M 7 Bloomington Peace Action Coalition M 6

Photos, Video, and Reports from
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
"Five Years Too Many ~ PEACE NOW!"
Bloomington, Indiana
Demonstration and Action

More than 280 people participated in Bloomington , Indiana's ”5 Years Too Many” End-the-War Event on March 19, 2008.

Temperatures hovered in the upper 30's to lower 40's with drizzle to light rain throughout.

Nearly 180 people marched from Sample Gates to the Courthouse Square .

Fourteen or fifteen people participated in the Die-In at the Indiana National Guard recruiting office. Five activists remained in a blocking posture at the doorway for nearly 1 ½ hours in the rain, until after the office closed and the police left the scene. No arrests occurred.

About 80 people processed to Showers Plaza , in front of City Hall, to hear U.S. Congressional candidates speak. Democrats John Bottorff and Gretchen Clearwater, and Libertarian Eric Schansberg all spoke about ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

More than 200 hand-written postcards calling for an end to the war were delivered to Congressman Baron Hill's District Director John Zody and other staff.

Thank you to all who spoke, marched, wrote messages, acted, served as ‘Peacekeepers', organized, and in whatever way participated for Peace, in Bloomington on March 19th .

Let us all continue to work together for Peace in Iraq!

~ Timothy Baer

Organizer, Bloomington Peace Action Coalition
Campaign Coordinator, The Declaration of Peace


Below are:

1. Excellent photos from the March 19th Bloomington event are at BloomingtonOnline.net

2. Video from the Die-In at the Indiana National Guard recruiting office

3. Comments from Indiana Students Against War organizer, Alex Smith

4. Announcements of the event appeared in The Herald Times ( Bloomington 's daily newspaper) on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18 & 19, 2008

5. Coverage of the event in The Herald Times on Thursday, March 20, 2008

6. Videos at H-T website

7. Coverage of the event in the Indiana Daily Student ( Indiana University 's newspaper) on Thursday, March 20, 2008

8. “On the Fifth Anniversary” remarks by David Keppel


1.) View more than 200 excellent photos from the March 19th Bloomington event at BloomingtonOnline.net http://www.bloomingtononline.net/

The “5 Years in Iraq ” Photo Album page is at:


You'll probably see yourself or many people you know!


2.) Video from the Die-In ~ March, 19, 2008


3.) Comments from ISAW organizer, Alex Smith (3-20-08):

I want to thank everyone who participated in the protests of the 19th!  We had an incredible turn out considering the cold and rain - at least 50 people from IU, and 200 to 300 on the courthouse square.  The event went well, but we can't stop here!  Ending US imperialism and the war on terror will take a social movement on a scale far larger than what we saw yesterday, and it will require continuous commitment and effort from everyone involved.  Right now more and more people are saying that they want a change; we have to give them the opportunity to make that change a reality through protest, education, and nonviolent direct action. 

I put together a video of the die-in in front of the national guard office that you can view here: http://www.youtube.com/v/0Kb1MUWrQD8

Photos of the event are being posted online by BPAC, and I will try to let you know when they become available.

Thanks again for coming out in the rain to demanding an end to this terrible war!



4.) Events scheduled to protest Iraq war anniversary

H-T Report
March 18 & 19, 2008

Come Thursday, it will be five years since the United States and allied forces invaded Iraq. As the war continues there, protests continue here.

A number of events, billed as “5 Years Too Many — PEACE NOW!,” are planned in Bloomington Wednesday to mark the war that started March 20, 2003.

4 p.m.: Indiana University , gathering between Ballantine Hall and Woodburn Hall for a peace march to Sample Gates. Bloomington High School South “Panthers Against War” will join the IU student march.

4:30 p.m.: At the Sample Gates, Hilary Scarsella, a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, will speak about the power of nonviolence.

4:40-5 p.m.: Procession to courthouse square. “5 Minutes for 5 Years — Freeze Action” at the National Guard Recruiting Office on Kirkwood Avenue .

5 p.m.: Rally with speakers at Kirkwood Avenue and Walnut Street . Greeting and passing of the peace with Sura Gail Tala. Speakers Scott Russell Sanders and David Keppel address nonviolence and U.S. policy on Iraq . People are encouraged to write messages to Congressman Baron Hill about ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq . Reading of the names of Indiana soldiers and Iraqi civilians killed in Iraq during the war and occupation.

5:45 p.m.: Procession to Showers Plaza/City Hall, Eighth and Morton streets

6-6:30 p.m.: Congressional candidates to speak. Delivery of postcard messages to Congressman Baron Hill's office. Invited members of the U.S. Congress and 9th District

Congressional candidates will speak about ending the war and U.S. troop withdrawal. Democrat John Bottorff, Democrat Gretchen Clearwater and Libertarian Eric Schansberg have confirmed their participation.


