women and peace

Iraq: women's views, the costs of war, links


Iraqi Women Under Siege is an excellent, fact-filled new 20 page report from the US peace group CODEPINK. Download from:
“The report shows that from 1958 to the 1990s, Iraq provided more rights and freedoms for women and girls than most of its neighbors. Though Saddam Hussein's dictatorial government and 12 years of severe sanctions reduced these opportunities, Iraqi women were active in all aspects of their society. After the occupation, with the exception of women in Iraqi Kurdistan, women's daily lives have been reduced to a mere struggle for survival.

Women Say NO to WAR: Women's Call for Peace: An Urgent Appeal
This international petition for peace was signed by 100,468 people by March 8, International Women's Day, surpassing the 100,000 goal set by Code Pink. On March 7 Code Pink reported that "March 8 anti-war actions (are) planned in 18 countries and 65 cities in the US! In Hyderabad, Pakistan a group will go to their US Embassy with signatures and a message that "the Pakistani people don't want war in Iraq." In Cairo, Egypt they are going to both the US and UK Embassies. On the Fiji island of Suva, women have been wearing pink every Wednesday to spread awareness and get more signatures to deliver to the US Embassy on their island. In Venezuela, after hearing the call from President Hugo Chavez to support the Women Say NO To War campaign, a brand new CODEPINK Caracas chapter formed last week and is organizing an action on March 8th..." US
Gold Star Families for Peace" activist Cindy Sheehan and others were arrested as they tried to present the petition at the UN in New York City. See more on Cindy Sheehan and her recent writings.

In Berlin Women and Life on Earth and others delivered petition posters with the signature totals to the US Embassy and German Chancellor, calling for an end to the US occupation of Iraq and a halt to German support for US illegal war-related activity on German soil.

Who Will Tell Our Stories? By Medea Benjamin, AlterNet. Posted March 2, 2006.
A delegation of Iraqi women who lost family members during the invasion want to visit the U.S. The State Department says no way.

The Samarra Bombing and its Aftermath: A New Face on the Civil War?

by Phyllis Bennis and Erik Leaver; Institute for Policy Studies; February 28, 2006
ZNet | Iraq·" It remains unclear who was responsible for the attack on the golden-domed Askariya Shi'a mosque in Samarra. In the two days following the bombing over 200 Iraqis were killed, and the country was put under a day-and-night curfew... The spike in sectarian violence does not reflect a sudden danger of civil war. Rather, if it continues to escalate it may lead to a shift from the existing low-intensity political civil war between supporters (reluctant or not) of the U.S. occupation and opponents of that occupation, to a civil war identified largely along sectarian lines...

Women and Life on Earth mourns the death of Atwar Bahjat, 26, an Iraqi journalist, and her colleagues, Khaled Mohsen and Adnan Abdallah, who were murdered while fulfilling their professional duties.
The three, who were working for the TV-channel Al Arabiya, were kidnapped on Wednesday, February 22, on the outskirts of Samarra, north of Bagdad. The team had just finished reporting on the destruction of on important Shiite Golden Mosque and mausoleum in the city centre, which had been bombed earlier in the day.
On Thursday morning, the bodies of the three journalists were found. We at WLOE are horrified by this appalling act, our thoughts are with the families of the three victims. We share the concern expressed by "Reporters without Borders", a press freedom organisation, who said "We will never stop repeating that journalists are neutral and vital observers. They are neither combatants nor targets to be shot down. Their work must be protected and respected, whatever their nationality and regardless of which media they work for." For more on this story see their report here.

Resource: "The Iraq Quagmire: the mounting costs of the Iraq War", January 2006, Institute for Policy Studies
2 page fact sheet (pdf download)


Iraqi Mother's Open letter to Cindy Sheehan:
..."Being a mother myself I have been following your campaign to pull out the US armed forces from Iraq. Having lost my son, as yourself, on the same battle-field, IRAQ, but on opposite sides, I felt both compassion and relief to have an ally on the other side..."
17 November 2005

The World Tribunal on Iraq
"The attack on Iraq is an attack on justice, on liberty, on our safety, on our future, on us all"
After two years of hearings and research, the closing session of this international investigation on the causes and effects of the US-led war on Iraq was held in Istanbul, Turkey from June 23-27, 2005.

Press Release about Jury Statement

Four women's voices from the Tribunal:

The Most Cowardly War in History: Opening Statement of Arundhati Roy
24 June 2005
.."The testimonies at the previous sessions of the World Tribunal on Iraq in Brussels and New York have demonstrated that even those of us who have tried to follow the war in Iraq closely are not aware of a fraction of the horrors that have been unleashed in Iraq... The assault on Iraq is an assault on all of us: on our dignity, our intelligence, and our future.

We recognize that the judgment of the World Tribunal on Iraq is not binding in international law. However, our ambitions far surpass that. The World Tribunal on Iraq places its faith in the consciences of millions of people across the world who do not wish to stand by and watch while the people of Iraq are being slaughtered, subjugated, and humiliated."

