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War protesters now focus on U.S.' attack-first policy

WASHINGTON—Opponents of the war in Iraq, unable to stop a conflict that ended relatively quickly, are trying to refocus their energies by targeting the Bush administration policy of pre-emptive attack.

One mainstream group, Win Without War, announced Tuesday that it will renew efforts to highlight the costs and consequences of the war and prevent a U.S. attack on Syria or other countries.

"We need to do everything within our power to bury the Bush doctrine in Iraq," said Tom Andrews, director of the coalition of 40 groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Council of Churches.

The anti-war group is conducting a global petition drive on the Internet ( to mobilize opposition against pre-emptive wars. Andrews said Win Without War is working with similar groups in Britain and Spain, two countries that were part of the coalition of the willing backing the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Andrews acknowledged the military success of U.S. forces in Iraq and added that "the Iraqi people, and the world, are better off without Saddam Hussein."

Andrews was joined at a news conference by actor and director Tim Robbins, an outspoken opponent of the war who said allies of the Bush administration are trying to stifle dissent. Last week, the president of the baseball Hall of Fame, Dale Petroskey, canceled a celebration of the movie "Bull Durham," starring Robbins and his partner, Susan Sarandon, because he feared that they would make anti-war statements at the event.

"A chill wind is blowing through this nation," Robbins said. "A message is being sent through the White House and its allies in talk radio and ... Cooperstown: `If you oppose this administration, there can and will be ramifications.'"

A couple of groups that opposed the war used Tuesday's deadline for filing tax returns to highlight their objection to using taxes for the U.S. invasion. Tax "resisters" in several cities said they would not pay their federal taxes.

"It is time for people who believe this war is wrong to realize that in paying our taxes we are funding the very wars we protest," said Betty Scholten, a resident of Washington.


(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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Tim Robbins.

ARCHIVE PHOTOS on KRT Direct (from KRT Photo Service, 202-383-6099):

Tom Andrews.