War foes set sights on new majority, say they won’t let Democrats cave
As Democrats reveled in their new majority on Jan. 4, anti-war activists complained of cowardice on the Iraq war and pledged that they won’t let Democrats cave to President Bush.
Cindy Sheehan, who opposes the war in Iraq, told more than 100 activists who rallied across the street from the Capitol that Democrats are behaving like Republicans and soon will be held to account.
“We’re not going to give them a free pass and they found that out [. . .],” Mrs. Sheehan said. On Jan. 3, Mrs. Sheehan led a group of about 75 protesters who chased top Democrats out of their own press conference with chants of “de-escalate, investigate, troops home now.”
Activists on Jan. 4 pledged to keep pressuring Democrats to stop funding the military campaign, force a withdrawal of troops, and investigate and impeach Mr. Bush for what they called “lies” that led to the war. They complained that Democrats continue to vote for war funding and have not put impeachment on their legislative agenda.
“They need a backbone transplant,” Ray McGovern, a retired CIA analyst, told the crowd.
Elaine Brower, whose organiza- tion sponsored the protest, said House Democrats “need to add to those first 100 hours what we are demanding today.”
Democrats plan to hold oversight hearings on the war, but activist David Swanson said that doesn’t go far enough.
“Prodding Bush is like teaching calculus to a pig,” he said. “They are telling us that impeachment is off the table. They are doing for Bush what Ford did for Nixon: They are pardoning.”
The rally was sponsored by World Can’t Wait/Drive Out the Bush Regime. The group displayed banners calling Mr. Bush a “torturer,” “war criminal” and “murderer.”
About 30 hooded protesters in orange jumpsuits argued that the government is sanctioning torture at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Mr. Swanson said the congressional leadership needs to be more aggressive, but it is up to war opponents to take action on impeachment.
“We are going to remove Bush and Cheney from office whether Democrats want it or not,” he said.
Mrs. Sheehan, who gained national prominence as a war oppo- nent after her son died while serving in Iraq, told the crowd that her “biggest fear” is that her allies will relax now that Democrats are in charge of Congress.
“They’ve proven to us that we can’t relax,” she said.
Cindy Sheehan (right) on Jan. 3 criticized Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not including a debate on the Iraq war in her agenda for the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress.