The 7th Year Since The U.S. Invasion And Occupation Of Iraq

March 20, Saturday. I woke up at 8 to thunderous crashing noise, echoing in the canyons of buildings around our apartment in Manhattan.  My first thought was, “has someone already called the Police to complain that this is too early for construction noise on a Saturday??” My second thought was, “What if I were in Iraq or Afghanistan?? Status quo.”

At 1:00 PM today, next to the U.S. Army recruiting station in Times’ Square the Granny Peace  Brigade, as part of a coalition of Peace Groups observed the 7th year since the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. We were joined by members of CodePink, Grandmothers Against the War, North Manhattan Neighbors for Peace & Justice, NYC War Resister’s League, NYC-UFPJ, Peace Action of NYS, the NY Metro Raging Grannies, and West Side Peace Action.

2010_03_20_1Our signs counted out the numbers of dead (and numbers of US. Taxpayer dollars) since March 2003.  We were chanting, “How do you measure the cost of war??” “How many?” “Too many!” “How much?” “Too much!!.”

2010_03_20_2The Raging Grannies were singing some fine songs, handing out their song sheets so that all of their allies and passersby could join in:

We, shall not pay for Endless Wars;
We, shall not pay for Endless Wars.
We’ll pay for jobs, and health and education,
Not for Endless Wars!
(words Pam Drake NY Metro Raging Grannies)

Our official speakers were NY City Councilwoman Gale  Brewer and Hugh Bruce of Veterans Against the War.

Brewer called out her own stats: the huge losses of city jobs in libraries, fire houses, and across the board diminishing safety and quality of life for us.

2010_03_20_3Hugh called on the President to end the futile US presence in Afghanistan, reminding us all that Alexander the Great had run into big obstacles there and it was time for the world to learn its lesson and give up trying to control that people. When Hugh had finished, I noticed a young man in fatigues.  At first I thought he was a boy in costume.  He was so young, so slight of build. As we began to talk, I learned he was for real.  He was 18.  He was on leave from duty in Afghanistan. He was glad to see us out there calling for an end to the war.  He said the Afghan people are turning against the military; they don’t want us there. He feels bad about the people he has killed. He must go back to active duty in a week or so; he’s just here with some buddies; he’s never seen Times’ Square before. He likes it. He wants to go to West Point when he’s finished his tour of duty; and after that he wants to be a senator. I say that we are there to ask that he can come home, go to West Point and be a senator. We need some good senators.

– Caroline Chinlund
– Photos: Caroline Chinlund & Eva-Lee Baird
for the Granny Peace Brigade

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