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Soldiers of peace stand up against war

By MARGO HORNER, The Mirror

Across the ocean and through the desert, more than 100,000 U.S. soldiers armed with tanks and weaponry are fighting a war in the Middle East.

On the corner of South 320th Street in Federal Way, protesters armed with mittens and signs are fighting to stop the war.

“I am against the war because there’s killings and it’s bankrupting America,” said 67-year-old Carroll Fisher of Auburn.

Fisher was one of about 50 local folks who gathered last weekend to wave signs protesting the war. The group gathers from noon to 1 p.m. every Sunday at South 320th Street and Pacific Highway South.

Federal Way resident Nancy Regan, 56, said people in cars that drive by have become increasingly supportive lately — honking and waving with agreement.

“It isn’t doing anything to protect our homeland,” Regan said of the war. “It’s drawing resources away from other activities such as protecting our homeland, health care, especially health care for veterans, and education.”

Last weekend, a group of soldiers who gathered at Schooners Pub and Galley, a bar near Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base, said that the protesters were wrong — but they didn’t mind them protesting.

“That’s their right and that’s what we fight for,” said David Flores, a U.S. Army soldier who recently returned from Iraq. “It shows that we do our job as for what the Constitution stands for that gives the American people the right to protest, whether it’s for or against the war.”

Chris, an Army soldier who requested his last name not be published, said protesters are confused.

“Unless you’ve been there, unless you’ve seen what we’ve seen, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. “President Bush is not a bad guy. I think it’s wrong to be against our president.”

Angela, an Army wife whose husband is in Iraq, said she gets angry when she sees protesters. She also declined to give her last name for fear that talking to the media would get her husband in trouble.

“They are leaving their mothers, fathers, children and spouses behind to possibly die over there. The last thing they need is the negative drama created by a protest,” she said. “If our country wants change, protest at Washington, D.C., or the Pentagon where they make the actual decisions. Soldiers, especially lower enlisted, do not make the decision for our country to go to war.”

Federal Way resident Sarah Bright, 38, said she doesn’t protest because she is against the soldiers; she is against elected officials in the top government offices.

“The best way we can strengthen our country is to get these criminals out of office,” Bright said.

April Quint, an organizer of the protests, said she and fellow protesters plan to continue their efforts until the war is over.

“This is not like a partisan issue,” she said. “We’re very upset and angry and dismayed by the war, and that’s why we’re out there.”

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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