portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

actions & protests | imperialism & war

The Peoplesí Counter State of the Union Message

George W. Bush, the Liar-in-Chief, did his thing on Tuesday night, Jan. 23, 2007. He delivered another one of his so-called "State of the Union" messages to the Congress, on Capitol Hill. Outside the building, however, by the reflective pool, activists, like: Col. Ann Wright, Medea Benjamin, Jeffrey Milliard and Travis Morales, offered a true representation of the state of our nation. They demanded an end to the Iraqi War and bringing our troops home.
Col. Ann Wright at the U.S. Capitol
Col. Ann Wright at the U.S. Capitol
"Powerful republics are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations." - Ambrose Bierce

Washington, D.C. - While the Liar-in-Chief, George W. Bush, was giving his so-called, "State of the Union," message inside the U.S. Capitol, on Tuesday evening, Jan. 23, 2007, demonstrators were outside robustly exercising their First Amendment Rights, on the west side of the building, near its reflecting pool. Close by is a monument to one of my heroes--Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. The protesters listened to voices which were truly representative of the electoral results of Nov. 7, 2006, on the real condition of this country. The speakers demanded the Iraqi War be immediately stopped and that impeachment proceedings be launched against both Bush and V.P. Dick Cheney for lying the country into that conflict, spying on our citizens, condoning torture, and for other violations of the U.S. Constitution. (1) The rally was sponsored by Worldcantwait.org (2) and supported by activists from DAWN. (3)

The first speaker at the protest action was retired U.S. Army Colonel and ex-U.S. Diplomat, Ann Wright. Unlike the timid Colin Powell, she courageously resigned her State Department position, on March 19, 2003, rather than support an unjust war which she described as the "height of folly." (4) Wright said: "This man [President Bush] has not done a thing that has been good for our country. The election in November revealed that the American people want change...They want the war in Iraq stopped and our troops brought home." Wright praised Lt. Ehren Watada, and the other 15 servicemen, who have refused to fight "in an illegal war." She demanded that the U.S. Congress take action "to stop this war" and that the immoral and widespread practice of torture directed by this administration also "be ended...Out with the Bush regime," she urged.

In an article, dated, Dec. 23, 2006, Wright also criticized the U.S. penal colony at Guantanamo. (5) She ripped into the Congress for their complicity in that sordid scandal, which involved the passage of the notorious Military Commissions Act (MCA), aka "The Torture Bill." (6) Leading the support for that measure in the Senate were two War Hawks: John McCain (R-AZ) and "Turncoat Joe" Lieberman (IND-CT). On the House side, Bush Ditto-Heads, Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY) and Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL), went along with the GOP majority. The MCA guts the venerable Writ of Habeas Corpus and mocks the provisions of the Geneva Convention. (7)

What would General Grant think of all this? Well, he is best remembered as the leader of the Grand Army of the Republic in the Civil War, (1861-65), who also served as President, with mixed results, from 1869-77. At the end of his days, Grant was both bankrupt and dying from cancer of the throat. Wright reminded the spirited crowd that the old soldier decided to publish his "Memoirs" in order to pay off his debts. (8) As for the U.S. war with Mexico, (1846-48), in which he had fought as a young officer, Wright repeated Grant's words: "I regard [our war with Mexico] as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a Republic following the bad example of European monarchies." Take that, Bush-Cheney Gang!

Getting back to the protest. Medea Benjamin, cofounder of Code Pink, also spoke. She said: "George Bush is a failed President and the American people have seen through him and that is why his poll numbers are so low." Benjamin added that there is only one way for Congress to stop this war and that is by "cutting the $8.4 billion dollars we are spending each month" on the conflict.

Another speaker was Jeffrey Milliard of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. He said: "What I can offer you is the 'State of the Troops.' We have 3,060 who are dead and around 50,000 more who have been wounded. Our hospitals are filling up with casualties from this war...There are over 1,000 active duty service members, who have filed an appeal with the Congress demanding an end to the war." Travis Morales from the Worldcantwait.org, who helped organize the affair, shared his views on the perils of the Bush-Cheney regime. He said: "The streets of our cities need to be filled with people repudiating the war, repudiating this whole dangerous path that 'they' have undertaken...People who steal elections and believe that they are on a mission from God are not going to go without a fight...They must be driven out of office."

Entertainment at the rally was provided by activist and song writer Midge Potts, a native of Missouri, and former U.S. Navy veteran. She sang a number of her lively songs, including the ballad, "Give Me More," which mocks the warmongering Bush. Potts also served as the M.C. for the event and did an excellent job.

Finally, the latest polls show that the Bush-Cheney Gang is held in near-contempt by the vast majority of Americans. After six years of disastrous policy-making, the people are close to their tipping point. A majority now favor impeachment. The Peoples' State of the Union message, on the West side of the U.S. Capitol tonight, reflects the ongoing movement to stop the abuses of power by this present regime. It is part of a national grass roots action which has the truth on its side. This growing force, which will be hitting the streets of this city in protest on Sat., Jan. 27, 2007, intends that the usurpers of our ancient liberties, who have also wasted the lives of 3,060 of our bravest sons and daughters in Iraq, be brought to the Bar of Justice. (9)


1.  http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/ and
 http://impeachpac.org/ and
2.  http://www.worldcantwait.org/
3.  http://www.dawndc.net/
4.  http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2005/06/1716021.php
5.  http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/voices.php/2007/01/11/p13616
6.  http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/122306A.shtml
See also:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cfc3wPUQhyk
7.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Commissions_Act_of_2006
The Writ of Habeas Corpus, "The Great Writ," predates the U.S. Constitution by nearly five centuries. It existed at Common Law.
8. In the U.S. war with Mexico, some of Grant's colleagues in arms were men he would soon face in the Civil War: Robert E. Lee, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and James Longstreet. The latter was Grant's "best man" at his wedding, in 1848. It was one of Missouri's greatest sons, Mark Twain, who published General Grant's "Memoirs." It was a huge success and allowed his widow to pay off all of his creditors. See, "Grant" by Jean Edward Smith.
9.  http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=4637C72FDB2C1774

© William Hughes 2007.

William Hughes is the author of "Saying 'No' to the War Party" (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at  liamhughes@comcast.net.

homepage: homepage: http://authorwilliamhughes.com/