This Can't Be Happening
BY MICHAEL MCAULIFF
New York Daily News
WASHINGTON - (KRT) - The Pentagon will hold a massive march and country music concert to mark the fourth anniversary of Sept. 11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an announcement tucked into an Iraq war briefing Tuesday.
"This year the Department of Defense will initiate an America Supports Your Freedom Walk," Rumsfeld said, adding that the march would remind people of "the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation."
The march will start at the Pentagon, where nearly 200 people died on Sept. 11, and end at the National Mall with a show by country star Clint Black.
Word of the event startled some observers. "I've never heard of such a thing," said John Pike, who has been a defense analyst in Washington for 25 years and runs GlobalSecurity.org.
The news also reignited debate and anger over linking Sept. 11 with the war in Iraq.
"That piece of it is disturbing since we all know now there was no connection," said Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq veteran who heads Operation Truth, an anti-administration military booster.
Rieckhoff suggested the event was an ill-conceived publicity stunt. "I think it's clear that their public opinion polls are in the toilet," he said.
Rumsfeld's walk had some relatives of Sept. 11 victims fuming.
"How about telling Mr. Rumsfeld to leave the memories of Sept. 11 victims to the families?" said Monica Gabrielle, who lost her husband in the attacks.
Administration supporters insisted Rumsfeld was right to link Iraq and Sept. 11, and hold the rally.
"We are at war," said Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y. "It's essential that we support our troops."
He also said attacking Iraq was necessary after Sept. 11. "You do not defeat al-Qaida until you stabilize the Middle East, and that's not possible as long as Saddam Hussein is in power."
This is despicable on so many levels I don't know where to start.
Maybe you do, PeaceBangers.
One of my first lucid thoughts, after the first thought about picking up and just moving to Canada immediately (seriously: when I got back to the U.S. after a week away and saw again how unhappy, obnoxious, aggressive, pathologically competitive and generally caddish Americans are, I never wanted to leave the house) is to think about George Lakoff and his "frames" concept.
Doesn't this event strike you as a conscious effort to steal a time-honored, popular form of progressive, liberal activism (broad, non-violent community presence + artistic performance= world peace) and co-opt it for perverse reasons?