What is the status of Sacramento Coalition to End the War’s nine-to-five sit-in at Rep. Doris Matsui’s office?
Tomorrow marks the 30th day that we’ve been there in a row … and there are no plans to end this. It’s only growing larger as we get near the time, in three weeks or so, when Congress has to vote on whether or not they are going to OK additional funding for the war in Iraq. We definitely have plans to remain there until Doris Matsui decides to commit to voting against any additional funding for the war.
What are the chances of success?
We’re kind of at a stalemate now. … I went into a meeting late Friday afternoon with her district director and we had the same discussion it seems like we’ve been having since forever. He’s convinced that the strategy that the Democrats are using now has a better chance of success. We completely disagree. As we’ve said in one news release after another, Congress controls the purse strings. It’s relatively simple [and] the quickest, most orderly way to end the war and protect the troops.
I read a report that both the protesters and Rep. Matsui’s staff shared homemade cookies with each other.
Those reports make cute leads and stories, but it is not as friendly as everyone portrays it to be. It is also not a ’60s type sit-in where everyone chants and yells. This is more of a vigil. When I was there Friday afternoon, we had on average seven people in the office but there were only seats for four. It’s kind a civil game that they are playing. There’s no doubt that we irritate them, however, when asked by the media how things are going they portray it as a cordial thing. But this is a protest against Matsui’s refusal to do the right thing with regard to Iraq. … If they arrested us that would not be the story they would want to have.
How has your life experience informed what you do today?
I was drafted in 1969 and spent one year in Vietnam as a military information specialist. My job was to write stories on the positive things of the war. I really didn’t realize at first that I was being used. I soon came to realize that we didn’t belong in Vietnam and that there was no way to win that war. It appeared to be a civil war. Only toward the end of my tour did I realize that it was my job to cover up things that we didn’t want the public to know. … People say that Iraq and Vietnam aren’t the same … but it is very close to what happened to us before. It certainly is d