Protest The War, Not A Ferry

Dan Boylan
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Wednesday - September 05, 2007

Local war protesters held a vigil last week in front of Honolulu Hale. To be sure, it was at 6:30 in the evening on a Tuesday - hardly a prime hour for even minor complaining - but organizers had to be disappointed by the turnout.

No more than 60 citizens, disproportionately older than the Islands’ mean, stood at the corner of King and Punchbowl waving signs calling for an end to one of America’s most unpopular wars and for the impeachment of the President.

How unpopular is the war in Iraq? Currently, 90 percent of all Democrats, 70 percent of independents, and more than 30 percent of the President’s own party feel that George W. Bush has mis-handled the war in Iraq.

The President’s average approval rating in the eight national polls conducted thus far in August 2007 is 31 percent. In sum, Bush can boast the support of the base of his own party - and little else.

Then why do so few take to the streets against this trillion dollar war, its 3,735 dead American men and women, and its 27,000 wounded - and the hundreds of thousands of dead, wounded, and displaced Iraqis?

It’s puzzling, particularly when protestors at Kauai’s Nawiliwili Harbor would throw themselves in front of a ferry boat, risking life and limb, in order to keep the aina unbefouled by . . . well, what?

A ferry boat? The environmental desecration that an Oahu aunty’s wheels might carry? The marginal increased traffic that a ferry boat might bring?

In case my Neighbor Island brethren haven’t noticed, with the aid of rental cars from the airport, they’ve produced their own traffic jams. Aunty’s car and a lot of their neighbors’ aunties’ cars aren’t going to make much difference.

On the contrary, I keep thinking of what, given service to - say - the Big Island, the Superferry might do to Oahu: those $%^&@#) little frogs and their interminable nocturnal screeching, for example.

No, we citizens of Hawaii, we Americans, have missed the boat in laying down our bodies against a ferry while remaining passive in the face of President Bush’s war-without-end. We seem to be saying: “Well, I don’t like how we got into this war, and I think it’s been run incompetently; but it’s not affecting me. There’s no military draft, so junior’s safe. The President’s cut my taxes a little, so . . . ..

“But by golly that Superferry will mean more traffic in Wailuku. So to the Harbor! To the Courts!”

Do not misunderstand. I mean no disrespect to those who wanted an environmental impact statement on the Superferry. Both Gov. Linda Lingle and the Democrats who control the State Legislature erred in exempting the Superferry from going through the EIS process.

But those who seek affordable options for Island travelers are on the side of us all, however hamhandedly they may go about it.

Those who would send our young men and women into a hair-brained war, on the other hand, a war that was originally begun because of non-existent weapons of mass destruction then transformed into a crusade for democracy, side with no one save themselves and their unwillingness to admit error.

They deserve the low opinion in which they are held. They demand protest - loud and incessant - from the American people they have so mislead.

Last Tuesday night, King Street should have been lined with anti-war protesters - from Moiliili to Nuuanu Stream. They should have drawn the attention of the press - at least equal to that of the surfers who put themselves in the path of the Superferry.

The Superferry, after all, draws no blood. The war in Iraq does little else.

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