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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Protesters going too far to denounce war

Since the outbreak of war between the United States and Iraq, antiwar protests have attracted hundreds of thousands of people. According to San Francisco-based Newschannel 8, the war has stirred one of the broadest rounds of antigovernment protesting in years, with demonstrations and civil disobedience occurring in dozens of cities coast to coast. CNN reported that last Thursday alone was one of the heaviest days of antigovernment protesting in years. And while most of these protests have remained peaceful, some have resulted in considerable delays, damage and violence, needlessly raising tensions among American citizens.
The New York Times reported that more than 1,300 protesters were arrested in San Francisco on March 20, the first full day of war. Most demonstrators were peaceful, but others used obstructive tactics to paralyze traffic. Some opened fire hydrants, smashed police car windows, set hay bales ablaze and vomited on the pavement in front of a federal building. Newschannel 8 said pockets of protesters scuffled with police and heaved newspaper racks and debris into the streets. One protester, in a rope and harness, even committed suicide by letting himself fall from the Golden Gate Bridge as police tried to coax him to safety, according to CNN. As Assistant Police Chief Alex Fagan Sr. said, “We went from what I would call ‘legal protests’ to absolute anarchy.” �
Protesters smashed windows at a McDonald’s restaurant, set an American flag on fire and sprayed graffiti in Portland, Ore., according to Newschannel 8. Other events of this nature occurred in major cities around America.
MTV broadcasted thousands of people gathered and blocking traffic in Times Square in protest of the war in Iraq. Most signs were prayerful and polite, but some contained expletives and proclaimed such things as “Bomb Texas” and “Bush is a Lunatic.”
It was shocking and infuriating to see some of the protesters in New York City display such animosity towards their fellow Americans with signs proclaiming “Bomb Texas.”
Have these protesters so quickly forgotten the events of Sept. 11, and how people all over America, including Texans, offered them their prayers and support? Surely they would not wish that kind of tragedy and horror on other U.S. citizens.
While it is the constitutional right of Americans to speak freely against things that they believe violate their own systems of morals and beliefs, when protests become violent, destructive and disrespectful, they cross the line.
These protesters should remember that if they were to speak out against the government under Saddam Hussein in Iraq, they would most likely be jailed or killed.
Peacefully protesting a war that you do not support, such as the people on Texas A&M’s campus have done, is one thing, but using these antiwar protests as an excuse to initiate violence, fear and chaos is wrong. While protesters may not agree with President George W. Bush’s foreign policy, they should still show respect for the leaders of our nation and their fellow citizens. Peace is not achieved through acts of violence and destruction. As Robert Strickland, an Army veteran, told Newschannel 8, “The debate is over, we’ve had the debate. It’s time to rally around our troops and rally around our leaders.”
Injuring police officers, defacing and destroying other Americans’ property and other criminal forms of protest are extremely hypocritical to the ideals of peace and non-violence that protesters claim are the basis for their objections. The groups that perform these types of actions undermine the peaceful stance of the majority of antiwar protesters, such as those who have held rallies around the A&M campus.
No one enjoys war, and no one wants war. Bush has made an extremely difficult decision, one he believes is the right one, and Americans can only hope that everything will turn out for the best. If people believe that war is not the answer, they should proclaim this belief in a constructive manner, continuing to exhibit respect for their president, their fellow Americans and the troops who, at this very moment, are putting their lives on the line.

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