A handful of military veterans congregated along the Sixth Avenue overpass of Interstate 5 during the afternoon rush hour on Thursday, September 11, to express their dismay over president Barack Obama's September 10 statement of intention to use military force against the Islamic State movement in both Iraq and Syria.
"We're trying to generate some additional dialogue about the rush to war this country always seems to have," Veterans for Peace representative Gary Butterfield told the Reader. "It seems that every time there's some type of incident or episode anywhere on the globe, we're the first to arrive to show our militarism and our flag — we've got these signs warning against war on Syria from last year that we've pulled out from the garage to remind people that we've been here before."
Butterfield and other Veterans for Peace supporters present expressed dismay with a perception of politicians' general dismissal of voter polling indicating a diminished appetite for military intervention abroad.
While he spoke, the group's signage garnered a persistent chorus of supportive honks and waves from drivers passing below the bridge.
"We're here to remind that there are other ways to deal with crises in the world aside from resorting to militarism. There are many other steps that could and should be taken before that. It seems to me that we haven't taken them as a society, and that jeopardizes lives — not just American lives, but those of other cultures as well."