Towards A New Political Imaginary: Corinne Kumar, Women in Black India, El Taller International, Asian Women’s Human Rights Council
Read this inspiring speech on the informative website of Women in Black Leuven (Belgium)

"Only the imagination stands between us and fear : fear makes us behave like sheep when we should be dreaming like poets...
We must seek new imaginaries from the South : the South not only as third world, as the civilizations of Asia, the Arab world, Africa, Latin America; but the South as the voices and movements of peoples, wherever these movements exist; the South as the visions and wisdoms of women..."

Eve Ensler's Letter to America
, witten at the close of the Tribunal. She challenges America to wake up and act.
" Dear America,
I am longing to reach you-crossing this river of indifference and consumption and denial. I am trying to find you, reaching out through the desperate limitations of words and descriptions, swimming through the rhetoric of terror and God..."

Jodie Evans reports for CodePink
Also on Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/story/22308/

Views on Iraq

"Anti-war organizing that began within days of September 11th and kicked into high gear in the run-up to Bush's war in Iraq is paying off...
writes Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies in a widely circulated article:
Tipping Point, 28 June 2005
See other articles by Phyllis Bennis

28 June: Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) offered the following statement in response to President Bush’s speech on Iraq tonight: “The President misled the American people about this war, and he has no credibility on Iraq. There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction. There was no connection between Saddam and al Qaeda. There was no post war planning, and our nation is less safe as a result..."

20 June 2005: Phase II of the Anti-War Movement
by Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK, on commondreams.org
"For the history books, mark down June 2005 as the moment the US movement against the occupation of Iraq got its second wind. In June, the US public became solidly anti-war, Bush's approval rating took a nosedive, and a significant number of Congresspeople started to call for an exit strategy..."

Oil-For-Food is Small Potatoes
By Molly Ivins, AlterNet. Posted April 1, 2005.
"Some days, it's hard to pick the outrage du jour, but hypocrisy is always an inviting target, and the United Nations oil-for-food scandal provides a two-fer..."

The Invasion of Falluja: A Study in the Subversion of Truth
Mary Trotochaud and Rick McDowell,
American Friends Service Committee's representatives in Iraq.
Their home is in Baghdad, but they are temporarily living in Amman, Jordan.

"The illegal invasion, occupation, and subsequent violence perpetrated on the people of Iraq has lent considerable evidence to the assertion that truth is the first casualty of war.

It's hard to get past the US Administration's rhetoric that the siege of Falluja was an operation of pacification to ensure the Iraqi population's participation in free and democratic elections planned for late January. Is it not Orwellian that annihilation and occupation have been redefined to represent pacification and liberation? One wonders if the entire nation of Iraq isn't being destroyed in the name of saving it.

Falluja should go down in history as a case study on how truth is subverted, co-opted, buried, and ignored..."

for more on Falluja:

Global Thought and Local Action
for Nonviolent Social Change

monthly journal since 1972 of the New England Regional Office of the AFSC.

A view of the situation of women in war-torn Iraq from Houzan MahMoud, an Iraqi living in Britain and United Kingdom head of the
Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq
. This article was first published in The Independent in Britain.

30 January 2005, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Iraqi women find election a cruel joke
By Houzan MahMoud

" I am an Iraqi woman, and I am boycotting the elections. Women who do vote will be voting for an enslaved future. Surely, say those who support these elections, after decades of tyranny, here at last is a form of democracy, imperfect, but democracy nevertheless? ...

Honoring Marla Ruzicka
The senseless violence that surrounds -- and is caused by -- the US occupation of Iraq is brought home again, with the death of a young activist working for compensation for civilian victims of the war. Visit her organization's website for a visual display honoring her life and work,
The Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict: "CIVIC is a small organization working to obtain U.S. Government assistance for communities and families in need, while helping to shine a spotlight on the human costs of war." CIVIC Worldwide http://www.civicworldwide.org/index.htm

A few of many articles written by those who knew her:
Medea Benjamin, Kevin Danaher, AlterNet
Marla Ruzicka was a bright, shining light whose work focused on trying to bring some compassion into the middle of a war zone.

Fighting through cynicism
Remembering Marla Ruzicka as someone who didn't let the warmongers impede her quest for justice
By Camille T. Taiara, San Francisco Bay Guardian

Just before her death, Marla Ruzicka wrote about the importance of recording and publicly releasing Iraqi civilian casualty numbers.
Why Numbers Matter
By Marla Ruzicka, AlterNet. Posted April 20, 2005.

What Are We Fighting For? By Lakshmi Chaudhry
27 January 2005, Alternet

An excellent interview: writer Naomi Klein talks about the US presidential election, the failure of the Kerry campaign and its effects on the continuing war in Iraq. Several quotes:

..."First of all, I believe that an anti-war campaign could have won the election. But even if you think I'm crazy, I believe that an anti-war campaign would have done a better job at losing the election (laughs). Elections are also moments where issues get put on the national agenda. If there had been (an anti-war) candidate with courage, for instance, it would have been impossible for Bush to name Alberto Gonzales as his candidate for attorney general. It was Kerry's silence more than Bush's win that allowed Bush to make such a scandalous appointment.

