CRAWFORD, Texas – Demonstrators on both sides of the Iraq war debate waved signs and argued their cases in President Bush’s hometown on Saturday, though their efforts drew much smaller crowds than last summer’s dueling rallies.
About 200 war protesters joined Cindy Sheehan on a private lot outside Bush’s ranch, laughing at a Bush impersonator and crying while listening to relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq.
Sheehan held up a picture of 20 flag-draped coffins on a plane bound for the United States.
“This is George Bush’s exit strategy from Iraq,” said Sheehan, whose son Casey died in Iraq last year. “And we want our kids to walk off planes, not be loaded onto the back of a hearse from a loading dock. And that’s why we’re doing what we do.”
Several miles away in downtown Crawford, a dozen Bush supporters gathered with their own signs, one reading: “Real America won’t wimp out.”
Throughout the day, dozens of others stopped by the pro-Bush tent to express their support.
“I’m just a flag-waver, and I disagree with what (protesters) are saying,” said Army veteran William Moore of nearby McGregor. “The fact is, we did go to war. I don’t like war, but I don’t want us to get out of Iraq before the job is done.”Saturday’s biggest demonstration in Crawford turned out to be one involving about 500 Americans from Ethiopia, which has experienced political unrest and violence since the disputed May election. Demonstrators called on Bush to pressure the Ethiopian government to release detained opposition party leaders, who accused authorities of rigging the polls.