Friday, November 12, 2004

Video of Tanks at anti-war protest in LA

This makes me very sad.


Wait a minute:

There are conflicting reports about these tanks. Someone says they were there for a Veterans Day parade nearby.

Most even-handed comment:

I was among the protestors at the Federal Building on November 9th. I believe out nation faces profound risks and has lost its moral compass by adopting the Bush preemptive attack doctrine. His extraordinary and close-minded positions require extraordinary energy in opposition.

When the "tanks" (okay LAV's) passed us the first time, we all just found it to be utterly bizarre. When they came back, it seemed way past bizarre.

The comment under the lead "Robo Cop" says he was in one of the LAV's and that their visit was not part of some intended "fly by" exercise. I'm glad that he weighed in here; it is comforting to know that some of the soldiers know we are out here and participate in the discourse.

He doesn't say what they were doing there. Maybe, they were on some other top secret mission to protect Westwood (or just a little too embarrassed to admit that they couldn't navigate LA streets). I don't really buy either of those explanations, but I suppose I still believe his statement that this was not intimidation directed at the protest (since that goal wouldn't make sense either).

In the middle of the incident, I did not perceive any animosity from the soldiers on the LAV's (they actually seemed friendly). I also want to note that the LAPD, who stepped in, were also controlled and professional. Young men in uniform are instruments to carry out the policies of our country's leadership. Although that makes most of them pawns for George Bush's wrongheaded plans, many of them (unlike their commander in chief) are conscientious and openminded citizens. We don't want to alienate them unnecessarily. They are faced with a dilemma that no American should be forced to deal with.

In my view, the protestors were (in general) not hostile to the soldiers either -- although everyone was anxious to make it clear that U.S. military vehicles don't belong at antiwar protests for any reason. Oh, of course, a few protestors can't resist overstating the message when faced with troops and military vehicles. Hey, most people who take some hours out of their daily lives to hold signs on public streets have deeply felt emotions.

This "incident" arose in the context of post-election 2004. The Bush Administration has made it all too clear that they will now be increasingly aggressive in pursuing their extreme right wing agenda, both domestically and abroad, while reaching across the political spectrum to reconcile with everyone who agrees with that agenda (huh?).

So, I guess the Westwood incident was probably just some freaky thing. That was this time. But, in an odd way, this does foretell where we are headed.



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