They've trashed 9-11 memorials. Blocked streets. Burned flags. Shut down bridges. Marched on Broadway. And trampled across the National Mall.
They've thrown stones at a uniformed female member of the Vermont National Guard, and hurled pie at a Bay Area television reporter deemed too pro-war.
They've carried signs that read "We support our troops when they shoot their own officers" and "Don't impeach Bush . . . execute him."
They've publicly wished for "a million Mogadishus" and privately hoped for 100 new bin Ladens.
They've issued manifestos calling for sabotage of military establishments in the name of peace. They've organized "die-ins" in the name of justice. And they've conducted "vomit-fests" to uphold their warped view of the American way.
The antiwar mobsters have gotten away with all this and more. But on Monday, one city finally drew the line.
In Oakland, Calif., local police arrested dozens of antiwar activists who flouted their free-speech rights in a treacherous attempt to shut down a port involved in shipping military supplies to soldiers during wartime. Elsewhere in the Bay Area, several others were cited for crossing a police line outside the Concord Naval Weapons Station; seven more face felony charges for stopping traffic nearby on Interstate 280.
Oakland officials say that the self-proclaimed pacifists, who still fancy themselves the righteous heirs of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., hurled concrete, wood, and iron bolts at cops. In self-defense, the outnumbered police fired appropriately named "dummy" bullets, sting balls, and bean bags at the unruly crowds.
Sporting grapefruit-sized welts and bruises -- their very own red badges of incorrigibility! -- the Oakland rabble-rousers wheedled that the cops were too "aggressive."
"I've never seen this level of violence in response to a community picket," complained David Solnit, a "veteran of two decades of civil disobedience" who helped coordinate Monday's blockade through an outfit called Direct Action to Stop the War.
But this was not your organic garden-variety "community picket."
The antiwar obstructionists did not set out simply to exercise their own free speech. They set out deliberately and specifically to prevent private businesses from fulfilling their federal contracts with the Department of Defense and U.S. Agency for International Development related to the war and post-war reconstruction in Iraq.
Cyprus Gonzalez, 19, of Oakland, who was struck during the port melee, made his and his antiwar collaborators' intentions clear: "It's direct. Here, we're actually trying to shut the place down for a day, to take a strike straight at the actual machine of the war."
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