Reflections on the Antiwar Movement

The first time I saw him, I was unimpressed.

Being a total ignoramus of the veteran,s movement, I had never heard of David Cline before. My very impressive political colleague Stan Goff, whom I had just met in person only an hour before at the Veterans For Peace convention in Dallas, TX, insisted on introducing me to the president of Veterans For Peace. While Stan was very enthusiastic about a United for Peace and Justice proposal for nonviolent civil disobedience at the White House after the September 24 demonstrations, David was slightly more cautious when I relayed it to him at this, our first meeting. He said it sounded okay, but he had to bring it up before the Veterans For Peace board.

Looking a bit unkempt in a tie-died t-shirt and some facial scruff, putting a damper on my obvious brilliance at political strategizing and tactical maneuvering, he unimpressed me.

After a full slate of well-organized and strong political sessions at the conference the next day, the evening entertainment offerings included a showing of the documentary “Sir, No Sir” which Stan and I went to watch. The entire documentary was extremely engaging and quite informative. I especially liked learning more about the underground G.I. Resistance press and the intensity of the actions that drafted young people had taken to avoid the killing in Vietnam.

Particularly compelling to me, however, were the clips from interviews with David Cline. As I heard him speak with the political clarity and practical wisdom I discovered he is well-known for, my jaw did a little hanging, and I got a bit of an education as he spoke to me from the screen. I was becoming impressed.

After the film, I went to catch up with my friend, Mike Hoffman, co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Mike had invited me to hang out with him and some other IVAWers for some late-night chilling and relaxing. I found a group of people sitting outside by a banquet tent on the lawn of the campus. Not simply all IVAWers, the crowd was generationally mixed, and good discussions abounded. The next night, after another heavy dose of great politics during the day, an albeit smaller group gathered on the lawn to decompress. A musician who had played at the convention earlier, was strumming his guitar, and leading a small circle of vets in song.

Over the next few hours, deep into the night, it became obvious that David had an internal play list and cultural appreciation that would run rings around any ClearChannel d.j. Now knowing he had three purple hearts, a deep history of anti-war and labor organizing, and an astute political analysis of the movement, as I listened to his perfect-pitch raw intonements, as he grabbed the guitar himself and strummed along – my appreciation for this man bloomed. The organizer in me was given an inspirational kick – knowing that David was toiling in the same movement as I, that he had helped to pave the way for my own activism — being with him in that moment bolstered my resolve to continue the struggle with fresh excitement and inspiration.

Reading past interviews with David in order to conduct one of my own solidified the fact that I was entirely and irretrievably inspired, moved, and yes: very much impressed. When he graciously agreed to meet with me in the Journal Square neighborhood of Jersey City, NJ, to discuss the September 24 demonstrations and the state of the anti-war movement, I was quite grateful that I was going to be able to share a little of the history, experience, and energy that David brings to every political campaign of which he is a part.

Walking along the “Main Street” sidewalks of the Square to a diner was a fitting prelude for this interview, as David instructed me on the Square’s past industrial hey-days, and present ethnic divisions and struggles. I inwardly cringed as we took a booth in the smoking section and he only ordered coffee as he lit up his first of many cigarettes.

I desperately want this comrade to be healthy and active for the next 50 years.

But he tells me he’s already eaten a bowl of cereal for breakfast, and he is looking more robust and well-rested than the last few times I’d seen him, so I’m a bit heartened. I start the interview by asking him to reflect on the impact and importance of the recent demonstrations in Washington, DC. In his contingent of Veterans for Peace, military families, and Iraq veterans, I observed that David’s anti-war cadences, his leadership, and his presence during the march were motivational for veterans and non-veterans alike. How did he assess how everything went?

With gusto, he responded, “I think that we had gotten the movement against the Iraq war back out on the streets in a big way. The numbers, 300,000… I think it was probably bigger than that, actually. It was a huge march, virtually impossible to judge unless we had a helicopter. But I think what we had was a big outpouring again of popular opposition to the war, and reflection of the majority opinion that the polls show.

“It was a demonstration that wasn’t a type that would alienate those that would support us. I think that sometimes with demonstrations – the issue may have mass support but the actions tend to alienate the people that we’re claiming to speak for. I don’t think that was the case with this one.

