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Peace activists mark 2,000th American military death in Iraq


By HOLLY RAMER
Associated Press Writer

Lara Grabazs participates in a vigil for the soldiers killed in the war in Iraq in front of the New Hampshire State House in Concord, N.H., Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2005. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Peace activists putting out a welcome mat for 2008 presidential hopefuls lined it with eight pairs of boots Wednesday, reminding would-be candidates of the eight New Hampshire soldiers who've died in Iraq.

Arnie Alpert, coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, said New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary gives the state a special opportunity to urge leading politicians to end the war.

"Already we are awash in people testing the waters for the 2008 race," he said at a vigil the day after U.S. military deaths in Iraq reached 2000.

"This time around, they're coming at us from both political parties," he said, reeling off a list of politicians who have visited the state recently or are planning trips soon.

"We need to find these guys when they come to New Hampshire," he said. "We need to get them and tell them: Not one more death. Not one more dollar," he said.

About 150 people with candles and signs joined Alpert outside the Statehouse, where boots bearing the names of the New Hampshire soldiers were placed in front of a memorial to those who gave their lives in previous wars.

Kathryn Doyle, 27, of Concord, said she has been protesting the war in Iraq since before it began.

"I think it is unjust," she said. "I don't believe we're either helping the Iraqis or the American soldiers in battle... Just because we've been there so long doesn't make it right."

Anne Miller of New Hampshire Peace Action urged the crowd to pressure the state's Congressional delegation to cut off funding for the war and bring the troops home, "or they will have no hope of re-election."

"Congressional will is lagging behind the will of the people," she said.

The speeches were briefly interrupted by a passer-by who questioned whether any of the peace activists had served in the military.

"Are you going to be willing to strap on a gun when the terrorists come here?" he shouted.

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