter!) shows up in pith.org's photos of the march.

There are currently ten stories on the NY1 home page.

Nine of them have video.

One does not: the one about yesterday's anti-war march.

Hey -- do the Iraqis own their own oil fields yet? They're all gonna be rich over there now, right?

The latest Get Your War On has arrived.

Jimmie Breslin is right. Maybe it is time for some NYPD layoffs.


A young woman began banging her paint bucket drum so hard we couldn't hear anymore. I don't know how many were in the march, which was kept on the sidewalk by too many police. As usual, far too many.

The police at marches suggest the need for layoffs.

The faces on the police were evidence of a deep belief that the First Amendment can have nothing to do with these scruffy kids and a jobless squatter. If they try to pick it up and use it, then swing a big black billy club to squash it. Who are they to stomp along the street and call George Bush names? They ought to watch their betters on television and acquire class.

The following is from an immensely interesting transcript of Barbara Bush on an ABC-TV morning show. She was asked if she and her husband, the former president, watch television.

"He sits and listens and I read books because I know perfectly well that - don't take offense - that 90 percent of what I hear on television is supposition, when we're talking about the news. And he's not, not as understanding of my pettiness about that. But why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's going to happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it's, not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? And watch him suffer."

This is NY1's latest story on the anti-war march:

Several Arrested, Officers Injured In Largest Anti-War Rally Yet

More than 20 people were reportedly arrested and at least 10 police officers were sprayed with Mace during an anti-war demonstration that drew an estimated 200,000 people to Manhattan Saturday afternoon.

While the rally began as a peaceful one, violence broke out near Washington Square Park as police attempted to disperse the crowd at the scheduled 4 p.m. end of the rally. Several protesters were arrested and a number of police officers were sprayed with Mace as they tried to move crowds out of the area.

“I was trying to disperse, you couldn’t get through because of a line of helmeted riot police,” said a woman who participated in the protest. “They started making a line and pushing the crowd back so you could not exit. They’re squeezing in people like rats because there’s no place to go and the police are provoking what’s going to be violent.”

Riot officers and mounted police tried to get control of the crowd, announcing via loudspeaker about 5:30 p.m. that those who remained in the area could face arrest. Many protesters appeared defiant of the announcement, continuing to linger in the area and shouting “Our street” as officers tried to disperse crowds.

The protest, which began at West 35th Street and finished in Washington Square Park, was estimated to be the largest anti-war rally the city has seen since the situation with Iraq first escalated.

While tens of thousands were still marching, the NYPD decided that the city had had enough free speech for one day. I'm glad I finished earlier. I can hear all of the sirens going by my apartment on West 23rd Street.

I got back a little while ago from the big march from Times Square to Washington Square Park. It took over two hours to march the whole route, once it finally started moving around 1 or so. The crowd has huge, with each block quite crowded. Given that it was at least 30 blocks of people marching for hours, and typical estimates are 1000-1500 people/block, that's in the 100,000-250,000 range.

We marched in a group including ACT UP, Housing Works, Church Ladies for Choice, and an ad-hoc group assembled a few days ago of queer activists with the working title "Flaunting Peace".

More photos may be found here.

Some favorite chants and signs:

  • How many persons/gallon?

  • Respect Democracy, Don't "Install" It

  • How did our oil get under their sand?

  • "... a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind" -- Declaration of Independence

  • No Iraqi children in my gas tank

  • Who's pro-life now?

  • Pretzels for Peace

  • This was is so heteronormative

  • Baby Bombers 'R US

  • 48 Hours / Leave the White House (chant that rose around Washington Square

The ACLU/NYCLU was handing out a good flyer with "Know your rights while demonstrating." Here is a PDF of it. After seeing cops on March 21 in Times Square telling people they couldn't walk on the sidewalk while carrying anti-war signs but were required to go into the holding pens set up with barricades, it's a good flyer to keep around.

Here is a good article from Reuters on the protests.

I just looked at CNN's web site. Is this balance?

Americans demonstrate for, against war 100,000 gather in Manhattan

Saturday, March 22, 2003 Posted: 3:29 PM EST (2029 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Supporters and opponents of the ongoing U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq took to the streets Saturday in cities across the United States.


