Skip to comments.US stars align in anti-Iraq war hunger strike
Posted on 07/03/2006 9:12:51 PM PDT by aceintx
US stars align in anti-Iraq war hunger strike Jul 03 6:34 PM US/Eastern Email this story
Star Hollywood actor-activists including Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon and anti-war campaigners led by bereaved mother Cindy Sheehan plan to launch a hunger strike, demanding the immediate return of US troops from Iraq.
As Americans get set to fire up barbeques in patriotic celebration of US Independence Day on July 4, anti-war protestors planned to savour a last meal outside the White House, before embarking on a 'Troops Home Fast' at midnight.
"We've marched, held vigils, lobbied Congress, camped out at Bush's ranch, we've even gone to jail, now it's time to do more," said Sheehan, who emerged as an anti-war icon after losing her 24-year-old son Casey in Iraq.
The hunger strike was the latest bid by the US anti-war movement to grab hold of American public opinion, after numerous marches, vigils and political campaigns.
Despite polls which show the Iraq war is unpopular and many Americans are skeptical of President George W. Bush's wartime leadership, peace protests have not hit the opinion-swaying critical mass seen during Vietnam War.
"We have been continually sheltered from the actual cost of war from the beginning," said Meredith Dearborn, of human rights group Global Exchange, explaining how anti-Iraq war protests have stuttered.
While 2,526 US soldiers have died since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to an AFP tally based on Pentagon figures, the impact of the deaths has rarely dominated headlines.
While it is not unusual to see an Iraq-war veteran or amputee in an airport for instance, or newspaper features on horrific injuries inflicted by roadside bombs in Iraq, the United States hardly feels like a nation at war.
Some protestors and experts in public opinion put that down to the absence of the Vietnam War style conscription draft, which means only professional soldiers or reservists can be sent off to war.
"We have done everything we could think of to end this war, we have protested, held marches, vigils ... lobbied, written letters to Congress," said Dearborn.
"Now it is time to bring the pain and suffering of war home. We are putting our bodies on the line for peace."
Perhaps the only time the anti-Iraq war movement captured lasting coverage was in August 2005, when Sheehan and supporters pitched camp outside Bush's Texas ranch, where the president habitually stays in high summer.
Even then, the fiercely partisan debate unleashed may have harmed Sheehan, who faced fierce fire from conservative groups and radio talk show hosts, as much as it hurt the Bush administration's image over Iraq.
The hunger strike will see at least four activists, Sheehan, veteran comedian and peace campaigner Dick Gregory, former army colonel Ann Wright and environmental campaigner Diane Wilson launch serious, long-term fasts.
"I don't know how long I can fast, but I am making this open-ended," said Wilson.
Other supporters, including Penn, Sarandon, novelist Alice Walker and actor Danny Glover will join a 'rolling" fast, a relay in which 2,700 activists pledge to refuse food for at least 24 hours, and then hand over to a comrade.
Though the anti-war movement is trying hard to puncture public perceptions, some experts believe such protests have little impact on how Americans view foreign wars.
Ohio State University professor John Mueller for example, argued in the Foreign Affairs journal in December, that only rising US casualties could be proven to erode public support for a conflict.
Anti-war movements during the Korean and Iraq wars have been comparitively invisible, but public support had eroded in a similar way to the Vietnam conflict, in which the peace movement played a dominant role, he wrote.
Recent polls reveal public scepticism over Iraq, and damage to Bush's personal ratings.
In a poll in Time magazine published Friday, only 33 percent of respondents approved of Bush's leadership on Iraq while 64 percent said they disapproved his handling of the campaign.
A Pew Research Center poll released on June 20, found that only 35 percent of Americans approved of Bush's handling of the Iraqi conflict -- though that was up five percent from a similar poll in February.
The funny thin is, they aren't even putting themselves out...it's a 24 hour fast they're talking about. They'll miss a grand total of three meals.
Poor Susan, Poor Sean, No caviar, and champeign for you today...what a pitty....tisk tisk.
Probably not hard to miss meals when your all coked up.
(The Palestinian terrorist regime is the crisis and Israel's fist is the answer.)
This "bereaved mother"?
My family doctor would surely wire their jaws shut for free!......................PERMANENTLY !!!!
"Rolling hunger strike"??
And no pot either; dopers get the munchies from it;)
Do they really think anyone cares if they chose not to eat?
I hope they go through with it and starve to death... then we'll crown them Darwin Award laureattes.. LOL
They must be giving up brie and Perrier for the day.
If they did starve to death, it would be euphoric. Not to worry.
Hollywood stars all starving to death? Any reason to view that as anything other than a happy ending??
They need polls to find out what they believe in and what they should do.
If a poll came out that said the newest rage was wearing pointy shoes with little bells on them, they would do it without question.
In several episodes of the TV comedy classic "I Love Lucy", Lucille Ball got a lot of laughs out of this attitude.
Poor mama Sheehan, going to starve for 24 hours... Noone will notice and I think our food tomorrow will taste even better knowing these celebFreaks are basically boycotting Independance Day.
I don't. That sure would get rid of a LOT of tin foil hat wearing idiots.
I plan to eat twice as much as usual to make up for any impact to our nation's food producing region - which will obviously be dealt a serious blow by this hunger strike. Oh - wait a sec, Michael Moore isn't fasting? Never mind.....
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