Code Pink Protest, Part 2
Walking up Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House, I came across a Code Pink rally of about a hundred people on Freedom Plaza.
There was a folk singer in Birkenstocks playing the guitar and singing:
"Gonna make peace around the world, down by the riverside, down by riverside
Ain't gonna study war no more, Ain't gonna study war no more, Ain't gonna study war no more."
What Code Pink had done was build a time machine right there on Freedom Plaza to transport me back to the '60s.
And while the singer sang, all the little Pinkies did their little Pinkie dance. They are a festive people.
Some were dressed up like it was Mardi Gras.
Others were dressed like they were going to the Code Pink Senior High Prom.
Their goal was supposedly peace but none of the things they demanded would bring that about. If Code Pink got its wish that the US immediately withdrew from Iraq, the Baathist thugs and jihadi headcutters would take over and institute a reign of terror. Defeating the insurgents and implementing a working democracy is Iraq's best hope for a lasting peace.
However, Bush was not the primary object of their fury but rather Congressman Nancy Pelosi, Democrat and Speaker of the House of Representatives, whom they found insufficiently supportive of their cause. One speaker whined that when they went to picket her house, even THAT did not win her over. Instead of caving in to their demands, Pelosi yelled at them, "Get away from my house, you nut!" When I was done laughing, I came away with a curious new sympathy for Pelosi. The irony here is that while Code Pink is harassing Pelosi for not being radical enough, another far left group crashed a Code Pink event and planted a pie in the face of Medea Benjamin, Code Pink leader, for not being even more radical. It's a dog-eat-dog world on the Left.
For a few precarious seconds, Tantor was lured to the Dark Side, yet he regained his focus and pressed on in his mission.
"I can't believe my girlfriend made me wear this @$#% pink tiara. I feel like such an idiot. There better be some sex in this for me before this day is done."
When I tapped Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, on the shoulder I was surprised she didn't flinch, what with all the baked goods thrown her way. However, she was in her Happy Place and I had not come bearing hostile pies but with a request for an interview, explaining that I was a conservative blogger. When I placed my "Conservative Propaganda" business card in her hand, she looked down at it like I had placed a little rat turd in her palm. Nevertheless, she agreed to it after she did a few things. A Code Pink protest needs constant tending, like a pot on the stove that requires stirring now and then.
After a few minutes Medea came over, though she came like she was going to the dentist.
Tantor: "Why are you here?"
Medea: "I'm here because we have been working now for four and a half years. First, we tried to stop this war from the beginning and now we are trying to stop it now. We want to bring the troops home. We want to live in peace with our neighbors and we feel that we have to put the pressure on the Democrats and the Republicans to listen to the voice of the people and end the occupation and don't bomb the next country like Iran."
Tantor: "Why are you having a separate demonstration from the one ANSWER is giving in Lafayette Park?"
Medea: "It's not a separate demonstration. It's actually a pre-march. We do this at all the marches. We value ourselves predominantly as women but not exclusively to come together and get energized and then join the other march."
Tantor: "Then you're cooperating with ANSWER in running this demonstration?"
Medea: "Yes, we're not running it but we're invited like everyone is to join the ... and I'll be one of those speakers. I have a two minute time slot. So, yes, we're cooperating but it's their demonstration."
Tantor: "Now, the Gathering of Eagles is having their protest down the street, down Pennsylvania Avenue, in front of the Capitol. What do you think of that?"
Medea: "I think that it's good that people who are passionate about their views come out and try to make their views known, as long as it's all done in a peaceful way. I think it's good."
Tantor: "Code Pink started a protest outside of Walter Reed hospital that's gone on over two years. Why did you do that?"
Medea: "First of all, it's not a protest. It's a vigil. And second of all, it wasn't started by Code Pink. Code Pink participated but it was started by Veterans For Peace. We thought that from the beginning it was always a way to say, remember the wounded. Support them. Give money to the veteran's hospitals. We knew that Walter Reed was horrible before it broke in the Washington Post as a national story and our message was fund the veterans, not the war."
Tantor: "Back on April 20, Gael Murphy and another Code Pink person came out to Walter Reed with a Canadian TV crew. The Code Pink person with her, not Gael Murphy, said that the troops were the terrorists. Would you like to clarify that?"