5.) Protest marks five years of war in Iraq

By Brady Gillihan 349-1420 | bgillihan@heraldt.com

The Herald Times
March 20, 2008

Peace signs, bullhorns blaring slogans, students staging deaths in front of armed forces recruiting stations: the stuff of the '60s, and the stuff of Bloomington Wednesday night when almost 200 demonstrators marched in the “5 Years Too Many — PEACE NOW” rally through downtown.

“It wasn't much different,” said Jerry Williams, a Vietnam veteran, who said he was never quite sure where he stood on that war. “This war seems cleaner now, but that's only because we're in it. Wait till we look back. But the marches, the rallies, I went to a lot of them. And you know what? Only the faces have changed.”

Williams wasn't holding a sign and he wasn't chanting, but he did walk with the others, who were marching in conjunction with rallies held across the country Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of the United States' and its allies' invasion of Iraq.

The group started near Ballantine Hall on the Indiana University campus, marched to the Sample Gates, then west on Kirkwood Avenue, where many were ushered repeatedly back onto the sidewalk by Bloomington and IU police.

In the doorway of the National Guard recruiting building on Kirkwood , a “5 Minutes for 5 years — Freeze Action” was held as several marchers lay on the wet sidewalk perfectly still and quiet. Some of the demonstrators attempted to walk into the recruiting office, but the door was locked. The office is usually open until 6 p.m.; a soldier in uniform inside refused to talk to press or demonstrators.

The crowd then moved to the Monroe County Courthouse, where they were addressed by local speakers and encouraged to write anti-war messages to U.S. Rep. Baron Hill on postcards, which were then scheduled to be delivered to Hill's office at the end of the march.


6.) There are two good but, brief videos at The Herald Times website. There are also three photos, including one from the Die-In which didn't make it into the print edition. (Unfortunately, you must be an H-T subscriber to have access to these.)

See: http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/stories/2008/03/20/news.qp-7035690.sto?1206230249


7.) Community protests Iraq War as it reaches the 5-year mark

By Sarah Brubeck
Indiana Daily Student | Date: 3/20/2008


Protesters fell onto the sidewalk in front of the Kirkwood Avenue National Guard recruitment center Wednesday, representing fallen soldiers as they participated in a voluntary “die-in” protest marking the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War.

Students and Bloomington residents marched across campus and through the town to protest the war in Iraq , despite the rain and freezing conditions.

The protest was one of many across the country Wednesday that marked the five-year anniversary of the war in Iraq , which began March 19, 2003.

“My friends and myself feel this war has gone on much too long, or we never should have gone in the first place,” said senior Eoban Binder. “Today is a good day to protest our presence in Iraq , Afghanistan and the Middle East .”

The protest started at Ballantine Hall with Indiana Students Against the War and the Democratic Socialist group leading the protest. They soon headed to the Sample Gates at the intersection of Kirkwood and Indiana avenues, holding up signs that read “five years too many,” “say no to war” and “five minutes for five years of war.” Protesters also spoke through megaphones and banged on plastic drums.

“The first time I ever did this was five years ago when I was 16,” said senior Kyle Andis, speaking of a protest in Indianapolis . “We knew it was going to happen, so we met in the center of the city.”

The Bloomington Peace Action Coalition joined the protesters at the Sample Gates along with students from Bloomington High School South. Students and residents joined the protest as it carried on.

“I was hanging up posters for another event,” said junior Melissa Roth, who joined the protest at Ballantine Hall. “I had no idea this was going on. More people than this are interested, and it's important to spread awareness.”

After protesting in front of the Sample Gates, the marchers made their way down Kirkwood Avenue to the National Guard recruitment center. Protesters participated in five minutes of silence to represent the five years in Iraq .

IU police officers were also present to make sure the protesters stayed out of the streets.

“This protest is in conjunction with a series of larger protests nationwide,” Binder said. “There are larger protests in larger cities ... We try to coordinate local protests with protests going on throughout the country.”

Protesters continued to march down Kirkwood Avenue until they reached City Hall, where they continued to demonstrate. Prior to Wednesday's events, Indiana Students Against the War collected postcards from the public asking the government to take action and stop the war. The postcards were delivered to 9th District Rep. Baron Hill's office at the end of the protest.

“At least we let them know that there are people around the world against the war,” said graduate student Sandrine Catris. “We want to be visible and show the Iraqi people we want to be out of there.”

Some students also wore black ribbons to represent the people who have died in the war.

“You have to look at history because it doesn't just take internal disagreement,” Binder said. “We would have been in Vietnam a lot longer if there hadn't been such an outcry. There hasn't been such an outcry because we don't have a draft.”


