March 19, 2011 will likely be remembered more as the first day of the Libyan War, but the protesters were in the streets before the first bombs fell, commemorating the eight year anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.
Significant protests were reported nationwide, with rallies in Bangor, Maine and Santa Barbara, California, and countless major cities from the heartland to the coasts. The Iraq War may not be the high profile story it once was, but eight years in a committed core of the war’s opponents still notice that it is a war far from over.
Protesters rallied near the White House, including legendary whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who was arrested for being too close to the White House gates, and likely too close to reminding President Obama, as he starts the war in Libya, that his promises to end the war in Iraq have not been kept.
In the eight years since the US invaded Iraq, 4,440 American soldiers have been killed in the nation, along with innumerable civilians. Some 50,000 soldiers remain on the ground, and while the Status of Forces Agreement calls for them to leave by December, talks are under way to extend their presence far beyond this date.