“The activities with Camp Casey were really good. The event we had on Friday night with the vigil and the candlelight procession to the Vietnam Wall was — well, looking at that blew my mind. Doing that was touching on emotions as well as politics. It wasn’t just a shrill thing, it was moving people on a lot of levels.”

And what about the role of veterans and military families, I asked.

David noted, “We had a huge contingent of veterans, and throughout the march and other sections people were wearing various paraphernalia identifying themselves as veterans or VFP or VVAW, or whatever members. The Washington Post, in their introduction to their article in defining the crowd, they used four different descriptions and one of them was “veterans in fatigues.”

“So I think the role of veterans and military families was much more recognized by both the people participating and to a certain degree by the media coverage, which means we were communicating more with the broader segments of the American public. I wish we would have emphasized the participation of labor a little more and things like that, but I thought that overall it was good.”

And how about the other activities during the weekend?

“The lobbying was a good thing. The civil disobedience played the role — which I said from the beginning was really just another crack at media coverage of the anti-war action. You know, some people were looking for these actions that were going to stop the war, which is sort of the American desire for a quick fix, which doesn’t happen. A lot of people do that: they’re looking for the quick fix. ‘If we all sit down and shut down Washington, the war is going to end.’ Well, I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s going to work that way.

“I haven’t yet talked to people in the different groups to see if there is a higher degree of unity in the broad coalition, in UFPJ. I’m not sure about that yet, but I didn’t hear of any major fallouts. So I think that people really have a sense of movement a lot more, and ‘moving movement’ not ‘stagnant movement’ or ‘retreating movement.’

“But any time you do an action, afterwards there’s always ‘What do we do now?’ I think that’s the real challenge the movement has: How to continue doing things when it’s not going to be a ‘just because we said so’ and the war stops. How do you keep building it up so it’s a political force that is victorious?”

So, of course the question begs, “What are the next steps for the movement?” and within those next steps, I asked David what he saw the role of veterans and military families playing.

“Well, I think to a certain degree that the objectives should be, first off, just keep out there, and use that to draw more people into active involvement. I think you always need to be doing more active involvement of more people, like expanding your ranks and keeping the hook to the base that you’re trying to represent, so you don’t take actions that alienate them or make them feel that it’s a different thing.

“And I think that these elections are significant. I don’t think the President means shit if the Congress is with you. And that’s what I think we need to pay some attention to. Not to say that we need to have a legislative-driven strategy — because the legislators only move when the people below them are calling for it. So that’s the key ingredient. And then trying to get people [legislators] that are moving. ‘Cause some of them just say, “F- you, I’m in office, I’ll do what I want, you know?

“There is opposition in Congress — that’s good. I really think that the 2006 elections on this Congress are going to have some significance, in terms of how many people — how many less pro-Bush Republicans there are. And they’re in disarray, too, but they’re not in disarray from the Left.

“I also think it’s about working in the areas of the so-called ‘red states,’ putting more attention to those areas, building the progressive movements there. I mean that was one of the reasons we held the [VFP] convention in Texas.”

He briefly laughs at the mention of the state, then quickly gets serious again and explains, There was a point where some people were starting to get nervous and they said maybe we should just do it in St. Louis [where VFP national offices are located] because we can pull it off easier logistically. We decided to stay with it and it turned out to be one of the best things we did.”

I wonder how all of these events and demonstrations, this anti-war energy in the country, is affecting Veterans For Peace as an organization.

David responds, “In August we had 145 new members, in September there were 199 new members, and our staff is unable to keep up with the stacks of applications that haven’t been dealt with yet.

“We’ve been growing several hundred per month. That’s a pretty good increase. If we could maintain 200 per month for a year that would be a 2,500 a year increase.”

He goes into the details of the organization’s makeup. “Our actual solid (paid) membership is about 4,250. One of the things about the veterans movement, and probably this is true about every movement, well, not the labor unions, but a lot of organizations: If you get a name and a social movement going, people will say they’re part of something while they may not join the organization and pay dues. Which we try to work against because the dues are our primary source of income to maintain a national office and service the chapters.

“But that’s always been an issue. VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against the War) at one point had 15,000 enrolled members, but the number of people who said they were members and still say they are members is two to three times that number.

