Iraq War Anniversary Protested At N.J. Statehouse

Newsday — Monday, March 19, 2007

Associated Press Writer

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Bruce Tonari is a wounded Vietnam veteran who learned his 80-year-old mother died Monday morning.

But even that couldn't stop him from joining about 100 others to protest in front of the New Jersey Statehouse on Monday, marking the fourth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war.

Less than two hours after learning of his mother's death, Tonari said he had to come to the protest to decry what he described as President Bush's "road of lies, deceit and torture.''

"We lost our moral authority and we have to get it back,'' said Tonari, a Washington Township resident who spent two years in combat in Vietnam as a lance corporal in the U.S. Marines. He also served seven years in the U.S. Army in the 1980s.

Amid a 32-degree wind chill, Tonari and the other protesters waved signs and chanted, calling for an end to the conflict.

No counter-demonstration was held, but many passing cars honked their horns in support.

"Not one more U.S. soldier should be sacrificed in Iraq, and not one more dollar should be spent sustaining war and occupation,'' said the Rev. Robert Moore, executive director of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action.

Signs brandished by the protesters read, among other things, "Support Our Troops. Bring Them Home Now'' and "Keep 'em safe. Bring 'em home.''

"What we did in Vietnam and what we're doing now is not justified in any way,'' said Tonari, who injured his back in the Army in a jeep accident along the Czechoslovakia border.

Candice Robinson, a 17-year-old high school senior from Trenton, said homes could be found for the 3,000 homeless people in Trenton for the cost of two Black Hawk helicopters, which cost about $6 million apiece.

"Even though we are the richest country in the world, our priorities are out of order,'' she said, "and that just blows my mind.''

Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.

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