It took the prospect of a third controversial Mideast war in this century, but angry tea party supporters and old-style leftist peaceniks marched shoulder to shoulder this afternoon through downtown Medford shouting, "No attack on Syria."
In noon speeches at Vogel Plaza, both sides assailed President Obama's proposed attack on the strife-torn Arab nation, saying it's not clear who gassed civilians, it would lead to American "boots on the ground," and it would be ruinously expensive.
"Obama is using the old argument of the domino effect, that if we don't stop the poison gas now, it will be used on our children," Herbert Rothschild, chairman of Peace House told a crowd of two dozen.
Following Rothschild, Susan Clark of Campaign for Liberty told the crowd that the president must not move on Syria without a congressional majority, something that now seems doubtful.
"Obama helps war-mongering Republicans," she said. "If we bomb chemical sites, we will cause extensive damage to the country. ... Syria is not a threat to us, but if we attack them, they will be — just like when we were attacked on 9/11."
The rally coincided with the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attack by al-Qaida, and several protestors said the terrorist group has infiltrated Syrian rebel groups, posing a caution against helping them.
"We don't know who our true enemy is, and we don't know who did the gassing," Clark said.
People identifying themselves as tea party or Peace House backers marched down Central Avenue, chanting "No more, no war," and presented anti-war petitions at the offices of Rep. Greg Walden and Sen. Ron Wyden.
Walden's staff told the protestors the congressman had announced his opposition two days ago. Wyden's office was closed, but courthouse marshals said they would deliver the petitions.
— John Darling