A series of protests, marches and other events against the war in Iraq
will take place this weekend. Organizers hope to have 100,000 people show
up in Washington, D.C., and events in other cities are scheduled, as well.
Rallies are planned for San Francisco, downtown Los Angeles and even
As opponents of the invasion of Iraq from the beginning, we hope the
events are large, peaceful and respectful of those who disagree. Most of
all, we hope that they reflect not just a radical fringe group of
knee-jerk Bush-haters, but the growing number of ordinary Americans -
around 60 percent according to most polls - who have come to see the war
in Iraq as a mistake.
Some signs are hopeful. While many of those who came to oppose the
Vietnam war, for example, were openly scornful of Americans who served in
uniform, the early stages of anti-Iraq war activity have often included
military families. This tendency has been highlighted by Cindy Sheehan,
whose son Casey was killed in Iraq in April 2004 and who camped out in
Crawford, Texas, during President Bush's ranch vacation, and who has
organized military families who oppose or are skeptical about the war. Ms.
Sheehan will be a speaker Saturday in Washington and has drawn most of the
media attention to date.
But Ms. Sheehan's statements have sometimes gone beyond understandable
anger about the war to embrace a range of radical causes. We think that is
a mistake. Ordinary Americans who love their country and don't see it as
the source of most of the evil in the world but are upset about the Iraq
war need to see a reflection of themselves, of a broader Middle America,
in this weekend's events. Otherwise they are likely to dismiss the
protests as the work of people who will leap at any opportunity to "blame
Some signs are less than hopeful. The Washington organizers might have
asked for a speaker from Pat Buchanan's American Conservative magazine,
which has opposed the war steadfastly from the beginning. But the speakers
we saw listed on the United for Peace and Justice Web site were all from
the left side of the spectrum.
When the anti-war movement, to borrow a phrase, starts to look like
America, the politicians will start to pay attention.