“In fact, there used to be a saying that the only people that join an organization are the FBI.”

I get a big chuckle out of that.

He continues, “So you’ve got that phenomenon where people identify themselves as representing – so you’re always working against that.”

And how does Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) now fit into all of this? What is IVAW’s relationship with VFP? Administratively, I know that VFP is a fiscal sponsor of IVAW so it can receive tax-deductible donations.

Beyond that, David explains,A number of us have helped advise them. We have an interim steering committee which is made up of Iraq vets and also other people [who are all leading members of Veterans For Peace]: myself, Stan Goff, Frank Corcoran… We’re trying to get it so that the organization consists only of Iraq vets.”

Recounting the genesis of IVAW, David explains how Michael Hoffman [an Iraq war veteran with whom, at an anti-war conference in Toronto, I bonded because we discovered we grew up in nearby podunk towns in Northeastern Pennsylvania] had met some people from a Quaker group and decided to get involved in the peace movement. The Quakers steered him toward the Philadelphia chapter of VFP. At the next regional VFP meeting in the mid-Atlantic region Michael spoke at the meeting.

“He just told us of his experiences because he was the first returning Iraq vet many of us had talked to. Afterwards I know he and I sat down and talked about VVAW and he started picking my brain. I told Hoffman about some books on the history, but I basically told him how the thing developed. He actually at one point was going to start an organization by himself, and he had a name like Military Voices Against the Occupation, or something.

“I remember I had to spend some time convincing him to slow down. I told him, ‘Look, you can’t have an organization until you at least have two guys to have a meeting.’ You know – a one-person organization — what’s the meeting? He was all hot to start something.”

This also gave me another laugh, and a sense of silly pride. People have always told me to slow down, too. In fact, David had to call me recently to rein in a project I was initiating for the associates program of VFP. He was right to do that as well. I’m thinking that Mike and I may have gotten some extra juice from the anthracite coal particles in our drinking water growing up.

Eventually David said that Mike did slow down. And of course, more and more Iraq war veterans joined with Mike.

David said that when the group was trying to figure out a name, it was actually Daniel Ellsberg who advocated to them that they should use Iraq Veterans Against the War.

“Before that I had told them that if you use that name you may appear that you’re just sort of a clone of VVAW, but Ellsberg made an argument that you do want to say that you’re in that tradition. They bought that and that was a good choice, I think.”

The public premier of IVAW was launched at the Boston VFP convention. From there, the organization began working in the movement. Now, the key issue is how to build up the organization.

David observed, “They had a pretty good conference in Washington the day after the march. There were about 60 people and they’re trying to develop the office, a regional structure, the whole thing. So it’s a process.”

He started talking about the psychology of organizing veterans who are newly returned from war. Speaking from decades of experience, David explains, “I think with the
Iraq vets it’s just like it was with a lot of Vietnam vets. There are a lot of people who come back and they don’t want to jump into opposing the thing, they just want to try and make some sense out of what they’ve been through.

“But then there came a certain point where people just came back so mad that they said ‘I gotta do something.’ In that sense, a lot of the guys from VVAW who were in that boat were feeling ripped off, you know? There was a lot of anger of guys just coming back and saying ‘This is bullshit, I was ripped off, I’m going to protest.’ So I think there’s a buildup in terms of your presence and also a buildup of the anger of returning soldiers in terms of feeling ripped off. And at any given point there’s a thing that develops.

“Because they’re always throwing to you the bone of ‘You’re helping the people,’ ‘You’re doing good.’ They did that in Vietnam, too. They do civic action projects and always pump up the atrocities of the people you’re fighting. The U.S. government used to claim that the Viet Cong were worse than how they now say the insurgents are in Iraq! We were told ‘They’d march into villages and gut the people.’

“The government used terrorism as a tactic then as well — everyone uses terrorism in war. — They used to tell you that the Viet Cong would go into a village and take the village leader who’s hooked up with Saigon and disembowel him in front of everybody. And if they caught an American they would cut off his penis and balls and put them in his mouth. You know, they had a lot of things they would say. I think a lot of it — while anything may have happened – it wasn’t practiced. But they used to do the same thing back then with us.”

So what lessons are the returning Iraq veterans against the war learning from those veterans who struggled during the Vietnam anti-war era?

