Protestors and "surrender monkeys" marched on the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Thursday opposing the Democrats retreat-and-defeat policies in the war against Muslim Jihadists in Iraq and around the world.
The "surrender monkeys" - played by two chimpanzees in San Francisco - wore the uniform of the original surrender monkeys from France: a beret and a waving white flag.
Move America Forward (MAF), the country's largest pro-troop group, sponsored the "Surrender is Not an Option" protests in three cities: San Francisco, Las Vegas and Carson City, Nev. The protesters included Iraqi veterans, Vietnam veterans, Gold Star parents, Blue Star parents, American patriots and special guests: two chimpanzees and one French monkey dressed as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys."
Following the protest, 10 people were allowed inside Pelosi's San Francisco office to discuss the issues with a staff person. The media were prohibited from witnessing the meeting; cameras and recording devices were banned, with no explanation. Guards kept an eye on the rally and strictly controlled entry into Pelosi's office.
Sen. Reid's office did not take kindly to the 100-plus protestors at his Carson City office. A handful of people, including a war veteran carrying a flag, went to the office and asked a Reid worker if they could make a formal complaint to the Democratic Senator. The group, led by Eric Odom of www.opposereid.com , asked her if she agreed with Reid. The woman slammed the door in their faces. (Video is at www.MoveAmericaForward.net ).
Neither Reid nor his office could be reached for comment on the incident.
MAF chairman Melanie Morgan spoke at the San Francisco event, which drew more than 70 people. Morgan, who is also cohost of the popular Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan show on San Francisco's KSFO, explained the "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" were meant to mock the cut-and-run politicians in Congress.
"Commander-in-Chief Nancy Pelosi and her sidekick Harry Reid personify the retreat-defeat-surrender mentality that is typical of what the Democrat party stands for today, "Morgan said in an earlier interview. "I might lump in Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska in that column. No matter what party, Americans do not stand for defeat."
The chimpanzees in San Francisco were treated with great care at the rally. Their handlers ensured they were safe and content. Jake, one of the chimpanzees, carried a flag that said, "Surrender is not an option."
The temperature in Las Vegas reached 97 degrees, which drew a complaint to the Humane Society of America, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
"It's a shame that Move America Forward is exploiting animals to score political points," Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement to the Sun. "Bringing monkeys into a crowded situation - especially in 97 degree heat - is potentially dangerous for the animals as well as the public."
It is unclear who complained about Hobo the "surrender monkey's" performance, which included him energetically riding a scooter. Hobo's handler ensured that the French monkey was hydrated and comfortable.
MAF spokespeople said Hobo was safe and appeared to enjoy his shtick.
"We treated the animals with love, compassion and respect," said Joe Wierzbicki, MAF spokesman who was at the Las Vegas rally.
"What's truly inhumane is how Speaker Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid are cutting and running on our troops, attempting to strip them of funding for training, ammunition and food in the middle of battle," Morgan said.
The "surrender monkeys" brought a bit of comedic relief to the protestors, many of whom have either served in the Iraq war or have loved ones deployed.
Joseph Williams, a Vacaville resident whose son was killed in the early days of the Iraq war, drove to San Francisco so Pelosi would know that most Gold Star parents want the United States to win the war - not leave with our tails between our legs.
"I'm tired of the cheese-eating surrender monkeys lead by the Commanders-in-Cheese Pelosi," said Williams, a Vietnam veteran.
Joe Eckstein, a San Francisco resident, showed up "because I love my country."
Eckstein believes Pelosi is a danger to our country by doing such things as taking trips to Syria while thumbing her nose at President Bush and the State Department.
"I've known she was dangerous since the time I saw her march in a parade with child molesters, NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association)," Eckstein said. "We call her NAMBLA Nancy."
Christine Sargent took time off work to attend the San Francisco protest.
"I'm here for the troops," Sargent said. "My son is in the Navy. . . Nancy Pelosi is very self-absorbed. How she got that position - God only knows."
Fairfield resident Rod Ferroggiaro took the ferry to San Francisco to participate. He served three tours in Vietnam and he remembers the horrible treatment he and his fellow veterans received upon returning to the states. He likened it to Reid's disrespectful actions and words.
"I know what it felt like," Ferroggiaro said. "The civilian population had a hard time looking us in the eyes. Commanders told us not to wear our uniforms in public.
"I came here because it was the right thing to do."
Neither Pelosi's nor Reid's leadership has lead to a successful timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. And their behavior is apparently having an effect on public opinion. Congress now has a lower approval rating than President Bush.
MAF's Morgan swears she won't stop her efforts until the war is won.
"We can, and will, honor our troops by blowing some air into their sails as they fight a dirty and dangerous war," Morgan said. "They are trying to cut the budget that funds our soldiers in harm's way. That's unacceptable. Senator Reid told the world 'we are losing in Iraq.' I DARE him to say that to a fighting man or woman in theatre. It's disgusting." Catherine Moy is a nationally recognized award-winning journalist and coauthor of "America Mourning: A story of two families."
Catherine Moy is an award-winning journalist who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She coauthored American Mourning with Melanie Morgan, KSFO morning co-host and chairman of Move America Forward.