It was the Fall of 2002 and the winds of war were whipping mightily from Washington, DC. President Bush and his cabinet were banging the drums for an attack on Iraq. They had weapons of mass destruction, were tied into the attacks of 9/11 – fresh in the nation’s conscience -, harbored al Qaeda terrorists. All lies that everyone now accepts as misrepresentations.
But there were already chants emanating from the citizenry: “no war!” and “Peace now!”
And in Ocean Beach, that cute, little waterfront village of hippies and retirees, several hundred people were marching and rallying – calling for no war, attempting to galvanize their neighbors to join in calls to keep the peace.
The rallies in OB were organized by the Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization (OBGO) – now defunct – but back then, a very vibrant local group that returned grassroots organizing to OB.
Ocean Beach was at the forefront within San Diego to rally against the coming invasion. The City’s anti-war and peace movement had been mobilized and had held city-wide rallies. But OB was the first to stand up against the onslaught as a neighborhood, as a separate community. Protests against the war continued into 2003.
And now President Obama and the Pentagon have announced a formal end to the American involvement in Iraq – an end to the Iraq war for us.
OBGO is no longer around, and many of its original activists have been scattered to the winds – although many still live in the village itself. But OB’s demand to end the war has finally been met. 4500 dead Americans later, and more than 100,000 dead Iraqis later.