by Debra Sweet Washington was strangely quiet yesterday, in contrast to 2009. Though hundreds of thousands came out to the Mall to celebrate another term for Barack Obama, there wasn't bubbling, hopeful excitement in the air this time.
There was really a contrast to the inauguration day in 2005, when those of us protesting the war were assaulted by cowboy hat-wearing bullies cheering on W. Then, there were thousands of us protesting the war, yesterday there were hundreds, the fruit of a Commander in Chief who has sold many people on supporting what they opposed under Bush.
But atmospherics, language, and cultural references aside (can you imagine W knowing what the word "Stonewall" connotes, much less using it in a positive way?), Obama's address was an endorsement of empire and American power with a big lie: "a decade of war is now ending."
Yesterday morning, we had a block-long march down 16th Street toward the White House. Too few of us, though spirited. We put together the largest fleet of replica Reaper drones to date — five — to dramatize the illegitimacy of the war on terror across, now, eight countries. We protested:
The spreading “war on terror” from Iraq and Afghanistan, to Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, the Philippines and now Mali, conducted by the U.S. in violation of borders and international law. U.S. occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan failed in protecting civilians (casualties from NATO/US strikes went up when Obama sent more troops to Afghanistan). The president has given himself the power of targeted assassination.
A system begun illegally by the Bush regime of indefinite and secret detention without charge and torture (“enhanced interrogation” still authorized in the Army Field Manual). Guantanamo is still open despite most prisoners having been cleared. The U.S. detains thousands in Afghanistan without charge or trial.
Spreading domestic surveillance in laws signed by Obama, including the National Defense Authorization Act authorizing the president to hold anyone, including U.S. citizens, anywhere without charge or trial, indefinitely.
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