(CNSNews.com) - Veterans opposed to the war in Iraq gathered near the Capitol Thursday protesting the administration's policies and calling for the president to be impeached, but a group that supports U.S. troops and their mission in Iraq slammed anti-war protestors for "undermin[ing] the war effort."
A small group of Veterans for Peace (VFP) activists urged Congress to begin impeachment investigations on the grounds of violations of the Constitution and the rights of Americans.
Protestor Mike Marceau, a Vietnam veteran, told Cybercast News Service that he intended to keep the oaths he took when he enlisted to protect the country from its enemies, adding: "Not all enemies are outside the boundaries of this country."
"We need to get our troops out no matter what happens [because] this war was based on lies and misrepresentation of intelligence," he said.
"The people on November 7 voted for change, and we're here to make sure that the new senators and representatives keep their promise."
"Stop the madness of George Bush" was the theme of the demonstration. Protestors' placards bore slogans including "Bush Lied about Everything" and "Real patriots defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic."
In an earlier statement announcing the event, VFP President David Cline accused President Bush of seeing the constitution as "no more than a piece of paper."
"It is obvious the Bush administration has no intention of following the will of the people. He has told us, over and over again, he will not stop the war."
Cline has been calling for the impeachment of President Bush since 2005, when he sent a letter to Congress pressing for action.
"We have to curtail the power of the executive so that whoever is in office next knows that there are limitations to that power," VFP Executive Director Michael McPhearson told Cybercast News Service .
"We need to impeach this president so we can get back on track and grow this country the way it should be," McPhearson, who has served in Iraq and whose son is currently serving there, said in remarks at the event
Jeff Millard, also a veteran of the Iraq war, challenged Congress to take away funding for the war, impeach the president and put in place a comprehensive bill to support the troops when they return.
During the rally, protestors read sections of the Constitution which they claim are being ignored. They also accused Bush of ignoring the Nuremberg Tribunal Charter and the Geneva Convention.
Melanie Morgan, chairman of the conservative pro-troop organization Move America Forward, was critical of the protestors.
"The Islamic terrorist groups who have attacked America over and over again have made it clear that they view Iraq as the front lines in their war against the West, and they have pledged to defeat us there," she told Cybercast News Service.
"There is no alternative for us but to win the war against Islamic terrorists. When groups like Veterans for Peace and Code Pink undermine the war effort, then they are basically doing the work for the terrorists here in this country."
Morgan was also critical of press reporting that focuses on bad news in Iraq.
"When I speak to our troops, they tell me how annoyed they are at the negative media coverage that emphasizes the bad news but ignores the overwhelming good news of success that is occurring in Iraq," she said. "This constant drumbeat of distorted news has caused too many Americans to believe our efforts our futile.
"Our troops want and deserve the support of the American people. Organizing rallies where the important missions our troops are serving on are demeaned and denounced is not helpful," Morgan said.
Thursday's event was a precursor to a larger anti-war march planned for Saturday.
Lawmakers in both chambers are currently considering two bills that call for a cut in funding for the war and advise against the president's proposed troop "surge."
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