protest targets Mel Martinez on Iraq

07/18/07 Mitch E. Perry
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As the U.S. Senate went into an all-night session last night, the liberal anti-war group MoveOn.Org sponsored what it called Citizens Counter-fillibusters across the country.

The goal was to demonstrate in front of senators' offices; and, last night in Tampa’s Westshore District, across from the district office of GOP Sen. Mel Martinez, approximately 20 people did just that. Shortly after 7 p.m., the group stood holding up signs protesting the war.

Melissa Baird from Tarpon Springs realized that based on Senate rules, it wouldn’t matter that a majority of senators support a plan to begin bringing the troops home from Iraq by early next year.

Speaking on the same day that a new National Intelligence Estimate revealed that the al-Queda network is stronger now than it was before the September 11th attacks, a man who only wanted to be identified as ‘Dan from St. Petersburg’ questioned the entire premise of the Iraq war.

Although the Bush administration has recently emphasized that the biggest problem in Iraq is insurgents coming from Iran and Syria, Iraqi lawmakers say the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers are coming from a U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia. said that there were more than 150 such protests at district offices of Republican senators across the country.

In Tampa, one couple held signs aloft while their dog wandered about wearing a T-shirt that read, “I pee on Bushes.”

As the war continues and President Bush’s poll numbers sag, surprisingly, so have Congressional Democrats. Then again, despite the euphoria of last fall’s congressional elections, which saw Democrats retake power based in part on the unpopularity of the war, there are actually more troops in Iraq now.

But Annie Carter from Brandon believes the election can still be considered a catalyst for changing the stakes in Iraq.

Mickey Josephson from Clearwater said that not only is he anti-war, but anti-illegal immigration. He said he wished the grassroots activism that he believes helped kill the recent Immigration legislation in the U.S. Senate, could be brought to bear regarding the Iraq war, which he said is equally unpopular.

Sen. Martinez joined the majority of his Republican colleagues and voted against the proposal to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq by April.

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