Members of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition called on President Bush to immediately remove troops from Iraq and to allocate greater resources for its reconstruction at a panel discussion at the National Press Club Wednesday.
The panel included former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton and Muslim activist Mahdi Bray.
In front of a backdrop reading “No War for Empire,” “Fight the New Colonialism” and “Money for Jobs Not War,” A.N.S.W.E.R. speakers announced that they are planning the biggest anti-war rally in U.S. history for Oct. 25.
“We’re here today to announce the U.S. peace movement will be involved in a massive effort to stop Bush’s war now and demand that the war money be used instead to meet human need in Iraq,” said Brian Becker, director of A.N.S.W.E.R., which stands for “Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.”
“Iraq did not pose danger, would not welcome U.S. soldiers, and was not at all linked to 9/11,” Becker continued. “We said that in the beginning and now we know we were right.”
The march, which will include anti-war groups from many different nations, is planned to surpass an A.N.S.W.E.R. pre-war rally that took place last February.
Gumbleton, auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, called on the American people to reject the policies of the Bush administration, which he said are “clearly immoral and unjustified”.
Peta Lindsay, a sophomore at Howard University, called the war a “rich man’s war.”
Bray invoked God and called the United States an “empire.”
“I was here to resist war in Vietnam, and now a grandfather, I’m still here,” he said. “How cruel! We go in and install democracy in a nation like we are the cableman hooking up a TV.”
When asked if the world was a better place without Saddam Hussein in power, Gumbleton told The Hatchet, “Yes, certainly – he was a very brutal dictator, I would though, have rather seen a trial or prison time but our government has had other intentions.”