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Truth Squad
Another war is being waged at home: meet some of its soldiers.

The Washington Post Magazine
December 9, 2001

In the cluttered basement of a town-house-cum-office near Capitol Hill, a battle plan is taking shape.

The mission: to stop the war. The weapon: "tens of thousands of leaflets." The strategy: mass distribution at Metro stations.

"It's our job to let the population know what the truth is," Sarah Friedman, a twenty-ish woman, says solemnly.

The truth about the war on terrorism, say Friedman and her fellow peace activists gathered here tonight, is this: It's a war on the Afghan people. It's a "tactic" of bankers, corporations and government officials to consolidate their hold over the Middle East and the Caspian Sea region and to get rich. The Bush administration is colluding with the media to censor the news.

So around go two clipboards on which the 15 or so assembled volunteers sign up for three training sessions before the big day of outreach and consciousness-raising. Friday at Metro Center. Monday at U Street/Cardozo. Tuesday at Foggy Bottom/GWU. Then, on Wednesday morning, the mission begins.

Some are ready to go now. Nancy Hey, an elderly woman who had earlier been handing out bright red fliers advertising a vegan Thanksgiving, pipes up, "Do you need to take the training?" After all, she's been leafleting crowds since before some of the volunteers were born.

She's not the only one who's eager to get going. There's passion to spare in this crowd. Take high school teacher Norman Meres. He argues fiercely against dropping bombs and revenge. He thinks the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks should be prosecuted in court. This war saddens him, deflates him, outrages him.

He must feel besieged. Just this morning, a poll showed that nine out of 10 Americans support the U.S. military action in Afghanistan. No matter: The activists' struggle against the corporate and government elites will continue.

"It's these people who are profiting off of this war," says an intense young woman named Sarah Sloan. Post-September 11 patriotism, she tells the others, has obscured this. The activists' objective, Sloan says, must be to effectively "pull back the sand that's in the eyes of people" who are "being blinded by this sort of patriotism."

The battle plan is set. To reveal the truth. A war against sand.

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