Going to protest the protesters

Women plan D.C. trip to support U.S. military efforts

Women plan D.C. trip to support U.S. military efforts

March 13, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

KEEDYSVILLE - As the nation turned against war, a one-time war protester said she took a stand.

Judy Warner said she became a conservative in 1967 as opposition to the Vietnam War grew. Though she originally protested that war, Warner, who is married to a former prisoner of war, said she has learned from the mistakes of the past.

This time, she and a friend, Ann Corcoran, will converge on Washington, D.C., to show support for the country's military involvement.

"It's that we're there now, and whatever you think about how we got there, we're there now, and we have to finish it," said Warner, who is worried that leaving Iraq now would be "disastrous."


Activists from both camps plan to turn out Saturday for peace demonstrations and counter-demonstrations at the National Mall. The four-year anniversary of the war's start is Monday.

Alanna Hartzok of Chambersburg, Pa., said she does not know whether she will go, but she has heard from acquaintances that carloads of anti-war protesters plan to make the trip from Fulton County, Pa.

Hartzok helped start monthly anti-war vigils in Chambersburg's town square, and she said she is working on a book, "The Earth belongs to Everyone," about the economics of war and peace.

"I've really come to the point where I don't think any wars are just," said Hartzok, who plans to commemorate the war's anniversary by attending the Washington, D.C., demonstrations or a vigil in Chambersburg.

Warner, of Rohrersville, and Corcoran spoke out against activism against the war during an interview Monday at Corcoran's farmhouse in Keedysville.

The women said several people are joining them in a car pool to Washington, D.C. They will be part of a national movement that supports the war.

On its Web site, the Gathering of Eagles states that it is a nonpartisan group organized to protect the nation's war memorials.

"We vehemently oppose the notion that it is possible to "support the troops but not the war,'" the Web site says.

The Web site refers to the activists planning to meet in Washington, D.C., as "commies and terrorist sympathizers."

As the mother of two adopted Vietnamese children, Corcoran said her thoughts about Iraq also are shaped by Vietnam. If the United States had prevented a Communist incursion, Corcoran said, Vietnam would not have the poverty it experiences today.

"I saw what happened in Vietnam. It was a huge, huge mistake. Us cutting and running in Vietnam was a huge mistake," said Corcoran, who called her views in the Vietnam War era "foolish."

Warner and Corcoran said they worry that Iraq will become a haven for jihadist terrorists, or Iranian extremists, if the United States does not pacify the country.

"Very clearly, the jihadists ... the jihadists are looking to see how weak we are, and they are going to exploit every weakness they see," Corcoran said.

Warner acknowledged that she has been disappointed and frustrated by how the war has been waged, and she said she believed Republican "incompetence" was the reason why the party lost so many U.S. Congressional seats in the November election.

For Corcoran and Warner, the war in Iraq is part of a much larger war on terrorism that could continue for some time.

"We really all do want peace ... Who would not want peace? ... But not at the expense of our rights, and our freedom, and our safety," Corcoran said.

Gathering of Eagles

People who are interested in joining a group of local residents traveling to Washington, D.C., to show their support for the war in Iraq may call Ann Corcoran at 301-797-8051 or Judy Warner at 301-432-4935.

The women, who will join others in a movement called the Gathering of Eagles, are meeting in Washington, D.C., Saturday as part of a counter-rally in opposition to anti-war groups. The four-year anniversary of the start of the war is Monday.

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