Chanting "Bring our troops home," the demonstrators criticized the administration of President George W. Bush for its policies on Iraq and called on Congress to cut off funding for the war.
The protesters crowded Washington to demand that the U.S. Congress stop the war in Iraq. John Lennon's antiwar song "Give Peace a Chance" -- from the 1960s anti-Vietnam War rallies -- was on the streets again.
Cut War Funds?
The protesters want Congress to vote a binding resolution to cut off funds for the war in Iraq and thereby end U.S. involvement in it.
Demonstrators carried flag-draped, mock coffins. Some Iraq war veterans addressed the crowds. An unidentified veteran said in a speech that: "The mood is changing there and it's not because our congressmen and our senators woke up one day and realized that escalating Iraq is the wrong answer. It's because you're telling them. You're telling that if you're going to represent me, you're going to bring this thing to an end because it's not working. It's over, we lost, and it's time to bring the troops home before more of them are killed, in an unwinnable, pointless bloodbath. And you're the ones that are going to make that happen."
Celebrities were well represented at the protest. Actress Jane Fonda was at her first antiwar demonstration since the Vietnam War. She branded the Bush government a "mean-spirited, vengeful administration."
Hollywood actor/director Sean Penn said: "Some of us remember a time when there was nothing to fear but fear itself. And now we have a president who's saying, 'Be afraid, be very afraid.' We're not afraid. And we're going to let them know that in a democracy -- and we're going to show the world -- that in a democracy, we are the deciders."
Failure Would Be 'Disaster'
However, President Bush thinks the United States cannot pull out of Iraq given the current state of the insurgency.
Speaking on January 26 at the White House about his decision to send more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq, Bush said "One of the things I've found in Congress is that most people recognize that failure [in Iraq] would be a disaster for the United States. And in that I'm the decision-maker, I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster."
Though many in Congress are critical of the war, the body has so far balked at using its powers to cut off funding, and only a handful of staunch antiwar members of Congress were present at the rally.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military has reported the deaths of seven more U.S. soldiers in Iraq since January 24. It brings the U.S. military's losses since the March 2003 invasion to 3,068.