RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
David Generally was a lone voice of support for military action in the Middle East yesterday as he stood near the gate to the Pacific Fleet headquarters in front of hundreds of protesters, who marched from Aloha Stadium to voice their opposition to a war with Iraq.
Anti-war protestMost of the gas masks worn by marchers yesterday at a Honolulu protest against America going to war with Iraq were props.
to Pearl Harbor
The rally culminates at theIsles have 'head start' against terror
Pacific Fleet headquarters gate
By Diana Leone
But at least one was real, worn by a Navy sailor who is seeking to leave the service as soon as possible as a conscientious objector. The sailor, who is stationed at Pearl Harbor, said he began his "journey" toward not wanting to fight in a war about three months ago.
"I was on a submarine doing operations and I was sleeping right next to torpedoes," said the sailor, who asked not to be identified while he is still enlisted. "The fact that torpedoes have been used to kill thousands of people really bothered me."
As he examined his beliefs and looked at military actions around the world, "I realized that war is not the answer."
The decision wasn't easy, he said, and he has received some verbal abuse by fellow sailors as he waits for his discharge. But others "have told me they respected me for standing up for what I believe in," he said as he walked along Kamehameha Highway from Aloha Stadium to the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.
The sailor was one of several hundred people who made the half-mile walk, gathering before the gate to the fleet headquarters and "demanding to inspect weapons of mass destruction."
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
James Yamasaki of Not in Our Name, dressed as a "weapons inspector," yesterday handed over a list of demands for disarmament and demilitarization of Hawaii to a Navy official at the gate to the Pacific Fleet headquarters.
About a dozen military men in camouflage fatigues calmly stood guard at the gate, which remained closed during an hourlong antiwar rally there.
Protesters, some outfitted as "weapons inspectors" in white jumpsuits and blue hard hats, didn't really expect military brass to respond to their mock attempt to inspect weapons, said Carolyn Hadfield, one of the march organizers for the national group Not In Our Name.
Hadfield said she was encouraged by news reports yesterday that millions of people across the globe turned out in more than 600 cities to protest a U.S. attack on Iraq at this time.
One million people protested in Rome and at least 750,000 protested in London, with thousands in the streets of Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and New York.
Navy sailor David Generally was among a handful of counter-protesters who waited for the marches in front of the Pacific Fleet headquarters. Holding signs that read "Hitler had antiwar protesters, too" and "Peace through might," Generally heckled the marchers by hollering, "Blah blah blah blah" for several minutes as members of Not In Our Name attempted to read a statement through loudspeakers.
For the remainder of the rally, while a dozen or so people addressed the crowd, he stood by quietly.
Vietnam veteran Scott Cade turned toward the military guards on duty as he spoke, saying: "I feel those who participate (in this war) will be damaging my reputation as an American and further endangering me and my friends by creating hatred that will someday be returned to us, perhaps someday soon. Your actions will not lead to a safer world, but a more dangerous world of pre-emption and unilateral decisions to commit mass murder."
Longtime peace activist Frances Viglielmo's sign read, "Support our troops -- don't send them to die."
"I'm enchanted there's so many young people here, because I'm tired," she said as she looked around.
Her husband, Valdo Viglielmo, 76, said he proudly served in the military during the post-World War II occupation of Japan and received an honorable discharge. He called U.S. plans to attack Iraq "very similar to what Japan did in the 1930s, invading other countries without provocation."
"Iraq is not doing anything against the U.S.," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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