Alan McConnell of Silver Spring, Md., stood near the Lincoln Memorial, the starting point for the "March on the Pentagon" Saturday, selling little green "Impeach Bush" buttons for a dollar each.
The proceeds, he said, would go toward making big green "Impeach Bush" yard signs. In the first hour at the rally, he made $150 in sales from the anti-war crowd that numbered in the thousands, all braving the windy, 30-degree weather in Washington, D.C.
The protesters participating in the march from the Mall to the Pentagon - a march intended to recall a 1967 anti-Vietnam War march -- made impeachment of President George W. Bush a high priority, waving signs that said "Impeach Bush for War Crimes;" "Visualize Impeachment, Save the Country;" and "Impeach and Imprison Bush," among others.
Both protesters and speakers at the march cited as reasons for impeachment their belief that Bush intentionally lied about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to "mislead" the country into war; the warrantless domestic surveillance of international telephone calls; and the leaking of CIA employee Valerie Plame Wilson's identity. Many also called for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney and cabinet officials as well.
The group ImpeachBush.org, a group founded by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, was a co-sponsor of the "March on the Pentagon," along with the A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition.
"The president and vice president committed high crimes and misdemeanors. How many crimes do they have to commit? How long does this have to go on?" said Clark, who served on the legal defense team for Saddam Hussein when he was tried in Iraq for crimes against humanity. "Impeachment is the first step to restore order to the country."
ImpeachBush.org says it has collected more than 850,000 signatures on impeachment petitions and it claims to be the country's largest impeachment group. And there are other such groups.
Aggressively trying to sell his green buttons, McConnell, of the group United Local Impeachment Meet-up approached Monica McGovern, 47, who was holding a collection bucket for donations to the pro-impeachment group WorldCan'tWait.org in one hand and a "Stop the Iraq War, No Iran War, Impeach Bush" sign in the other.
McGovern, who traveled from Bush's birthplace of New Haven, Conn., for the march, told McConnell she didn't have a $1 to spend on the green button, and declined his request to use money from the bucket for the purchase.
"I'm a conservative Republican and believed the president, but then I found out it was a lie and not an intelligence mistake," McGovern, 47, told Cybercast News Service.
She said she doesn't expect Congress to do anything about it.
"It's discouraging," she said. "But I have to do the right thing even if there is no chance."
Multiple speakers near the Pentagon led the crowd in chants of "Impeach Bush."
To be sure, protesters in the large crowd had multiple messages. Many held signs that said "9/11: It was an Inside Job;" "Who Would Jesus Bomb?" and "The Rapture is Not an Exit Strategy."
Others carried upside down American flags. At least one person wore a Bush mask with a red devil outfit including horns.
"They are Satanic," said Kennedy Hart of Northern Virginia, referring to the Bush administraton. "How do you run your own nation into the ground and kill mass numbers of people without being Satanic? They think they are above God and can use the world as their playground."
Hart held a sign that said "Impeach Cheney, Then Bush."
"If you just impeach Bush, who do you get? The one who designed the war," said Hart, who is part of the political action committee of perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche.
Despite the apparent broad support in the anti-war movement for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said more than once that impeachment is "off the table." However, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which would preside over impeachment proceedings, has repeatedly expressed interest in taking up the matter.
Speaking to the crowd, former Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia blamed her own party for not taking action on impeachment and ending the war.
"Why is impeachment off the table?" McKinney shouted into the microphone. "The Democrats are full partners in George Bush's war. As an American of conscience, I declare my independence from every bomb that was dropped. I declare my independence from every civil right violated. Sadly, I declare my independence from the leaders who let this happen."
But Ted Seaman, 73, a former member of the U.S. Air Force who came from Jacksonville, Fla., to march, said Valerie Plame Wilson's testimony to Congress on Friday gives momentum to the calls for impeachment.
"We're finally getting a breath of fresh air because subpoenas have been issued about the lies that were told," Seaman told Cybercast News Service.
Cindy Sheehan, who became a leading war critic after her son was killed in Iraq, said Congress will listen only if the public demands impeachment.
"We have to march the halls of Congress and tell them they work for you, not the corporations," Sheehan said. "We are the deciders, and we decided that George Bush and Dick Cheney should be impeached, should be indicted and should be imprisoned."
By Fred Lucas
CNSNews.com Staff Writer