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Anti-war activists picket downtown recruiting office
I dropped by what is apparently a weekly protest by some of the local anti-war activists. They stand outside the National Guard recruiting office on Kirkwood with a banner urging an end to the occupation of Iraq. I had a pleasant conversation with one of the protesters and found him to be very reasonable and informed.
One of the protesters (the man standing on the far right in the picture, whose name I did not catch) said that since the recruitment numbers are down for the war, reducing recruitment would hamper the war effort by forcing the military to use fewer soldiers or force the administration to consider the implementation of a draft.
The activists drew a spirited reaction from an older gentleman who shouted at protesters as he was walking by. Two college-age women said "we support our President" when asked to sign the petition and said something about "hippies" which drew the ire of one of the activists.
I understand that some may strongly disagree with the anti-war activists, but I do not think shouting at them is appropriate. You do not win an argument by having the loudest voice, you only prove that you have the loudest voice. Whether you like the anti-war message or not, they do have the right to be there and should be treated with respect.
While I fully support the anti-war activists' right to be there and I respect their dedication and determination to protest week after week, I am not thrilled with the idea of protesting the National Guard recruiting office. While the protesters say they support the troops while opposing the war, protesting the National Guard recruiting office (especially with some of the signs that have been photographed by the local media) sends the message that they do not support the troops. I think another location would be more appropriate.