I once again challenge Mr Penn to run for public office in 2008 so as he can actually put his money and time on the line where his mouth is.Neither Penn nor Rep. Barbara Lee, the Oakland Democrat who has opposed the war since before it began four years ago, offered much in the way of specifics for ending the conflict, and they were largely preaching to the choir. The enthusiastic and occasionally boisterous crowd of 800 or so crammed into the Grand Lake Theatre wildly cheered as Penn excoriated President Bush. I would guess that they were preaching to the converted.
"You and your smarmy pundits -- and the smarmy pundits you have in your pocket -- can take your war and shove it," Penn said. "Let's unite not only in stopping this war, but in holding this administration accountable."
I am sure that if Mr Penn used more polite language he may well get more credibility in this and any subject he chooses to target. Can't imagine him getting a meeting with the President to outline his principals if he is so curt.
The town hall meeting came six days after peace marches were held nationwide to mark the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and one day after the House of Representatives voted 218-212 to withdraw combat troops by Sept. 1, 2008.
While that is a good target, I think that if the time comes and there is still work to be done that that date will be just a dot in the sand.Penn reiterated a point often made by opponents of the war when he said he supports the troops but opposes the war.
It is very very important to support the troops as it is their lives on the line. This tug of war over a pull out date is not going to help win the war, all it is going to do is give the insurgents a time line to plan their take over of Iraq upon pullout. Mr Penn needs to come up with something better than just demanding withdrawal.
"Let's make this crystal clear: We do support our troops, but not the exploitation of them and their families," he said. "The money that's spent on this war would be better spent on building levees in New Orleans and health care in Africa and (care for our veterans, which I agree with him on). Iraq is not our toilet. It's a country of human beings whose lives that were once oppressed by Saddam are now in Dante's Inferno."
Lee was among the California Democrats who voted Friday against the $124 billion war spending measure that President Bush has promised to veto. Lee is a member of the "Out of Iraq Caucus" that includes Democrats Lynn Woolsey of Petaluma and Maxine Waters of Los Angeles.
"We can't afford to spend one more dime or lose one more American or Iraqi life on this illegal and un-winnable war," Lee told the crowd, which offered several rousing standing ovations.
Lee introduced Penn to the crowd as movie star and temporary journalist for The Chronicle, referring to his dispatches published in the newspaper when he visited Iran in 2005. Penn also has visited New Orleans as part of the post-Hurricane Katrina rescue effort.
Outside the theater, protesters carried signs saying "Impeach Bush." Among those who attended today's rally were members of Grandmothers Against the War.
At the rally, which was organized by a coalition of Oakland community groups, folk singers led the crowd in song and a rapper rapped about violence in the streets. There were calls for impeachment of the president and for troops to be brought home and pleas for federal dollars to be spent on schools rather than on the war.What good is Sean Penn really doing? We all want out troops back safe and sound and we'd all like to see and end to the war. He has a few reasonable points, but he seems to just be a trouble maker that never gets anything done other than a couple of write ups in the paper. Modify your attitude Mr Penn and put your balls on the line and run for public office in 2008....DO IT.