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News of our struggle

September 26, 2003 | Page 10

Protest Paul Wolfowitz
Protest Ehud Barak and Tommy Franks

Stop the cuts to veterans' benefits
By Thomas Barton

NEW YORK--Two hundred angry veterans rallied at the Manhattan Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital on September 16 to protest proposed cuts in services. The government wants to close outpatient treatment at the Manhattan and Bronx VA hospitals, forcing disabled and sick vets to make long trips to a Brooklyn facility. The plan also calls for 378 in-patient hospital beds at the Manhattan facility to be eliminated in the name of "efficiency."

While veterans of the Second World War, Korea and the first Gulf War manned a block-long picket line, a group of about 20 Vietnam veterans dressed in their old war fatigues and boonie hats took it to the street. Setting up a checkpoint that blocked two of the four lanes on 23rd Street, they held up signs and demanded passing traffic honk in support of the vets.

The response was deafening. Taxi drivers shouted and blew their horns. Drivers of huge semi-trailers launched earsplitting blasts on their air horns. Bus drivers and vets exchanged clenched-fist salutes. Unhappy-looking police looked on but decided not to intervene.

"Where is Schumer? Where is Hillary?" a Gulf War veteran named Ralph asked Socialist Worker. "When they want the votes they promise you anything, but where are they today? They don't give a shit!"

"This is disgusting, this is such a shame," said Jose Rodriguez, a Local 420, District Council 37 member from Bellevue Hospital. "They go to war, they come back hurt and this is what they get. Now they want $87 billion for this war, and they cut services for the wounded veterans? What's that?"

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Protest Paul Wolfowitz
By Peter LoRe

NEW YORK--"War Criminal! You're a war criminal!" shouted activists protesting a visit by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz at the New School on September 21. Wolfowitz is an architect of the war on Iraq and a prominent member of the right-wing think tank Project for the New American Century, which mapped out plans for pre-emptive war and regime change.

Throughout the event, Wolfowitz was repeatedly heckled with shouts of "Where are the weapons?" During a brief question-and-answer period, audience members grilled Wolfowitz. "I can't stand the Bush administration," said protester May Sha. "It drives me mad that they think they can get away with this." It's time to revive the antiwar movement and stand together against the liars in the White House.

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Protest Ehud Barak and Tommy Franks
By John Green

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--Two out-of-state killers visited Sacramento on September 19. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak joined retired U.S. Army General Tommy Franks at an exclusive $185-a-person forum that also included right-wing comedian Dennis Miller.

But local activists didn't let them off the hook. Thirty-five protesters assembled to oppose them. "Sacramento is not honored to have both of these criminals here," Isma'il Kamal told Socialist Worker.

Conservatives in the crowd jeered antiwar activists and even tried to provoke a fistfight. But protesters like Tu Huynh were undeterred. She simply smiled and said, "I'm here to represent the underrepresented." Peace Action organized the protest, along with Code Pink and Students for Justice in Palestine.

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