8.) On the Fifth Anniversary …

By David Keppel

Five years ago, we gathered on this Square to express our shock and sorrow and our strong opposition to the United States 's invasion of Iraq . For months, we had been trying to prevent it. Only a few weeks earlier, a small group of us had met with Senator Richard Lugar, who deserves credit for his accessibility. As a final question, one of us asked whether the attack could not be postponed to give inspections a chance. No, he said: We have troops on the border. They have families. They need to get the job done so they can come home.

Indiana 's junior Senator, Evan Bayh, a member of the Intelligence Committee, regularly asserted he had secret information about the Iraqi threat. Now we know the classified intelligence report actually undermined the Bush administration's allegations about Iraqi
weapons. Justifying the U.S. 's invasion, Senator Bayh said in a speech in December 2002: "The best defense is a good offense." At Nuremberg , the allies prosecuted Nazi war criminals for that doctrine.

It is almost impossible to know the number of Iraqi children killed and injured in this war built upon lies: children hit by a bomb, children dying in dilapidated hospitals, children stepping on an American cluster bomb, children who watch as soldiers or mercenaries
shoot their parents in the front seat of the car, or a young girl whom American soldiers shot last week when they saw a "suspicious looking woman who seemed to be signaling something to someone."

Almost 4000 Americans have been killed in this war, and 20,000 injured. Far more have suffered trauma that will haunt them and their families. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed. Four million are displaced – half within Iraq ,
half outside their country. Last week, President Bush told a group of religious broadcasters that his invasion of Iraq was and always would be God given.

Yet even many who admit the invasion was a terrible mistake argue we are locked into endless war. We broke it, they say, and now we have to fix it. As if we could. As if that were the real purpose of the occupation.

Any occupation lives in unhealthy co-dependency with the local collaborator government. In order to destroy Iraqi nationalism, the Bush administration empowered a sectarian government. Sectarianism unleashed a civil war at the same time that our occupation provoked an insurgency. Our Iraqi dependents in the Green Zone owe their country no allegiance. Government revenues flow to foreign bank accounts, not reconstruction. Basic services such as electricity are in ruins, and cities choke in garbage and sewage. But the Bush administration cannot stop that, because its real priority is permanent military bases and an oil law favoring American companies. Having empowered a Shiite government close to Iran , the United States is now paying and arming Sunni militias.

John McCain suggests the United States stay in Iraq a hundred years. But with our nation deeply indebted to foreign creditors, that is a flat impossibility. The question, therefore, is not whether there will be strife when we leave. The question is whether it will be better – or worse – if we stay longer; if we continue to back a puppet government that one day will be on the first plane for London, Zurich, Los Angeles, or Tehran; if we continue to arm both sides of the civil war; if we prove to the entire Islamic world that our only interests are oil and empire.

This war has already cost half a trillion dollars in Federal spending and – in full accounting – a great deal more. Here in this Congressional district, the money we've spent in Iraq could have provided 250,000 people with health care, or three-quarters of a million homes with renewable electricity, or 14,000 elementary school teachers. The United States spends $88 on the military for every dollar it spends to stop global warming. Our economy is in recession and is at risk of depression. Congressman Hill, what are your priorities?

In 2002, Congressman Baron Hill voted to authorize the war. He now
admits the war is a mistake, and to his credit he says it must end. Yet when the President forces him to choose, Congressman Hill funds more war in the name of supporting the troops.

We do not know who the next President will be. We do know that two of the major candidates, John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton, supported the invasion and have refused to give a timetable for full withdrawal. So we need to know when Congress will stop this charade, by exercising its constitutional authority to cut off funding. Let
money go only to an orderly withdrawal and humanitarian assistance. Let true diplomacy – with everyone at the table – begin now. All American troops and military contractors must leave Iraq .

We the people have power if we use it. Please sign a pledge to vote for candidates for President and Congress who will get out of Iraq and stay out of Iran . Incidentally, you can register to vote or update your registration at MCPL on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from now until April 6th (excluding Easter - Sunday, March 23rd).

Last week, President Bush forced the resignation of CENTCOM Commander Admiral William Fallon, who reportedly opposes bombing Iran . We should have learned that just because something is insane, that doesn't mean it won't happen. Let us insist that Congress pass legislation that would bar the President from attacking Iran without specific Congressional authorization. Let us support only those candidates who would curb nuclear proliferation in the one realistic and fair way – by working toward the global abolition of nuclear weapons, including the U.S. first strike arsenal. And let us never
reward those who seek to profit from the politics of fear.

Friends, this is a sad and shameful anniversary, but it is also a time to draw strength from the fierce urgency of events and from the hope that we always feel when we gather together to work for peace. We are no longer a minority. Let us reach out to each other, to our fellow citizens, to Americans who have served in Iraq , to Iraqi refugees and those remaining in that wounded country, and to all with whom we share this planet. Peace, like justice, is a universal human right. We demand it now. [Thank you.]