Inspired by Grisham, UVA grad walks to DC

In addition to inspiring local fiction writers recently, local author John Grisham has inspired one local anti-war activist to begin a 5-day walk tomorrow from the Rotunda to the White House in protest against the Iraq War.

During his Sunday commencement speech at UVA, the author spoke of the "fifty-eight thousand boxes" that returned from Vietnam, and had this advice for outgoing students: "When politicians get the itch to go to war, don't believe what they say."

"I've been against this war for a long time," says Nicholas Kimbrell, who co-founded UVA's Students for Peace in Iraq. "And it finally just clicked while I was listening to Grisham. Anti-war people need to make sacrifices for their cause, just like soldiers do, and this is a way to make a symbolic statement myself after graduation."

Kimbrell says he'll begin his trek tomorrow at 9am in front of the Rotunda, and that he'll be carrying a sign on his back that says, "Bring Our Troops Home: Memorial Day March, Charlottesville to DC." For safety reasons, he's let the State police know he'll be walking up Route 29 and will be keeping his cell phone on.

In addition to Grisham, Kimbrell also credits his Mom, a civil rights activist back in the day, with inspiring him to make the march.

"I think it will be a good summation of my years in Charlottesville," says Kimbrell.

5 comments

Way to go Nick! We'll be meeting you soon for the last couple miles. You are an inspiration.

Actually I am just curious on how much you or John Grisham knows about the war in IRAQ. It's funny how some of you people can voice an opinion, but truly has no idea what's going on over there. My Husband has served in Iraq two times and I am pretty sure what they were trying to accomplish over there is "PEACE". They re-built schools and gave children books and soccer balls; which I find interesting that the media doesn't report any of that and people like yourself and Grisham go along with. In the meantime insurgents are attacking our men and women over there because they don't want peace in that country, they want a dictorship and those men and women over there are the same people that fight for your freedom to do this walk or John Grisham freedom to right the books that he does. Hmmmmmm I wonder if you or John Grisham has done the first thing for your service men or woman that defend your freedom to live in this country.Personally my inspiration comes from our service men and women and all the sacrafices that they make.

I am a 54 year old veteran of this country's military. I am a patriot and I agree with the following assessment of the truth behind the failed Iraq war, which is about the control of Middle East oil, not about weapons of mass destruction or anything else.

By Roland S. Martin

(CNN) -- Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was declared the winner of Tuesday's Republican presidential debate in South Carolina, largely for his smack down of Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who suggested that America's foreign policy contributed to the destruction on September 11, 2001.

Paul, who is more of a libertarian than a Republican, was trying to offer some perspective on the pitfalls of an interventionist policy by the American government in the affairs of the Middle East and other countries.

"Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years," he said.

That set Giuliani off.

"That's really an extraordinary statement," said Giuliani. "As someone who lived through the attack of September 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq; I don't think I've ever heard that before and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11."

As the crowd applauded wildly, Giuliani demanded that Paul retract his statements.

Paul tried to explain the process known as "blowback" -- which is the result of someone else's action coming back to afflict you -- but the audience drowned him out as the other candidates tried to pounce on him.

After watching all the network pundits laud Giuliani, it struck me that they must be the most clueless folks in the world.

First, Giuliani must be an idiot to not have heard Paul's rationale before. That issue has been raised countless times in the last six years by any number of experts.

Second, when we finish with our emotional response, it would behoove us to actually think about what Paul said and make the effort to understand his rationale.

Granted, Americans were severely damaged by the hijacking of U.S. planes, and it has resulted in a worldwide fight against terror. Was it proper for the United States to respond to the attack? Of course! But should we, as a matter of policy, and moral decency, learn to think and comprehend that our actions in one part of the world could very well come back to hurt us, or, as Paul would say, blow back in our face? Absolutely. His real problem wasn't his analysis, but how it came out of his mouth.

What has been overlooked is that Paul based his position on the effects of the 1953 ouster by the CIA of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.

