“When a nation goes down…they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what brought them along.”
— Carl Sandburg
On Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, hundreds of antiwar activists got a chance to shout “good riddance” to George W. Bush–one of the worst presidents in all of American history. They did it by blasting him for his eight warmongering, torture-approving and lawbreaking years in the Oval Office (2001-2009). The lively rally was held at DuPont Circle, in Washington, D.C. Besides the blood stained wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, experts predict Bush’s inept policies will cost the taxpayers “$10.35 trillion in new debt and accrued obligations.”  After the speeches at DuPont Circle, the protesters marched about 15 blocks south to the White House. There, they tossed shoes, sandals, slippers and combat boots, a la Iraqi journalist Muntada Al-Zaidi, at the White House gate, while loudly chanting: “Arrest Bush!” 
Before heading to the White House, however, a huge, inflated doll figure, about 20 feet tall, of President Bush, was set up in DuPont Circle. It was dressed in the outfit that he wore when he did his “Mission Accomplished” stunt. The figure was used as shoe target practice by the protesters. Like Pinocchio of the Italian fairy tale, the Bush character had a very long nose. A study indicated that the Bush-Cheney Gang had concocted 935 lies to justify its invasion and occupation of Iraq.
At the rally, David Swanson, cofounder of afterdowningstreet.org, was one of the featured speakers. He said: “The only alternative to the rule of law is…the rule of plutocrats and thugs. John Adams [one of the architects of the U.S. Constitution] said he was going to give us the rule of law, instead of rule by men.” Swanson added that the only way to prevent a future president from acting as George W. Bush has acted–“marching us off to illegal wars and committing crimes”–was to hold him “accountable” for his wrong doings. He insisted the appointment of a “Special Prosecutor” is mandated and that the people “can make it happen. This is the time to act,” he emphasized. 
Today–Jan. 20, 2009, a new president, Bararck Obama, will be sworn into office in this city. What a breath of fresh air that will be for America. Unlike Bush, Obama is an intelligent man with a moral compass to boot. When he was in Baltimore, MD, on Saturday, January 17, 2009, he spoke to a huge crowd at the City Hall Plaza. The then Prez-Elect Obama promised to end the Iraq War within a “reasonable” period of time. The Peace Community will insist that he keep that pledge.
(As an aside, then Prez-Elect Obama had dinner last week at the D.C. suburbia Chevy Chase home of War Hawk, George F. Will, a pundit for the “Washington Post.” Will had pushed for a “preemptive strike” against Iraq, as early as September, 2002. In one of his rants, he described the U.N. as a “tar baby” to be avoided at all cost and blasted the French as a nation with “a frozen reflection of the world in 1945.” Will is the same character whom author Neil A. Grauer, in his splendid “Wits and Sages” book, ripped as “one of the Pentagon’s most uncompromising advocates.” Let’s hope none of Will’s hawkish persona worn off on Obama. And, [double gasp], the Neocon, William Kristol, was also a guest at the same dinner!)
Getting back to DuPont Circle demonstration: Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army Col. and ex-U.S. State Department diplomat, also spoke. She is the author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience,” a terrific book that I recently reviewed and which I am again highly recommending to readers.  Wright said: “I want the rule of law to rule.” She labeled Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq “a war crime.”  Speaking, too, at the rally was Debra Sweet, Executive Director of the “World Can’t Wait.” She denounced the government’s torture policies, like the horrific practice of “water boarding.” Sweet demanded: “Stop the torture.” She also called for the arrest and prosecution of both Bush and Dick Cheney for reputedly perpetrating crimes against humanity. 
Gael Murphy, cofounder of “Code Pink,” cautioned at the rally that the “system that facilitated the harms” that the Bush-Cheney Gang has done, “still remains.” Ms. Murphy asked the audience to “hold onto some of your shoes. We are going to need them. The struggle is not over.” 
Ms. Lori Perdue, poet, activist and a member of “Code Pink” read her poem, “All You Can Eat,” at the rally. I thought it was excellent. It is a scathing criticism of the grasping Bush-Cheney administration and their cronies–sucking off the “life blood of democracy.” 
Another important area that President Bush screwed up royally was the Israel-Palestine issue. Ms. Murphy brought up that subject in her talk.  During Israel’s recent 20-day siege of Gaza, for example, President Bush demonstrated no leadership whatsoever. He simply allowed the Far Right Israeli regime of Ehud Olmert to have its way. The results were awful. (8) In fact, P.M. Olmert bragged about how he had neutralized Bush with respect to a proposed U.N. “cease-fire resolution” pushed by the Secretary of State Condi Rice. She denied Olmert’s account as “a fiction.” 
One of the mainstays of the “Iraq Veterans Against the War” organization, Adam Kokesh, also spoke at the DuPont Circle rally. He is an ex-U.S. Marine. He said: The invasion and occupation of Iraq was a “war crime.” Kokesh added that he’s got “a shoe for Bush,” but that he’s also holding one back “for Obama.” 
Finally, it was, indeed, appropriate that President Bush was given the “boot” out the door by the demonstrators as he exited an office that he had regularly disgraced by his failure to uphold the law. Now, bringing him and his cronies to the Bar of Justice should be everyone’s highest civic duty.
. “Harper’s Magazine,” January, 2009 issue.
http://shoebush.org/ and http://arrestbush2009.com/