2009/04/06:Daily Cardinal: Protestors want change in U.S. war involvement - MAPC, CAN, IVAW

Protestors want change in U.S. war involvement

By: Joe Skurzewski /The Daily Cardinal  - April 6, 2009

Demonstrators protested the United States’ involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan during a march to the Capitol Saturday, criticizing how the Obama administration has been handling the wars.

By: Kyle Bursaw /The Daily Cardinal
To protest the United States’ involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, demonstrators march from Library Mall to the Capitol Saturday.

Antiwar protesters marched from Library Mall to the Capitol Saturday to voice their opposition to the United States’ presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The rally, organized by the Madison Area Peace Coalition, featured speeches from students and veterans representing groups such as the Campus Anti-war Network and Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Protesters criticized the Obama administration for its actions with regard to the two wars.

“I think that the lack of accountability of our government, as well as the violence, comes down through our whole society and our reputation in the world,” said Joelle Petersen, a volunteer for MAPC.

UW-Madison senior Jessie Otradovec spoke to the crowd on behalf of CAN.

“[Obama] uses rhetoric to rejustify the occupation of Iraq as a project of securing the country and leaving,” she said.

Otradovec also said that the social status of women in Afghanistan has actually worsened since the invasions, citing legislation that she said made it illegal for an Afghan woman to refuse her husband’s sexual advances.

Members of IVAW also criticized the actions of the current administration. Madison native Nathan Toth served in the Navy on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt during the initial invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“That’s not real change. That’s not the change that the American people wanted,” he said.

Chants of “no blood for oil” and “no justice, no peace” rang in the air as the crowd marched down State Street. Customers in restaurants along the street looked on as the crowd made its way to the Capitol.

Marchers placed cardboard cutout tombstones on the Capitol’s front lawn to honor those from Wisconsin who have fallen in the wars, then listened to more speeches.

“It’s good to keep this in the front of our minds,” said Phoebe Taurick, a UW-Madison senior who participated in the rally. Taurick, who grew up in rural Wisconsin, said many high school students in her community went into the military to get money for college.

“It’s these people, these working-class people that are actually going off and fighting and dying,” she said.