While lawmakers in Washington DC debate possible military action against Iraq, some Americans are making known their opposition to such action.
"Okay everyone, why are we here? No war! " Screamed Chicago demonstrators.
Several hundred anti-war protesters crammed the sidewalk just outside of a U.S. government office building in downtown Chicago, waving signs that urged lawmakers in Washington to reject plans for attacking Iraq. Methodist minister Slim Coleman was among a dozen or so speakers at the rally. "If this country goes to war, we will not go to war with it," he said. "If this country does this self-righteous act, that will bring this consequence of violence on this world, that we will separate from this country, and be in resistance day in and day out from the day that they pursue this war."
President Bush and many of his top administration officials say Iraq is making weapons of mass destruction and are calling for the removal of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Public opinion polls suggest about 60 percent of Americans support a war against Iraq. But, a poll released Monday by the organization Zogby International suggests only 40 percent of Americans support going to war without United Nations backing and international support.
There were about 300 people at this downtown Chicago rally. That is up from the two or three dozen people who showed up for a similar protest last week. Demonstrator Ben Iglar-Mobley says an increasing number of people believe going to war against Iraq would not accomplish much. And, he says, the U.S. military action against al-Qaeda and the Taleban leadership in Afghanistan might have done more harm than good. "Has Osama bin Laden been apprehended? Has al-Qaeda been neutralized? What we have done is taken an impoverished and desperate people and made them even more impoverished and desperate," he said. "We have sown the seeds of future terrorism.
Anti-war demonstrators are planning several other events in Chicago and other cities this week while the U.S. Congress discusses using force against Iraq. Plans are also underway for a massive anti-war march in Washington for late this month.