- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 19, 2023

Several hundred protesters gathered in Washington on Sunday to oppose continued U.S. support for Ukraine as it fights off Russian aggression.

The event, which was billed as the March Against the War Machine rally, was put on by a constellation of libertarian and far-left groups. Speakers accused President Biden and Congress of bringing the U.S. to the brink of nuclear war.  

“This proxy war that we’re fighting against Russia right now could turn at any moment into a direct conflict between the United States and NATO and Russia, a country that has more nuclear weapons than any other in the world,” said former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.

A one-time Democrat who challenged Mr. Biden for the 2020 White House nomination, Ms. Gabbard said the only way to prevent a nuclear war was to divert money from the “military-industrial complex” and put it toward “peace, prosperity, and freedom.”

Apart from opposing further U.S. financial support for Ukraine, the rally’s organizers and speakers argued for slashing the Pentagon budget, disbanding NATO, abolishing the CIA, and freeing Julian Assange.

The focus largely remained on Ukraine, however, as exhibited by Ms. Gabbard’s former House colleagues, Texas Republican Ron Paul and Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich.

Mr. Paul accused the White House and the Congressional leaders of relying on propaganda to sell the American public on continued support for Ukraine.

Mr. Kucinich, meanwhile, accused Mr. Biden of having bombed the Nordstream 2 natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

“We will not rest until you are held accountable by Congress, by the International Criminal Court, and by the American people at the next election,” Mr. Kucinich said.

Most of the other speakers at the event were professional activists, some of whom have worked as contributors or hosts for Kremlin-controlled RT America.

Chris Hedges, for example, hosted a show on the Russian-state-controlled news network before it was booted by U.S. cable providers last year amid the invasion of Ukraine.

The RT connection was not lost on attendees, some of whom showed up waving Russian flags or sporting clothing with the symbols and colors representative of the nation.

“I see the Russian flags out there,” said Tara Reade, a one-time RT contributor who accused Mr. Biden of sexual assault during the 2020 campaign. “You are not our enemy. China is not our enemy. The military-industrial complex hijacked the Democratic and Republican parties.”

Despite the event being planned for months and getting a shoutout from Tucker Carlson on Fox News, only several hundred people attended.

Given that the rally kicked off at the Lincoln Memorial, some of the individuals standing around and listening admitted they were only tourists who happened to stumble upon the event.

Several attendees blamed the poor showing on “the corporate media,” which they claimed ignored the rally was taking place.

“We’re out here showing a dissenting opinion,” said Skyler Broughton, a 27-year-old attendee from Maryland. “You didn’t see the New York Times or Fox News promoting this event because it goes against the status quo. We’re out here saying Ukraine is not winning, the endless wars have to stop.”

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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