Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com) - A coalition of left-wing activists, clergy and students expects "hundreds of thousands" of people will join them Saturday in Washington, D.C., to protest and condemn Congress for allowing the Bush administration to pursue a "morally reprehensible" war against the Iraqi people.
Representatives of A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) claim Congress did not represent the American people when it passed an "illegal resolution" authorizing President Bush to use military force against Iraq.
The group claims that the $355 billion defense bill that Bush signed Wednesday could be better spent funding domestic projects as opposed to preparing for an "illegal war" against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, said the administration's claim that it is justified in going to war because Iraq has stockpiled weapons of mass destruction is "bogus."
"This is not about weapons of mass destruction," he said. "This is about oil."
Bray said the administration would never pursue the use of military force against North Korea, which is widely believed to possess weapons of mass destruction, because the Asian nation is not capable of supporting America's "addiction" to oil.
"Basically, just like a junkie in terms of dope-fiend behavior, we're willing to do anything get that fix," he said. "Can't get it loose without that juice."
Bray and others who have been critical of the president's handling of the war on terror will address anti-war protesters gathered steps away from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial tomorrow. Prominent speakers included on A.N.S.W.E.R.'s list include: Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark.
McKinney has been outspoken in her opposition to a unilateral war against Iraq, claiming that reports of Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological weapons have been "exaggerated." The outgoing congresswoman voted against the House resolution Oct. 10 that authorized the president to use military force against Iraq.
Jackson recently said any military effort waged against Iraq would be an attempt by the Bush administration to "rule the world." He warned that launching a war against Iraq would "destabilize the Persian Gulf; leave the whole world in danger and invite more violence here into our own country."
"We must be a leader of the world," Jackson said, "not a ruler of the world."
In addition to its lineup of high-profile speakers such as McKinney, Jackson and Sharpton, A.N.S.W.E.R. has enlisted more than 30 representatives from pacifist groups, veterans' organizations, pro-Arab groups, labor unions, socialists and celebrities.
A.N.S.W.E.R. also boasts that its protest movement has received the endorsement of more than 3,500 worldwide organizations that are aligned against the Bush administration's plans to launch what is says is an unjust war against Iraq.
Among the groups that A.N.S.W.E.R. includes on its online list of endorsers are:
- Dogs for Democracy/Paws for Peace - A group of "activist canine companions to those weary warriors fighting the Bush occupation."
- Mad Anarchist Bakers League - An anti-globalization activist group that advocates throwing pies at world leaders.
- Fruitarian Network - An Ohio activist group that advocates eating a fruit-only diet to achieve "world peace and justice" and overcome various social ills.
- The Raelian Movement - A religious cult that believes humans were created by "scientists from another planet."
- Bus Riders Union of Los Angeles - Civic group composed of Los Angeles residents who are dependent upon city buses for daily transportation.
- The Harlem Tenants Council - Civic group that defends the legal rights of low-income housing residents and small businesses in Harlem, N.Y.
A.N.S.W.E.R. also announced its members will circulate the "People's Anti-War Referendum" during Saturday's demonstration and in the upcoming months. The referendum is intended to show that millions of Americans reject the notion that Congress represented the will of the people when they authorized the use of force against Iraq.
The referendum which states, "I vote no to war," will be tallied in early January 2003 by A.N.S.W.E.R. and brought to Congress when the group returns to Washington in mid-January to host a mass peace demonstration planned to coincide with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.
E-mail a news tip to Michael L. Betsch.
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