Tucsons Grannies rage against Iraq war

TUCSON, Ariz. — On July 13 a year ago, five Raging Grannies were arrested here for protesting the war on Iraq. Their alleged crime was entering a military recruiting office and asking to enlist in the U.S. Army, so young soldiers stationed in Iraq could safely return home.

A year later the Grannies — all old enough to be grandmothers, and some of them veteran peace activists — are still raging against war in the Middle East and injustice at home.

Last week, on the anniversary of their arrest, 14 black-shrouded Grannies, joined by 40 supporters, rallied at the federal courthouse. They then marched to Republican Sen. John McCain’s office to deliver a petition on Iraq demanding an immediate end to the U.S. occupation, the closing of all U.S. military bases and the removal all U.S. mercenaries and corporate involvement.

Former city councilwoman and one-time mayoral candidate Molly McKasson spoke of her recent trip to Jordan and Syria with a Global Exchange delegation. She said she met with dozens of “terrified, enraged and homeless Iraqi refugees” who “talked of life in Basra and Baghdad as hell on earth.”

She said Jordan now hosts 1 million Iraqi refugees, with an estimated 1,000 more arriving every day. Another half million have taken refuge in Syria.

The Iraqi refugees McKasson spoke with “don’t understand why the great country of the United States would want to tear apart their civil society just to protect oil.” She added that many Iraqis felt U.S. leaders are “no longer sane.” She had to reassure them that the American people are sane, and that they will help bring peace to Iraq.

Earlier the Grannies sang some of their signature protest songs. They also heard from Raging Granny Carolyn Trowbridge and listened to a reading of an antiwar speech by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.).