Tuesday, August 21 , 2018, 7:51 am | Fog/Mist 66º


Local News

Demonstrators Make Peace Pitch from Four Corners

Small band aims to pressure Obama to get U.S. troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan

Several dozen people gathered Thursday at the intersection of Carrillo and Chapala streets, brandishing flags, banners and signs in an effort to promote peace. The group, greeted with honks of support from passing motorists, was protesting the sixth anniversary of the Iraq War. The demonstrators voiced opposition to what they termed the “new definition of withdrawal,” which they say will leave thousands of troops in Iraq while sending more to Afghanistan.

Andrew Hankin, one of the organizers of the event, said he wants to see President Obama move quickly to completely withdraw U.S. troops.

Lauren McElroy waves to passers-by as they honk in support during a peace rally Thursday.
Lauren McElroy waves to passers-by as they honk in support during a peace rally Thursday. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

“We’re trying to hold them to that campaign pledge,” he said of Obama’s oft-repeated promise to end the war without delay.

The assembled demonstrators included a collection of people from various organizations, such as the Santa Barbara Peoples Coalition and Veterans for Peace. Hankin said the coalition has been meeting since before the invasion of Iraq, as “sabers were being rattled,” and that a small group gathers every Saturday to walk up and down State Street.

If a residual force of troops stayed behind in Iraq, Hankin said, it would cost a vast amount of resources, which are badly needed domestically.

“The $600 billion war, that’s a stimulus package on its own,” he said. “We could have done a lot of good with that here ... There are all of these American issues that need money to be solved.”

Hankin said the rally was a show of solidarity, and to show passers-by that they are speaking out.

“It’s important for our spirits,” he said. “We know we’re right on this issue.

Standing nearby and wielding a sign, Lauren McElroy said she’s been protesting the Iraq War each year.  For her, being out on the side of the road is about civic engagement.

“I feel that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing my duty as a citizen,” she said.

McElroy said it was “a little scary” to be seen protesting at the beginning of the war, but that staying involved is crucial. Under the Constitution, she said, “there’s a place for the people’s voice, and if we don’t make that heard, then the system starts to break apart.”

Across the street, Lois Hamilton, the MoveOn.org coordinator for Santa Barbara, said she had her own motivations for being out at the rally: Her two 17-year-old grandsons, who are close in age to many soldiers who have chosen to serve in the military.

“It scares me to death,” she said.

Hamilton said she worked tirelessly on Obama’s campaign, but didn’t want him to allow troops to stay in the country.

“This is the prime time to let them know that we don’t want this war in Afghanistan to escalate,” she said.

“We’re going to keep on him until he brings them all home like he said he would,” she said.

Click here for additional photo coverage of the rally from Robert Bernstein.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >