Repeating history in a lifetime, the Vietnam War protester Jane Fonda took to the stage and addressed the masses in the anti-war demonstration as tens of thousands massed to demand that Congress cut off funds for the Iraq war.
“I haven’t spoken at an anti-war rally for 34 years,” said Fonda, whose visit to Hanoi in 1972 outraged many pro-Vietnam War Americans and damaged her career for awhile.
“But silence is no longer an option,” she said to cheering protesters.
The enormous protest met at the foot of the US Capitol, home of the US legislature, chanting, “Bring the troops home now” and waving banners that declared “Escalation in Iraq? Wrong Way.”
The protest came ahead of an expected vote in the US Senate in early February on a non-binding resolution condemning the latest strategy of President George W. Bush, which if happens as planned will deploy 21,500 additional troops to civil war beseiged Iraq in an attmept to put a lid on the intense carnage, reported the Washington Post.
The protesters will demand a binding resolution to cut off funds for the war.
“Our fellow Americans are dying as we stand here today,” said actor Sean Penn. “We’re going to push this until this resolution is binding, the money stops and the troops come home.”
The crowd heard addresses from more than a dozen veterans, anti-war activists, religious leaders, Hollywood stars and political leaders like the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
“Keep hope alive. No more death. Keep hope alive. No more money. Keep hope alive. Bring the troops home,” chanted Civil Rights leader Jackson.
Several legislators have introduced or proposed binding legislation to cap the number of US troops in Iraq or to cut funds to force an exit, but prospects for any to be passed by the Senate are considered low when they come up for debate next month.
Newsweek conducted a poll that revealed Americans feel Congress wimps out and isn’t aggressive in challenging Bush on Iraq policy.
The poll said 64 percent believed the legislature has not been assertive enough over Iraq, while 27 percent felt it was doing enough.
Along with Fonda and Penn, Susan Sarandon, Dick Gregory and Tim Robbins were present, labeling the Bush government a “mean-spirited, vengeful administration.”
She said her daughter and two granddaughters were with her at the protest.
“I’m very proud that they’re here, but I’m so sad that we still have to do this, that we did not learn the lessons from the Vietnam War,” Fonda said.
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