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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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Protesters oppose war

More than 50 demonstrators, including students, faculty and community members, gathered at the Academic Plaza Wednesday to denounce the United States’ impending war against Saddam Hussein.
Most protesters were members of an organization called the Brazos Antiwar Coalition, a group less than two months old that has already hosted several demonstrations on campus.
Some of the protesters opposed the war because it could further damage the economy. Most objected because of the cost in human life on both sides of the conflict.
“We consider the money that will be spent on this war – the modest estimates are $100 billion – to be a theft from the poor, a theft from the students,” said Ozlem Altiok, a public administration graduate student and co-founder of the Brazos Antiwar Coalition. “We don’t believe this war is worth the lives of the soldiers of this country. War is a last resort and this war is unjust and illegal.”
Veterans from previous wars also spoke to the assembled demonstrators.
“There was anxiety before the Korean War. The lack of anxiety now on the part of the media and the administration is frightening. I think (President George W.) Bush regards this as an arcade game,” said Doug Stocks, a Korean War veteran. “I remember all I wanted was to go to sea and get medals. Then the bodies started coming in.”
Disabled Vietnam veteran Ray White described “a hole in the soul” that all combat veterans carry within them as a result of having had to kill another human being.
White said there are high rates of post traumatic stress syndrome in veterans of previous wars, as well as higher rates of divorce, parental problems, mental illness, suicide and drug and alcohol abuse among veterans.
“It is true that war is hell, and for soldiers, it’s a hell that never ends,” White said.
White said that Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld never served in combat and therefore are not capable of making the decision to go to war.
“Those three men don’t have a hole in their souls, and I don’t want them making decisions for me,” he said.
White encouraged everyone to express his or her views on war publicly.
“If you are against the war, stand up. I don’t even care if you’re prowar. Stand up, be counted,” White said. “Let your voice be heard. If you’re not sure, study, examine both sides. This is not the time for fence-sitting.”
Students with views opposed to those of the demonstrators were also on hand to express their opinions.
“You can’t leave a madman with weapons of mass destruction. How many times have we told him to disarm? We even gave him a month extension. If we keep extending this our word will be worth nothing,” said Chris Chamberlin, a senior mechanical engineering major.
To protestors the military campaign against Iraq initiated Wednesday, the antiwar demonstrators will march from the Unitarian Center to the George Bush Presidential Library Complex at 6 p.m. and hold a candlelight vigil.

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