Protesters say oil industry ties to Bush fueling Iraq war

Wednesday, February 5, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Consumer advocate Ralph Nader led a group of peace activists Tuesday in accusing the Bush administration of letting its ties to the oil industry influence the government's war strategy against Iraq.

"This is a government that is marinated in oil," the former presidential candidate said at a news conference.

Nader noted that Bush received nearly $2 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry during the 2000 election and that Vice President Dick Cheney headed Halliburton, an energy company, before taking office.

The Bush administration insists that its Iraq policy is based on the weapons of mass destruction it believes Saddam Hussein is hiding.

He spoke before anti-war demonstrations were held at gas stations across the country.

In Washington, several dozen demonstrators picketed the American Petroleum Institute. They held signs declaring "Bush & Cheney: Fossil Fools." Their chants of "drop Bush, not bombs," were met by the voices of about 20 counterprotesters who carried "Saddam loves Greenpeace" signs and urged onlookers to "Save the Kurds." The counterprotesters were led by two individuals dressed as Saddam and Darth Vader.

"If we go to war with Iraq in the next few weeks, all these folks protesting here just help the other guys think that Americans are not behind the war," said Chuck Williams, who organized the counter-protest. "They'll get our people killed, just like in Vietnam."

Williams is the executive director of American Land Rights Association, an advocacy group that supports private property rights and the commercial use of public lands.

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