War decision incites protest

Michelle Herrick

Michelle Herrick

About 50 protesters and supporters gathered behind the University Student Union last Thursday to debate the invasion of Iraq.

An impromptu demonstration by pro-Bush supporters took place 15 minutes later in the same location. It seemed to provide comic relief, with signs reading “Impeach Saddam” and “The Prez is the coolest dude ever.”

The protesters passed out arm bands, read a poem and observed a moment of silence during the hour long demonstration.

Distant specters voiced their disapproval of the protest by yelling “Go home!” and loud music blared distractingly out of a nearby dormitory window.

“Who gives a damn? We are becoming a minority in our own country (for supporting the war),” one spectator yelled.

Following President Bush’s 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein last Monday, the protest was mainly organized at the last minute with e-mails and posters late Wednesday.

Posters, which encouraged students to “Walk Out” of class at noon on Thursday, were quickly torn down by the Students’ Association because they didn’t have university approval.

“This is a conservative campus that supports Bush and supports his politics,” said John Drew, a 23 year-old communications and political science major.

One of the loudest voices speaking out for the war was Natalie Perry, a 19 year-old freshman film major, wanted to make sure that this wasn’t a one-sided demonstration.

“How would the troops feel if they saw us protesting?” Perry asked.

Petitions to impeach the president, which is a part of a nationally organized campaign, were circulating, though they received few signatures.

“I know in my heart that what we are doing is not in the best interest of our country, the world or anyone,” said Jalyn Knobloch, a sophomore communications major.

A roll call was held to find out how many people knew someone who was going to war brought nearly every hand in the air.

“People are dying right now,” said Darci Holzkamp, a junior sociology major. “We must speak up and say we are against this war.”

The protesters argued that there was no connection between Iraq and terrorism and that the United States was unduly rushing into war.

Now that the war has started, the general sentiment of those gathered was to bring the troops home.

“I cried last night when I heard the news of the bombing,” said Penny Powers, an associate professor of nursing from Flandreau. “It’s not the job of the U.S. to play policeman.”

A dozen or so protesters met Thursday night on the corner of Medary Avenue and 6th Street for a candlelight vigil.

#1.887168:1844913777.jpg:protest.jpg:Protesters and supporters of the war in Iraq joined in a circle behind the University Student Union last Thursday, holding signs and debating the merits of the war. :