- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 15, 2003

Drawing on imagery from the Vietnam War era, anti-war activists are planning demonstrations, peace vigils and civil disobedience at the U.S. Capitol as part of an 11th-hour effort to stop a conflict in Iraq.
Along with a demonstration at noon today at the Washington Monument will be similar demonstrations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo and in several European cities.
Tomorrow evening, 2,816 cities in 98 countries have signed up for candle-light vigils against the looming war, including one from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Memorial. Sixties-era musicians Peter, Paul and Mary will be among those appearing. An unknown number of activists are expected to conduct civil disobedience on Capitol Hill Monday morning.
"We urge this administration to listen to these voices and prayers," said former Rep. Tom Andrews, a Maine Democrat who now heads Win Without War, a coalition of peace groups. "We are disappointed there has not been clearer and louder voices of support in Congress. There's a political maxim: We cannot always get a politician to see the light, but you can get him to feel the heat."
Yesterday, Mr. Andrews at a press conference presented a petition signed by 70 politicians who served in Congress during the 1970s and were active against the Vietnam War. Only four of the signers were Republicans: former Reps. Paul Findley of Illinois, Charles Whalen of Ohio, Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey Jr. of California and Jim Weaver of Pennsylvania.
"For this country to say the way to settle arguments is through war is just unbelievable," said Berkley Bedell, a former congressman from Iowa.
Elizabeth Holtzman, a former congresswoman from New York who sued the U.S. government in the 1970s to stop bombing in Cambodia, said the Bush administration was not understanding history's lessons.
"The doctrine of pre-emption has been used before by the Japanese," she said. "It's called Pearl Harbor."
She added: "Vietnam started with lies. We were told the Gulf of Tonkin was an attack. That was a lie. We were told Saddam Hussein was responsible for September 11. That was a lie."
The Gulf of Tonkin incident was a purported 1964 attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on an American destroyer, an incident that helped President Johnson get congressional support for the war.
Former Rep. Robert F. Drinan, a Jesuit priest who represented Massachusetts from 1971 to 1981 before Pope John Paul II ordered him to leave politics, said the Iraq conflict "is the wrong war at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons."
He added that "virtually every religious group in the country" opposes the war, citing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, overseeing 63 million Catholics, as well as denominations represented by the 36-member National Council of Churches. NCC General Secretary Bob Edgar, a former Pennsylvania congressman who wore a peace-sign button at the press conference, said the two groups have a total representation of 120 million.
When asked about America's 45 million evangelical Christians, 5 million Mormons, 16 million Southern Baptists and various conservative Lutheran, Presbyterian, charismatic and Pentecostal groups that do not belong to the NCC, Mr. Edgar responded by saying: "there are fundamentalists who are blindly supporting the president."
Couchell Dimitrios, a spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, which represents 2 million believers, said it was an "overstatement" to say all Orthodox Christians oppose the war.
"Our church has not spoken out specifically on that," he said. "We are against war in general."

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