David responded, “Probably the biggest issues have been dealing with interpersonal ones, and the Iraq vets have the advantage of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] being recognized. VVAW was the one who started it. We used to call it post-Vietnam syndrome.

“When guys came back from Vietnam we used to say we’re different from our peers. A lot of times we used to say we’re old men in young men,s’ bodies.

“Jan Berry [founder of Vietnam Veterans Against the War] in his foresight talked with Robert J. Lifton and Chaim Shatan who are famous psychologists and had started a rap group in Manhattan. That’s where Lipton wrote the book, Home from War – in which he uses the term PVS. That started the movement, which eventually went to the American Psychiatrists Society and got post-traumatic stress added to the DSM3, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

“From there they advocated for the creation of the Vets Center program which Congress funded eventually as an independent storefront outreach program, and it still exists.

“Since then there’s been a lot of development in that area. Some of it good, some of it bad. The Veterans Administration increasingly uses pharmaceuticals as a way to address the issues as opposed to therapy, so the original idea was supposed to be healing and coming to terms with things, and using social action as a way of expressing your truth. Now they much more rather pill you up. So it hasn’t all been good, but at least the Iraq vets are able to operate in a climate where there is recognition and acknowledgement that there are emotional wounds from war.

“In fact sometimes it gets carried to the extreme: On the Northern bus tour, all the people on the bus tour were talking about they were PTSD victims and I was saying, wow, we’re really stretching the meaning of this now. Although there is such a thing as secondary PTSD.”

I tell David that I’m very sympathetic to the exaggerated claim of the Bring Them Home Now bus tour causing organizers and participants PTSD. When both the Northern and Central buses rolled through my city of Baltimore, the stop before their final destination of Washington, DC, I was inflicted with the messiest, behind-the-scenes organizing I’d ever seen. Luckily the events themselves turned out brilliantly.

David continued explaining that over the last period starting from the wars in Central America on, veterans through Veterans For Peace and through VVAW have become an up-front part of the peace movement.

“It’s been a growing thing because a lot of peace activists are vulnerable to the charges of unpatriotism. Veterans are at least to a certain degree an antidote to that. It reinforces other peace activists and that’s been more and more widely recognized so that now people would consider the veterans and military families, movement a central and leading part of the movement against the war in Iraq.

David had been answering a couple of calls to his cell while we had been talking, and I gathered that he had to get back home to a conference call soon. So even though I had this burning desire to camp out at the Jersey diner for the next four days, absorbing his memories, experiences, and analyses, I realized I had to try and wrap things up. Sneakily, I hit him with my gigantically broad questions, which would hopefully buy me more time than if I had asked punier, less complicated ones. I think it worked.

First, I wanted to get his sense of how he viewed the movement today. As someone who is committed to the struggle for the long haul, I was interested in his prioritization of issues, and the political framework in which he organized. Rather accurately, and in his natural and helpful habit of falling into comparative reflections between the Vietnam era and today, he offered his analysis.

“I can’t say I had a total overview of the movement during those days because I have a broader sort of landscape I look at now. I’ve grown a little wiser, grown older, too. But I would say that in what exists as a peace movement now, there’s a lot more of what I would call a petit bourgeois, or middle class, movement, almost like New Age. It is sort of like peace, separate from the struggle against policies of war.

“It is a ‘live peace’ lifestyle sort of thing, which I think has its benefits, but also doesn’t politically address what I consider a political question. It addresses it in lifestyle approaches and things like that, such as what you eat. So I think that that’s one thing that’s a stronger aspect now than it was then. Although the commune movement and the hippie movement was what sort of or at least part of where that came from.

“Today the issue of women’s participation is more accepted because of the women’s liberation movement, which was a new thing then. It is a fight that people acknowledge a lot more and don’t fight over in the same way today.

“The issues of black and people of color or minority involvement is still an unresolved issue that people don’t want to look at. In those days people looked at it a lot more because there was a much more active black movement: civil rights, SNCC, the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords party, the farmworkers’ movement. There was much more of a visible non-white movement than there is today, so people dealt with it much more. Whereas today, a lot of times people will simply give lip service to that.

