Protestas en centro militar West Point en las entrañas del monstruo (English)

31.May.04    Análisis y Noticias

Protesters at West Point say Rumsfeld must go
Marchers blast Bush on Iraq
By Kathianne Boniello
Poughkeepsie Journal

Rachel Lagodka of New Paltz lagged behind the
boisterous stream of people
marching Saturday to the gate of the U.S.
Military Academy at West Point.With a sign around her
neck reading ‘’Rummy is Scummy,'’ Lagodka shuffled
along just inches at a time, relying on a pair of
crutches to bear her

As roughly 200 people chanted for the resignation
of U.S. Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who gave the West Point
commencement speech
earlier in the day, Lagodka said she couldn’t
miss the protest.

‘’He has the nerve to come this close to us after
all he’s done,'’ Lagodka
said of Rumsfeld, who has faced numerous calls
for his resignation since a
scandal erupted over the treatment of Iraqi
prisoners by U.S. troops.

Protesters descended on Highland Falls, a village
just outside the gates
of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, to
voice opposition to
Rumsfeld, the Iraq war and the Bush

The Department of Defense had no comment on the

Lagodka, using crutches because of an injured
knee, was among people from
around the region attending. Some brought
children or pets or used
wheelchairs. Others had long rectangular boxes
painted to look like
flag-draped coffins.

At least one soldier, Ivan Medina of Middletown,
whose twin brother Irving
was killed in November while serving in Baghdad,

‘’I fought this war, I saw my fellow comrades
die,'’ he told the crowd as
his parents, Jorge and Ana, stood by, wearing
shirts with Irving Medina’s
picture. ‘’Why? So Bush could settle the vendetta
that his father started
12 years ago? … I’m proud of my military
comrades, but I’m disgusted by
the commander in chief that we have.'’

Grieving parents

Jorge Medina, whose wife was wearing their slain
son’s dog tags, also took
the microphone to denounce President Bush.
‘’We have to vote and get rid of this guy,'’ he
said as the marchers cheered.

Organizer Michael Sussman, an Orange County civil
rights lawyer who
opposes the war, said ‘’all the political parties
need to know that
there’s a large constituency of American people
who oppose this war.
‘’A price has to be paid, in that (Rumsfeld)
should no longer be in that
position,'’ Sussman said.
But some Highland Falls residents didn’t
appreciate their village being
used as a political stage, especially during the
West Point graduation.
About 20 people carrying American flags and signs
reading ‘’Support West
Point'’ protested the marchers.
‘’West Point is part of this community,'’ said
Annie Scott, a Highlands
town councilwoman. ‘’This weekend is for our
veterans. These vets should
not have to contend with something of this
nature. … I think they could
have chosen a better place and a better time.'’
Sussman denied the protesters were seeking to
disrupt graduation.

For Guy DeBord of the City of Poughkeepsie,
dissent was part of the
marchers’ message.
‘’People are getting duped into thinking that
disagreeing with the
administration is anti-American or
anti-patriotic,'’ he said.
Robin Smith of Highland attended because, she
said, ‘’I was hoping that
some sort of show of numbers would show this
administration that dissent
is alive and well. The war is unethical and
At least one person watching the protests on both
sides saw something
‘’What I see before me is America,'’ Fort
Montgomery resident Jimmy Bailey
said. ‘’The right to have an opinion and the
right to speak your deep
feelings on an issue. I’m proud of them all.'’