When Bush visits, Rocky rallies

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SALT LAKE CITY -- What would a George W. Bush visit to Utah be without a Rocky Anderson rally?

For the fourth Bush visit in a row, the former Salt Lake City mayor is involved with a rally talking about what he calls Bush's war criminal record.

"We and the entire world know that George Bush is a war criminal," said Anderson during his speech.

About a hundred people came to the noon rally Friday at Pioneer Park.

Anderson wasn't the only speaker, but he was the most familiar to those who came.


He spoke about what he calls the constitutional violations and the crimes of Bush and the Bush administration, such as the wire-tapping of American citizens without warrants, breaking torture treaties against war prisoners, and going to war in Iraq in the first place.

"Blindly following bad leadership is not patriotism," said Anderson. "Patriotism is standing up for our fundamental constitutional values. To be a Republic means we have a balance of power, that everybody is subject to our laws, and if you violate our laws, you need to be held accountable."

David R. Irvine, a former Republican Utah legislator and retired Army Reserve brigadier general was also among the speakers at the rally. He said he found it "revealing" that Bush's new book only has three pages that talk about interrogation.

"If torture is really the panacea for cracking tough cases, why do we not incorporate it as a standard practice in our criminal justice system? Torture has not made us safer," Irvine said. "This debate is not about who's a wuss on terror; it's about what makes the most sense for national security and upholding the Constitution."

Anderson believes so far, Bush has not been held accountable.

There was one man at the rally holding a poster supporting Bush.

Anderson also said President Barack Obama is violating torture treaties because the president won't prosecute those who have done it and still do it.

"This isn't about any one person," said Anderson, "It's about a reaffirmation that the rule of law controls in this country. This isn't supposed to be a dictatorship. It's not supposed to be a tyranny. But when you concentrate so much power in the executive branch and the president can act and get away with acting as if he's above the law, that's a real danger for our nation. We need to stand behind our Constitution and the rule of law. That's real patriotism."

One speaker at the rally wrote a letter forgiving George Bush.

Ashley Anderson, who is not related to Rocky Anderson, is the co—director of a group called Peaceful Uprising.

In his letter, Ashley Anderson wrote about the moments of the Bush administration that angered him

"From the questionable election, to your choices for administration, to your handling of 9/11, I became more and more outraged," said Ashley Anderson, "I joined the largest protests in the history of the world, chanting "No Blood for Oil!" until my voice was gone."

The rally at Pioneer Park lasted about an hour.


Story compiled with contributions from Alex Cabrero and Steve Fidel.


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