An excellent account of this story is revealed in Stephen Kinzer's alarming and revealing book, "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq," where he writes that Iran was establishing a government close to a democracy. But Mossadegh wasn't happy that the profit from the country's primary resource -- oil -- was not staying in the country.

Instead, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now known British Petroleum, or BP) was getting 93 percent of the profits. Mossadegh didn't like that, and wanted a 50-50 split. Kinzer writes that that didn't sit too well with the British government, but it didn't want to use force to protect its interests. But their biggest friend, the United States, didn't mind, and sought to undermine Mossadegh's tenure as president. After all kinds of measures that disrupted the nation, a coup was financed and led by President Dwight Eisenhower's CIA, and the Shah of Iran was installed as the leader. We trained his goon squads, thus angering generations of Iranians for meddling in that nation's affairs.

As Paul noted, what happened in 1953 had a direct relationship to the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979. We viewed that as terrorists who dared attack America. They saw it as ending years of oppression at the hands of the ruthless U.S.-backed Shah regime.

As Americans, we believe in forgiving and forgetting, and are terrible at understanding how history affects us today. We are arrogant in not recognizing that when we benefit, someone else may suffer. That will lead to resentment and anger, and if suppressed, will boil over one day.

Does that provide a moral justification for what the terrorists did on September 11?

Of course not. But we should at least attempt to understand why.

Think about it. Do we have the moral justification to explain the killings of more than 100,000 Iraqis as a result of this war? Can we defend the efforts to overthrow other governments whose actions we perceived would jeopardize American business interests?

The debate format didn't give Paul the time to explain all of this. But I'm confident this is what he was saying. And yes, we need to understand history and how it plays a vital role in determining matters today.

At some point we have to accept the reality that playing big brother to the world -- and yes, sometimes acting as a bully by wrongly asserting our military might -- means that Americans alive at the time may not feel the effects of our foreign policy, but their innocent children will.

Even the Bible says that the children will pay for the sins of their fathers.

I don't care about the politics behind why we are in or why we went in it really does not matter. I can say that becaus I have been there it is like a doctor going in to fix one thing and finding out that what they went in for was ok it was something else that was causing the problem should he just not fix it because it was not what he went there for. Alot of people that have such a anti US presence in Iraq mind set do not really know anything about what is actually happening there or what was happening there in the past. I got it first hand no news reporter no otheer peoples opinion I saw it and dealt with it day in and out for a long time The people there were tourtured regularly by Saddams regiem thousands upon thousands were slaughtered because they had different beliefs than them. Nobody did anything including us but we are there now and we are doing something. There are criminals "terrorist" there that are using the Koran to justify there acts but they are really just criminals really bad ones. They are no different then Martha Stewart or any other hollywood you who that wants special treatment because they are famous they have exuses just like the terrorist criminals using the Koran as there exuse to do horrific things to good people. We had a shitter truck guy that use to empty the porta johns there he was just making a living doing a crappy job the terrorist did not like that so the killed him split him open andthrew him out in front of our base why because he was trying to make a living because they did not agree with him working for us. What if I did not agree with Any of you and decided it would be a good idea to kill you would and then nobody did anything about it would that be ok. Wjat if if your wofe daughter and son were raped and killed while you were made to watch and then you were tourtured and left for dead would not want someon to do something about it. All of babbling is not going anywhere I know but Yall need to understand that The guys on the ground there they are doing there job and it needs to be done like it or not it needs to be done You can't just start something and not finish it. This is not vietnam or any other war it is different you cannot compare what you don't know about and you can't know until you go there and spend some real time not a day or two on the ground with those guys. I need to stop now because I am getting angry about it but let us do our job go volunteer some where and make good use of your time and volunteer for something that means something like the boyscouts a nursing home a childrens hospital not some political BS cause like the anti Iraq cause.
R/S
BT's Husband

uh... wonder then, why are we not doing much in Darfur? oh, that's right... they don't have oil in Darfur..