World

People's Tribunal on the Iraq War Unifies Peace Movements

The December meeting to unify global antiwar movements was organized by CodePink.

Photo Credit: Code Pink

After 14 years of costly war based on lies, it’s time for truth and accountability. The People's Tribunal on the Iraq War will unify the global antiwar/peace movements with other justice movements by uplifting testimonies of the costs of this war. The Tribunal, organized by CodePink, will bring the lies that created the war on Iraq into public awareness, while demanding President Obama act on them. It will build and inspire the antiwar movement that we will need after the inauguration of the next administration in 2017. It will be a tool all groups can use to build, inspire and enliven their organizations and communities.

When: December 1-2 from 9:30am-5pm both days

Where: University of DC, David Clarke Law School Moot Court Room, 4340 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington DC.

Watch (Read CODEPINK cofounder Jodie Evans' opening remarks at the Iraq Tribunal below the video embed)

CODEPINK started as a response to Bush’s terrorists lies as the visual terrorist codes of yellow, red and orange.

\We called CODEPINK for peace. 

Now after 14 years standing in everyway we could imagine we decided to build something that would be valuable after the elections to stand again in the way of more war. Something that could heal and build the movement. We need to stand in the way of more lies, wars and costs depleting the needs of our cities.

I have been blessed to work along side some of the most caring, generous, passionate fighters for peace and justice. They are internationalist.  they understand it is all connected.  They risk and give their lives for peace, real peace.  There are millions, we know that between 12 and 15 million of us were in the streets saying no to war just days before Shock and Awe hit Baghdad. I was in Baghdad when Colin Powell lied to the world about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I had been with the weapons inspectors that day at an earlier press conference assuring us there were none.

But the next morning we learned that Bush had followed that lie with the Game Is Over, now we launch Shock and Awe. An Iraqi women came into our room that morning looked to the sky and asked what was she going to do to protect her children, as I went down to the streets people were taping the windows and building generators for electricity.  I watched them be terrorized just by the idea of shock and awe.  But as we hear the stories from Iraq now, NO ONE could have imagined, even in all our fear and warnings how utterly devastating the situation is for everyone, including those in the US.

Since 9/11 it is estimated the cost of our response will be 5 Trillion dollars.  Instead billionaires have been made and the bottom of the world has gotten poorer.  Te US invested in destruction instead of peace.  

This tribunal speaks to the lies and costs of the Iraq War.  But the lies about war go back to the Korean War and follows from there.  The costs of war are born by those who are not on the front pages of papers or even in the history books.  we wanted to create a place where people could come, see 4 to 5 minutes from someone who with experience related to the Iraq War and follow the testimonies you hear today into the volumes of testimonies those you hear from today have offered the world in the form of articles, testimonies to Congress, books, movies, marches, and none stop offerings of the truth in the face of lies, often to personal costs and too often time in jail.

Today is just the beginning; this Tribunal will live on line and continue to grow. It will be a tool for study, for research and for history.  What we care most is that it is serves as a warning that war comes from lies and their are innumerable costs and violence begets violence.  There were many others who wanted to join but we have only two days to share many voices.  

We hope you will stay engaged, will share your stories and your concerns. We hope this begins a conversation about how we cannot normalize violence. Join us. 

Last weekend I was in Standing Rock; there were many moments where memories from Iraq returned. Starting with the beauty and kindness of the people, the generosity and capacity to be in relationship. But Standing Rock is also about lies and I hate to think of the costs of lives when the Missouri River is contaminated with oil, as all pipelines leak.

From Iraq to Standing Rock we must continue to resist the lies and refuse to pay the costs and instead create cultures of peace together.

Jodie Evans is co-founder and co-director of CodePink. She has been a social justice activist for 40 years.