Protest the Iraq war today

At noon, Northrop Plaza will be swarming with student-protesters.

At noon today, high school and college students will stage a walkout from their classes and descend on Northrop plaza to show their support for ending the war in Iraq. This age-old method of fighting the government has proved its effectiveness in the past, and would do the same today were it used consistently.

Polls from earlier this year indicate most U.S. citizens, as well as many U.S. soldiers, think the Iraq war needs

to end within a year or sooner. Why does the U.S. government insist on remaining? Is it because the population is uneducated about the reasons we “need” to stay in Iraq, or is it some ulterior motive, such as the ever-popular oil excuse?

If it is the former, then maybe some good old wartime propaganda is needed. Go ahead, Mr. President, convince us: If we need to be there, tell us why and keep telling us. Don’t hide behind Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of the Pentagon. If it is the latter, at least be honest about it and quit with the bull.

But until the public has a good reason to support this war, it should oppose it, and vocally. In the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the nationwide protests against the Vietnam conflict of the early 1970s, public outrage made its mark and made a difference. The same could be true of the Iraq war.

In addition protesters need some security that they won’t be hauled off or expelled. The right to peaceably assemble is guaranteed by the First Amendment, and the “peaceable” part gets broken only if the assembly is harassed and forced to disperse. So to the University and Minneapolis Police Department: Let the students have their say and raise their voices. This issue is far too important to devolve into a common police vs. students riot.