I also hate the way all of the coverage -- including NY1 and CNN -- spend a lot of time talking about how nice it is that there was so little violence. Hello? They think that the people opposed to the war are the violent ones? NY1 also kept reminding viewers that the permit said the march would end at 4, but there were thousands still marching down Broadway, so "it should get interesting." Are they hoping the riot police (there were a lot around Washington Square) would give them some interesting footage?

On TV CNN also contrasted the anti-war demonstrations with smaller "support our troops" demonstrations near various bases around the country. It's offensive to say that anti-war people are showing hatred for our troops. No wonder CNN was expelled by the Iraqis as a "propaganda tool of the government."

See also: James's account.

From Britannica Concise:

fascism: Philosophy of government that stresses the primacy and glory of the state, unquestioning obedience to its leader, subordination of the individual will to the state's authority, and harsh suppression of dissent. Martial virtues are celebrated, while liberal democratic values are denigrated. 20th-cent. fascism arose partly out of fear of the rising power of the lower classes and differed from contemporary communism (as practiced under J. Stalin) by its protection of the corporate and landowning powers and preservation of a class system.

From a column by Richard Perle in today's Guardian:

Saddam Hussein's reign of terror is about to end. He will go quickly, but not alone: in a parting irony, he will take the UN down with him. Well, not the whole UN. The "good works" part will survive, the low-risk peacekeeping bureaucracies will remain, the chatterbox on the Hudson will continue to bleat. What will die is the fantasy of the UN as the foundation of a new world order. As we sift the debris, it will be important to preserve, the better to understand, the intellectual wreckage of the liberal conceit of safety through international law administered by international institutions.

From the NY Times:

Even as he advises the Pentagon on war matters, Richard N. Perle, chairman of the influential Defense Policy Board, has been retained by the telecommunications company Global Crossing to help overcome Defense Department resistance to its proposed sale to a foreign firm, Mr. Perle and lawyers involved in the case said today.

Mr. Perle, an assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration, is close to many senior officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who appointed him to lead the policy board in 2001. Though the board does not pay its members and is technically not a government agency, it wields tremendous influence in policy circles. And its chairman is considered a "special government employee," subject to federal ethics rules, including one that bars anyone from using public office for private gain.

Mr. Perle is also a member of Project for the New American Century - the people that created Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century in 2000: a plan for the U.S. to take military control of the Persian Gulf to create a "global Pax Americana".

Thanks to Lisa at Ruminate This for the links, and for inspiring this post.

The heavy rain made it depressing and wet, and the NYPD were pretty incompetent. They spent most of their time trying to figure out how to keep traffic moving despite big crowds, rather than dealing with crowd control in any intelligent way. We left as they started arresting people and pushing against them. We refused to move into any pens, and after seeing the Newsday photos, I'm glad.


James's sign, suitable for a queer anti-war protest, quoted The Wizard of Oz. The other side said, "Toto Knew."


Newsday has a good article. Don't miss the slideshow with photos, including nice moments like the police using a barricade to shove protesters.

After reading this Reuters story, I feel like NYC is rather amateur. There were over 1000 arrests in San Franciso.

From The Guardian:

Israeli forces fired teargas and stun grenades yesterday in an attempt to break up a memorial service for Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist killed by an army bulldozer in Gaza on Sunday.

Witnesses including several dozen foreigners and Palestinian supporters say Israeli armoured vehicles tried to disperse the gathering at the spot in Rafah refugee camp where Ms Corrie was crushed to death.

I will be at the demo at Times Square tomorrow at 5pm. Call or email me if you want to meet up.

At yesterday's meeting we talked about using satire for anti-war purposes. I'm not sure that's possible when a Supreme Court Justice (Scalia) can ban the media from a ceremony where he is to receive a free speech award.

He also said this in a speech last night:

The Constitution just sets minimums. Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires.

More discussion of this may be found here.

James and I spent a couple of hours with some smart queer activists talking about anti-war activism that doesn't involve a laundry list of other issues, or worrying about being polite: exactly the people I need to be around right now.

If you want to join us for the 5pm rally -- whichever day it is -- or the one on Saturday, send me an email or call me.

Here is what James had to say about it.


I've just added a new category to my blog: War.

This page is an archive of entries in the War category from March 2003.

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