“In VFP we keep bringing it up and trying to address it to the degree we can, such as in recruiting people. But if we don’t keep pounding on it, it always goes back to more women in the leadership. The argument for inclusion of women is always more established, and I’ve found that strange because the veteran community is overwhelmingly male. So while you certainly want to acknowledge women, it’s not a 50-50 thing. But when it comes to people who are black or Latino particularly — they represent at least a quarter to a third of the military — that doesn’t seem to be a priority in some people’s thinking as much. So that’s an ongoing thing.

“What rests behind all of that is the problem that people have made class consciousness another ‘ism.’ There’s sexism, racism, classism. And I think everything flows from the class structure of society. Racism — or white supremacy if you want to use more scientific or more accurate terms — white supremacy is part of the particular nature of the American capitalistic system, and class consciousness, including the anti-white supremist and chauvinist stance is a product of that system.

“But the class consciousness piece of it is sort of not seeing it in a class way, so I think that’s a weakness. Positively, however, I also think that people are looking more at practical tactics and trying to move things. Like the fact that we can incorporate lobbying without just being a lobbying group is preferable to denouncing bourgeois politicians. So it’s sort of a mixed bag. There are some positives but there are some fundamentals that I think should be more emphasized by the people that think that way.

“I think that the advances we’ve made of our voices being heard as veterans and military families which are not exclusively but significant numbers are coming from a working class place, that’s one part of it. I think that need to escalate the involvement of Labor Against the War and other labor formations is crucial, I think that’s one of the groups that always gets left out, and I think efforts have to be made to include them.

“Clergy, while not a class consciousness thing, is a very important component. I’m glad to see that the movement is doing work in that area, and I think that we have to do even more.

“We also have to do more work at the level of oppressed nationality communities — black, Latin, Asian, American Indian…”

In wrapping things up, I wanted David to contextualize the role of the U.S. military in global affairs, as well as the international role of the U.S. peace movement. He says that he had just been talking about the U.S. military with others, and that the United States is in a position where economically it’s falling down into a second-rate power.

“Its claim to being the superpower was ‘We have the best f-ing military in the world, man, no one can mess with us, you all better watch out.’ And now the United States military is in disarray and the rest of the world is looking at it and saying, ‘Wait a minute, this is the best and look at it: They’re in this position.’

David then cautions, “Now nothing’s permanent so they can regroup, which leaves them ultimately with saying, ‘Listen, we’ve got more nuclear bombs than all of you guys put together, so we’re still the Superpower…’ You know what I mean? The bargaining power of the ruling elite is to say ‘we’re not a second-rate power.’ Because their bargaining power certainly ain’t economic.

“It’s actually scary because if in fact, as the recognition grows that the conventional military is less powerful than it was projected to be, then people have to look for what gives them the power. And like I said that’s having enough nukes to blow up the world a hundred times over, or whatever it is.

“But obviously the role of the military is to be the enforcer to keep the United States as the ‘world leader’ and to impose will wherever they feel is appropriate. But a lot of that was based on the rhetoric of ‘the threat of’ — and that ‘threat of’ is getting holes shot through it. So it’s an interesting dynamic. It’s a scary one when you think about it as their going back to their last Ace in the hole, or that they could.”

Regarding the role of the U.S. anti-war movement, David begins by offering that the majority of people around the world have a certain amount of respect for America because of what’s perceived to be American economic standards and a perceived vision of democracy, that the rhetoric of democracy has been a revolutionary force in the world.

“It isn’t like people hate America. But when they see what the government does, that’s what people hate, and to the degree that there are voices in America rising up in opposition, fighting for the ideals and for justice – that’s important.

David tells me of this book called “The New Winter Soldiers” by Richard Moser. Moser conducts a whole analysis of the veteran and G.I. movement, and that his conclusion is that despite all the talk about radicalism, a lot of the movement was driven by trying to uphold the sort of basic democratic vision that people were brought up with, as opposed to the reality they confronted.

About Moser’s work David says, “I think that’s true. But I also believe that eventually the democratic vision leads you to collective ownership of the major wealth and not for private holding, and that’s where I’m coming from.

“So to a certain degree those voices of the movement give hope that it’s not just this monolithic America vs. the World, which of course the Bush Administration would cast in a negative light by saying that you’re encouraging the terrorists. But in fact it’s encouraging the people of the world to still believe that there’s hope — that you gotta destroy the monolith, and I think that’s a significant role.

