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War protestors eye Oak Harbor

Whidbey Island’s self-professed “Navy Town” will be visited by a group of war protesters Saturday.

People waving signs protesting a possible war with Iraq are common sights in Coupeville and on South Whidbey, but to date their presence has been minimal in Oak Harbor.

That will change Saturday when, from 1 to 4 p.m., protesters will be standing at the corner of Highway 20 and Whidbey Avenue.

Protest organizers include George Pardington of Oak Harbor, Jack Tingstad of Coupeville and Kathy Cado of Freeland.

In written comments, Pardington said the event was called to “stop the unprovoked war against Iraq.” It was timed to coincide with the national march on Washington, D.C. that day, and with other protests throughout the U.S. He hopes 100 to 150 protesters will participate from all over the island.

Margarethe Cammermeyer, a retired Army colonel who lives in Langley and chairs the Island County Democratic Party, acknowledge Tuesday that protesters from South Whidbey plan to participate in the Oak Harbor demonstration. “A contingent is coming, yes,” she said. “I’ll probably be coming up.”

Cammermeyer served in Vietnam and said the protest isn’t aimed at those serving in the military. “You can support the service members without supporting a blanket war without cause,” she said.

Island County Democrats, she added, “voted unanimously against an unprovoked attack on Iraq,” at the recent county convention.

Speaking only for herself, Cammermeyer said she isn’t against every war scenario. First, the U.N. Security Council would have to give the go-ahead, and then President Bush would need clear support from the American people, she explained. “I’m not personally anti-war,” she said.

Cammermeyer expressed great concern about possible casualties from “urban warfare,” in Iraq, and complained that only one member of Congress has a child who is an enlisted person in the military. She supports the idea that U.N. weapons inspectors should be given up to a year to search for weapons of mass destruction.

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