When the siege in Fallujah happened (days after the election), and the violations of the Geneva Convention were at a completely new level, there were no questions raised in the mainstream press. The New York Times reported these incidents without even an editorial or interview of experts on international law about whether it was legitimate to attack all the medical care facilities and so on. This to me is Kerry's legacy...

We need to develop an agenda based on the demands coming from Iraq for reparations, for total debt erasure, for complete control over the oil revenues, for a cancellation of the contracts signed under the occupation, and so on. This is what real sovereignty would look like, real self-determination — we know this..."

Regarding the Torture of Others a powerful critique of U.S. torture in Iraq by Susan Sontag
"Shock and awe were what our military promised the Iraqis. And shock and the awful are what these photographs announce to the world that the Americans have delivered: a pattern of criminal behavior in open contempt of international humanitarian conventions..."

The costs of war

November 2004, Western Massachusetts

War affects everyone, not just those directly involved in the fighting.

This National Priorities Project website shows the ever-updated dollar costs to US taxpayers -- and what could be done with those funds -- instead of destruction.

Cost of the War in Iraq
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The War has cost 100,000 Iraqi lives: Lancet study 29 October 2004: The first scientific study of the human cost of the Iraq war suggests that at least 100,000 civilians have lost their lives since their country was invaded in March 2003. More than half of those who died were women and children killed in air strikes, researchers say. Iraqi people are now 58 times more likely to die a violent death.
See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3964311.stm
Download 8 page study at: http://www.zmag.org/lancet.pdf

The Iraq Body Count Project:
"an independent and comprehensive public database of media-reported civilian deaths in Iraq resulting directly from military action by the USA and its allies..."

Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
A detailed listing of the killed and wounded among the occupying forces in Iraq.

The terrible totals grow
Turners Falls, Massachusetts, November 2004

photo: WLOE

US military casualties: 10,000+ wounded as New Year starts

4 January 2005: "The number of U.S. troops wounded in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003 has surpassed 10,000, the Pentagon said Tuesday in a delayed update of its casualty data. Of the 10,252 total wounded, the Pentagon said 5,396 were unable to return to duty and 4,856 sustained injuries that were light enough to allow them to resume their duties...

The number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq stood at 1,335 on Tuesday, according to the Pentagon."
Read full story at:


The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors supports and promotes individual and collective resistance to war and preparations for war.

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VETERANS FOR PEACE Veterans Working Together for Peace & Justice Through Non-violence. Wage Peace!

Gold Star Families for Peace http://www.gsfp.org/
We as families of soldiers who have died as a result of war are organizing to be a positive force in our world to bring our country’s sons and daughters home from Iraq, to minimize the “human cost” of this war, and to prevent other families from the pain we are feeling as the result of our losses.

48 Vermont Towns Vote Against Iraq War, Call for State's National Guard to Come Home
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005
In Vermont, 48 town meetings voted last night to condemn the war in Iraq and to call on political leaders to bring home the state's National Guard. Vermont has lost more soldiers per capita than any state, and has the second highest mobilization rate for its National Guard and reservists.

Background on Iraq and Iraqi women: Country Profiles, Reports and Fact Sheets from the United Nation's UNIFEM

For more information on Iraq: Iraq Occupation Watch website has a special women's page; see also
Alternet's War on Iraq
site, with further links; Information Clearing House; Robert Fisk Website

http://www.peace-out.com/ This site was launched by a 22-year-old veteran from Peaks Island, Maine who was granted conscientious objector status from the Army last November, and is sharing what he learned with others. Perry O'Brien served a tour in Afghanistan as an airborne medic before he was honorably discharged.
for longer report on site
See also: Veterans for Peace (Maine)

Organisation for Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) - a women's a women's political organisation working in Iraq, advocating Iraqi women’s rights and setting up women's shelters etc. Publishes a regular newsletter. http://www.equalityiniraq.com/

Act Together: Women's Action for Iraq "We are a group of UK-based Iraqi and non-Iraqi women. We formed in 2000 to campaign against the economic sanctions on Iraq and, since late 2001, also campaigned against the US/US invasion of Iraq. Now our focus is on the occupation and the support of independent grassroots women’s initiatives in Iraq."

Future of Iraq Portal "A linksite focusing on empowering the Iraqi people" offers hundreds of links on Iraq and issues of war and peace in the region.

Who profits from the war in Iraq?

In 2003, Dick Cheney's former firm Halliburton received contracts from the Department of Defense worth $4.3 billion. See
The Center for Public Integrity's chart:
Post-War Contractors Ranked by Total Contract Value in Iraq and Afghanistan From 2002 through July 1, 2004

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