Photographs by Brent Humphreys.
Tunde Obazee | 51 | Dallas
I lived in Nigeria in 1967, during the civil war. I carried the dead bodies of my friends. The federal troops—our “liberators”— were pulling people who were suspected of being rebels out of their homes. They were lined up and killed. A friend of mine tried to shield his father from the soldiers, and he was shot dead. He was fourteen years old. Every war has innocent victims. That’s why I believe violence should only be a last resort. President Bush entered this war before he did everything he could to bring about a peaceful solution. When he chose violence over diplomacy, we lost our integrity. Our bombs and bullets are not winning Iraqis’ hearts and minds.
Patty Sherman | 54 | Wylie
The level of outrage that I feel over the war makes it impossible for me to sit back and stay at home. President Bush used our fear over 9/11 to get support for a war that he and his advisers had been planning for a long time. He made people think there was a connection between Iraq and the terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center. He played on our fears. But there is no connection between 9/11 and Iraq. The American people have been fooled. I came to Crawford because I had to speak out. I want to get other people fired up. We can facilitate change and influence government decisions if we protest loud enough and long enough. There is always power in numbers.
Charlie Anderson | 28 | Virginia Beach, Virginia
I was sent to Iraq at the start of the war, as a Navy medic. I wasn’t convinced that Iraq was a threat to us, but I tried very hard to get behind the party line. I wanted to believe. In Iraq we were not given adequate body armor or enough ammunition. Our only means of transportation was an unarmored Humvee. Medics in other units told me that they were running out of QuikClot, a coagulant that can save lives. It was shocking. When our government finally admitted to us that weapons of mass destruction had not been found in Iraq, I felt a lot of anger. It’s one thing to tell us to sacrifice our lives for a worthy cause; it’s something else to ask us to sacrifice our lives for a lie.
Russell McNutt | 77 | Centralia, Washington
I was in the United States Marine Corps for 25 years and retired as a lieutenant colonel. During that time, I served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. When I was in the service, I was apolitical. I never dreamed that I would ever attend an anti-war protest. When we came home from Vietnam, we weren’t welcomed back as heroes. We were called baby killers. I supported Desert Storm, in 1991, because I believed that we had an obligation to fight. Iraq had invaded Kuwait, so our involvement was justified. It’s different this time. We had no legal grounds for invading a sovereign country. Iraq did not pose a threat to us. This war has been illegal, ill-advised, and immoral from the start. That’s why I think it’s important for veterans to speak out. For me, opposing this war is patriotic.
Dillon Schroeder | 62 | Houston
I have on my hat and boots today to indicate that I was actually born in Texas—unlike someone else up this road, who I believe has operated under false pretenses for a long time. In my opinion, the president and Cheney lied about the reasons for the invasion. They thought Iraq would be a cakewalk and they could get Halliburton and the oil companies billions of dollars. It’s turned into a horrendous mess. This war will be much harder to get out of than it was to get into, and I believe it’s only breeding more terrorists. I haven’t protested a war before, and I supported Bush 41. And unlike some here, I do not support an immediate withdrawal. But I did want to protest a president whose lies have caused so many deaths and so much destruction.
Amelia Lankford | 21 | Austin
Right after the war began, a former boyfriend of mine enlisted in the Army. When he went to Fallujah, as a paratrooper, he wrote telling me about the carnage he saw. The letters I wrote back made him angry. I wanted him to open his eyes and question the morality of the situation, but he responded that he was just doing his job. I don’t believe this war is being waged for the good of the Iraqi people, so they can be freer. Our government must think there is a cost benefit to doing this. Maybe it’s about oil. Maybe it’s about having power in the Middle East. But it’s not for the reasons we’ve been told. We need to support our freedom by holding our government accountable to the truth.