Georgetown and American University students filled the sidewalk opposite the French embassy Thursday afternoon, both protesting and supporting France’s resistance to American foreign policy toward Iraq.

Ten Georgetown College Republicans joined nearly 30 College Republicans from American University, who organized the event. idway through the rally, nearly 15 members of Georgetown Peace Action and College Democrats arrived for a counter-protest, supporting France’s current dissention with a possible U.S.-led coalition to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

“Welcome to the ground of the embassy that belongs to France because of the United States of America,” Bob Nando, a sophomore at American University and one of the rally’s collaborators, said. “The real unilateralism is the French standing against the U.N. to disarm Iraq. There are nearly 30 countries in the U.N. Security Council ready to go in and take down Saddam. We’re here because they’re [Iraq] going to have to disarm and we can’t have the French and the left in America stopping them.”

Several protestors said they thought France needed to remember the support of America and its allies in World War II.

“The fact that the French do not desire to assist in the U.N. resolution is just a joke. Look at recent history to show what others have done to help France,” Chuck Eldridge (COL ’03), vice president of Georgetown’s chapter of College Republicans, said. “We’re here because the Iraq conflict is something that is going to affect the western world and the United Nations, which signed on to a resolution to disarm Iraq, threatening `serious consequences’ if they didn’t disarm.”

Both camps exchanged slogans and rallied passers-by with posters and flags to cheer (or honk) for their cause. While the anti-French contingent used bullhorns and sang patriotic songs to rally the crowd, the anti-war party used makeshift drums to augment their slogans and cheers.

“What Would Chamberlain Do?,”Appeasement Kills” and “Viva La Iraq,” read posters from the anti-French protestors, while anti-war enthusiasts rallied with slogans “No War in Iraq,” and “Give Peace a Chance,” in both French and English.

“We’re out here because there might be a war soon, and, personally, I don’t think there’s ever a situation that justifies a war,” Conor McHugh, Irish exchange student studying at Georgetown, said. “It seems that these people are protesting the right of France to have its own opinion. France has the right to disagree with the United States. There are major dangers in facing a war unilaterally, and the approach that the U.S. has is if you don’t agree, you are going to get bullied around. You don’t have a right to disagree with the U.S.”

The event, which drew French media attention, began with a short speech by Dr. Laurie Mylroie, an adjunct professor at American University who has published several books on Saddam Hussein and disarmament in Iraq.

“Congratulations to you all for coming out and letting people know what the truth is and letting the French know what schmucks they are. You are all to be heralded as patriotic American citizens for coming out in this cold weather and telling the French like it is and show every American what they’re about,” she said.

Mylroie detailed the threat that Hussein poses to the world. “Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States, to his neighbors, to his own people and even to the French. As Colin Powell showed at the U.N., just a week ago, Saddam has the most awful weapons you can imagine,” she said. “He has biological agents and it is possible to deliver those deadly agents very simply. They just drop them in a subway system here or a subway system in any city in the United States, or into any mall, drop it into the air and many, many people will die … And if the French don’t understand it, there is something wrong with the material between their ears”

The anti-war protestors, however, maintained that a unilateral strike against Iraq would further damage U.S. stability.

“It’s important for the rest of the world to know that not all of America supports the war and that not all Americans support President Bush’s idea to go to war which has shown us from past experiences that war doesn’t solve anything,” Tania Kaimowitz (SFS ’06) said.

At one point, both groups of protestors chanted slogans that used the events of Sept. 11 to justify their respective positions. “We gave peace a chance, we got 9-11,” screamed the more hawkish crowd, while the doves urged a different message: “Remember 9-11, give peace a chance.”

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