Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – President Obama has decided to take military action in Syria, a move that’s being protested across the country and here in the Twin Cities.
A group gathered on the People’s Plaza at the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis to say United States intervention in Syria cannot bring peace and justice to that country.
Organizer Tom Bolan says his daughters have never known a time when their country wasn’t at war.
“I’m here because my daughters have never lived in their lifetimes in a time of peace,” Bolan said. “We’ve been at war since before they were born and it needs to stop right now.”
Bolan says he was compelled to put together the rally.
“I can’t sit idly by and watch our government wage yet another war that will make more enemies for my children, drive us further into debt and perpetuate the idea that Americans are interested in war and domination,” he said.
Many at this rally say they’ve seen the shocking images of young children and women in Syria allegedly suffering from exposure to chemical weapons. The attendees sympathize, but express caution when it comes to using military force to address the situation.
For war veterans like David Cooley, the thought of another military conflict brings tears to his eyes.
“I’m here today so that a few more mothers and fathers don’t have to have sons and daughters come home and have PTSD like I do,” Cooley said.
He says the president should listen to the will of the people, and right now he and this group of protestors believe sending a message to Syria should not mean going to war.
“What do we say to the mothers and the fathers and everyone else that’s killed as collateral damage because we went in there to attack them to send Assad a message,” Cooley said.
There was no one in support of a military strike against Syria at Saturday’s rally.
Most people WCCO spoke with at the rally say they are pleased that President Obama will at least let representatives of the people debate and vote before taking any action.
Obama said he will seek congressional approval before launching any military action meant to punish Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons in an attack that killed hundreds of children.
Speaking from the White House Rose Garden this afternoon, Obama said the United States should take military action, but the country “will be better off” if Congress weighs in on the decision.
A larger anti-war protest is planned for next Tuesday afternoon, on the U of M campus.