There were antiwar demonstrations in a number of cities yesterday, with the largest one in Washington, D.C. There was also a sizable counter-protest in Washington, sponsored by Gathering of Eagles and other pro-military groups. Generally speaking, the news coverage of the demonstrations that I’ve seen hasn’t been too bad.
Most newspaper readers will probably see this Associated Press account, which gives reasonable prominence to the pro-war counter-demonstrators:
Denouncing a conflict entering its fifth year, protesters across the country raised their voices Saturday against U.S. policy in Iraq and marched by the thousands to the Pentagon in the footsteps of an epic demonstration four decades ago against another divisive war.
A counterprotest was staged, too, on a day of dueling signs and sentiments such as “Illegal Combat” and “Peace Through Strength,” and songs like “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “War (What’s It Good For?).”
Reading between the lines, you can deduce that the antiwar turnout was disappointing:
Police no longer give official estimates but said privately that perhaps 10,000 to 20,000 anti-war demonstrators marched, with a smaller but still sizable number of counterprotesters also out in force. An hour into the three-hour Pentagon rally, with the temperature near freezing, protesters had peeled away to a point where fewer than 1,000 were left.
Some participants dispute the claim that the antiwar protesters were more numerous; the Gathering of Eagles site estimates that there were 30,000 pro-military demonstrators in Washington.
This New York Times account is interesting, once you get past the clearly low-ball assertion that “several hundred” pro-war demonstrators turned out. The Times acknowledges with unusual frankness the far-left sponsorship of the antiwar rally: