Oregon Groups Denounce Military Action

By By U Wire

By U Wire

EUGENE, Ore.?Eugene, Ore., peace groups gathered in the EMU Amphitheater on Sunday to protest the United States? military action against Afghanistan.

Nearly 150 people attended the rally, which was organized in part by the University of Oregon Survival Center. The protest, part of a national day of action for peace called by the National Coalition for Peace and Justice, was scheduled before the United States began air strikes Sunday morning, but the focus of the rally remained the same: ?One planet, one future, one people.?

The demonstration opened in song, continued for more than an hour with speeches and ended with a march around campus. Speakers touched on everything from their frustrations concerning government policy to their disappointment with the American public?s response to U.S. military action.

University sociology professor Michael Dreiling said 90 percent of the U.S. population supports military action against terrorism, a fact that has him just as scared as he was after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

?I?m confused on how to communicate to this 90 percent,? Dreiling said. ?I want to say they are being ignorant, stupid, racist?but these are words of anger. They won?t create a connection, and people won’t understand hurtful words.?

Dreiling also said that the symbols that were attacked?the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?are symbols of capitalism and military might, which have escalated the poor foreign policy that instigated these attacks.

?Look, there is a shadow that hovers over the United States of America?it?s our foreign policy,? Dreiling said.

Several speakers concentrated on America’s poor governmental operations and the country?s inability to become part of a global community.

Stan Taylor, a political science instructor at Lane Community College, said Congress is working to pass what?s known as ?fast track? legislation, or the Presidential Trade Authority. This legislation, he said, paves the way for the passage of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, as well as other global economic unions. It allows Congress to pass trade policies in less than 24 hours with virtually no debate.

?Bush talks about fighting for good and democracy,? Taylor said. ?But he is pushing for legislation that takes away our democracy.?

Taylor suggested people contact their legislators and voice their concerns. Bevin Gilmore, a New York native, encouraged the crowd to ?use strong words? when speaking with their legislators.

?They are exploiting the deaths,? she said. ?They are traitors to our country.?

Activists also performed songs relevant to the crowd?s sentiments.