Medea: "I think you'd have to ask the person who said that."
Tantor: "So she doesn't speak for Code Pink?"
Medea: "No, she speaks for herself. We encourage people to be their own spokespeople. They're responsible for their own statements, not us."
Tantor: "Alright, so you don't back that statement?"
Medea: "I wouldn't say that."
Tantor: "You don't support that statement?"
Medea: "No, I don't."
Tantor: "Code Pink sent 60,000 dollars in cash and supplies to Fallujah. Why didn't you give that to the wounded soldiers in Walter Reed?"
Medea: "It's been sent to refugee women and children. That money can go a long way for people who have absolutely nothing. It would be not very well used at a place like Walter Reed which has many more millions of dollars. We're supporting women and children who have no homes, who have no food, no nothing. And I'm proud that we sent it."
Tantor: "But Fallujah was a terrorist haven."
Medea: "That doesn't mean that women and children are terrorists. Come on. They're women and children. "
Tantor: "How do you know it just went to women and children?"
Medea: "It's a city of 350,000 people. We don't think 350,000 people are terrorists. It's their own home. And their homes were destroyed and we feel terrible about it. I have to go. Thank you."
Tantor: "Thank you, Medea."
I disagree with Medea Benjamin, of course. Walter Reed is not horrible nor even close. It's quite a good hospital, even plush in some spots. There was one building outside the base fence that Walter Reed acquired which was badly maintained and in poor condition. That was an anomaly, which Benjamin is overgeneralizing to the entire hospital to make political propaganda.
Likewise, Benjamin claimed that the veterans were being shorted on funding yet Code Pink makes its donations to Fallujah, the biggest terrorist town in Iraq. Code Pink should have put its money where its mouth was. You can't argue that the wounded troops are being shorted on funds while simultaneously arguing that Walter Reed has so many millions of dollars that donations would not be well spent there.
My opinion of Medea Benjamin improved a little after I talked to her. I thought that she might be an evil Marxist from reports in the media but my sense of her in person was more that she was careless and naive in her own way. She really liked the idea of sending money to dispossessed women and children in Iraq and that is the story she really wants to be true. She doesn't want to countenance that story could be false. However, in practice, Iraqi women and children answer to the men who will take whatever possessions they acquire and do with them what they will. Certainly, some of the money Code Pink dropped in Fallujah was shot back at our troops.
Code Pink's support of the protest of Walter Reed is a blunder. Calling it a vigil doesn't fool anyone. I've been there when the protestors were singing songs protesting baby killing by soldiers, which is a witless slander. That was no pro-soldier protest. When wounded soldiers come out from the hospital to ask why they are being protested, the protestors literally turn their backs on them and refuse to talk to them. When you tell a reasonable liberal that Walter Reed is being protested, they wince. By supporting this ill-considered protest, Code Pink has been obtuse and insensitive about the wounded in Walter Reed and their families when they are most vulnerable. They should cut their losses and withdraw all support for it. There are plenty of places to protest in DC. Pick another.
Still, I was impressed that Medea Benjamin would do an interview with a hostile blogger she could have easily dodged. She gets credit from me for being polite and for being an honest radical. I expected her to be strident. She was far better mannered than I have come to expect from the far Left.
From what I saw of this demonstration, Code Pink is not really a serious organization. They seem to be a social group, a sorority. Demonstrations like this are a big, fun party for them. It's mostly about them having fun hanging out with each other. Protesting is their leisure activity just like some women in country clubs like tennis or golf. The stunts they do to gain publicity by disrupting public hearings are childish. They come across as female frat boys in that regard.
While they are not serious, the effects of their protest could be terribly serious. Their frivolous protesting could cost women in Iraq any hope of gaining the freedom and security Code Pink takes for granted in America. Such wrongheaded activism brings about the very violence and oppression they purport to oppose. It's enough to make the angels weep in despair.
Please click on "ANSWER Rally in Lafayette Park, Part 3."
(Come back later, I'm still writing it but I was threatened and physically attacked by commies at the rally. In subsequent parts, I'll tell about the protestors who climbed the wall at the Capitol to get arrested, sometimes fighting it out with the cops, and the cowardly cell of wannabe revolutionaries)