WASHINGTON - About 40 protesters staged a noisy protest outside the White House demanding withdrawal of US troops from Iraq as President George W. Bush unveiled a plan that would add 20,000 more.
"Stop the war! Troops home now!" the demonstrators yelled in a non-stop chant at the property gates under the watch of security officers.
Bush had just finished delivering a televised address to the nation in which he said 20,000 more US troops were needed in Iraq to quell the violence but warned the bloodshed would not end any time soon. More than 3,000 US troops have died since the March 2003 US-led invasion.
Protesters carried signs reading "My brother is in Iraq. Bring him home now" and "Send the twins. Send George," a reference to Bush's adult twin daughters.
Tambourines and a large brass bell added to the deafening thunder of a man banging on a soup kettle as the protesters doggedly kept up their shouts.
Sam Crook, of nearby Maryland, held aloft a huge placard reading: "Lying is not leadership. Impeach Bush and Cheney."
Crook said he heard part of Bush's speech on a radio in the crowd. "Mostly a crock of lies, anyway," said the middle-aged protester.
The president "is doing this to save face. The next guy who comes (to the presidency) will be stuck cleaning up the mess," he said.
Jay Mason of The World Can't Wait organization, which wants to impeach Bush for war crimes, condemned the president's decision to deploy more troops, saying then-president
Richard Nixon had "made the same mistake in Vietnam."
Voters put Democrats in charge of Congress in the November elections mainly because they opposed the Iraq war, Mason said, and if the Democrats back Bush's proposal, "it's betrayal."
The Washington resident likened the current situation in the United States to Germany under the Nazis, citing concentration of power in the executive, anti-immigration acts and "mass patriotic appeals."
According to a newly released USA Today/Gallup Poll, 61 percent of Americans surveyed said they opposed a US troop increase in Iraq, compared with 26 percent who supported it.