“I remember, just as a particular example, before the war started we were getting a lot of press calls, I was getting a lot of press calls. A lot of those were foreign press, and I was saying, ‘This is all good, but we’re not reaching the American people, am I just wasting my time?’

“And then I started thinking, discussing it, and we came to the conclusion, ‘Well, you know, we’re ambassadors of goodwill for this country in spite of our government, you know, we’re not all the ugly American.’ So I changed my perspective a little.

“Beyond that, I think that we’re just players in the larger mix. We may have a special position in terms of the actual power lineup, but we can learn as much from them as anyone else.

“I think that one of the weaknesses is that some people like to just badmouth America. Some people and especially the petit bourgeois element which I explained before are quite comfortable with just trashing everything about America. I think that’s not what other people think, and I think they’re out of touch with the rest of the world also. Almost like it’s moral witness type of stuff that’s not even that moral in my opinion.

“We are in an era of globalization which means that whether you want to call yourself a patriot or not, things have gone beyond nation-states and you have to think more on a global scale.

As a final example David offers, “The issue of cheap labor in Asia is not going to be resolved by embargoes on Chinese or Vietnamese goods, it’s going to be resolved by trying to get a more uniform living standard throughout the world. Which means elevating the countries in the Third World. That’s the only solution. Everything else is just temporary solutions that don’t even work.

“So we’ve gotta play our part. I think you still keep calling it ‘fighting for the concept of patriotism,’ but that has several meanings so you have to define that and you gotta think beyond nation-state. Not even that you want to – even if you didn’t want to, capitalism has gone to that level so if they are — we have to.”

* * *

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

What I appreciate about David is his broad analysis, the wisdom he has gained through struggling against war since Vietnam. I appreciate how he connects war to broader injustice caused by an exploitative economic system. I appreciate that he soldiers on through the long, dark winters of the movement, picking up people like me and letting us ride with him into warmer and easier springs.

As we step outside into the dreary streets of Journal Square, gazing at faded buildings that fall inadequate to the eye because of their towering counterparts across the river, the autumn chill is in the air. Somehow with such a role model beside me, my surroundings only inspire.

We’ve got many passing seasons ahead of us. But as we steal from the ranks of the killing machines and grow our numbers instead into the peace movement, as rank and file workers join with veterans and their families, as students defy recruiters and parents hold on to their children, standing beside our winter soldiers from yesteryear keeps us warm. The white hot coals of justice and peace burn only as they can through every winter we are made to endure.

Talking with David, who I know is simply one of many leaders of the anti-war movement, has once again renewed my faith and confidence in our work. The anti-war movement will bring the troops home from Iraq, we will force our government to make reparations to the people of that devastated country. And I know we won’t stop there. We can and shall create the world that is possible. And in that world, the winters will be as glorious as the summers.

“The present winter is worth an age, if rightly employed; but, if lost or neglected, the whole continent will partake of the evil; and there is no punishment that man does not deserve, be he who, or what, or where he will, that may be the means of sacrificing a season so precious and useful.”

Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

* * *

David Cline, is president of “Veterans for Peace,” the largest antiwar vets group in the United States, and coordinator of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. During his tour of duty in Vietnam, he was wounded three times and received three Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star for bravery, the Combat Infantryman Badge and other Vietnam service medals. He is permanently disabled from his war wounds.

After his return to the United States from Vietnam, David joined the growing antiwar movement. While still on active duty, he marched in several protest demonstrations and helped produce the underground GI newspaper, Fatigue Press, at Ft. Hood, Texas.

After his discharge, he stayed in Texas to continue organizing GIs and joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War in 1970. He also has many years of involvement in the labor movement as a rank and file activist, shop steward, and local officer in the Bakery & Confectionary Workers, American Postal Workers, and Transport Workers unions.

David is the co-founder and president of the Jersey City Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee, which dedicated a memorial in 2001 for the 64 local men who died in the war. He has lived in Jersey City, New Jersey, for over 30 years.

VIRGINIA RODINO is co-Director of Democracy Rising and an administrative steering committee member of United for Peace and Justice. Her opinions are her own. Comments can be posted on her blogspot at