Military Moms, Iraq Veterans and Veteran Peace Activists Respond to the Iraq Withdrawal
In light of the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq, military moms, veterans, and peace activists are speaking out and pushing back against President Obama's declarations that the war in Iraq is ending because a majority of the combat troops are returning home. Below are the short bios and contacts of several women from Maine to California, who are available to speak about their experience either in the Iraq War or their affected communities as well as respond to President Obama's speech scheduled for 8pm EST, August 31st.
“Just as the cost of the war in Iraq cannot be measured only in terms of lives lost or billions wasted, its end cannot be 'scheduled,' as is the unstated implication of combat troop withdrawal. For the Iraqis who have to deal with broken lives, broken infrastructure, a broken political system, the war is not over,” says Cynthia Benjamin, mother of an OIF soldier, emergency room nurse and active member of Military Families Speak Out and CODEPINK. “It will go on and on for too many of our warriors and their families because of PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and other devastating injuries to our soldiers.”
“With the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq, the administration, the military and the media are trying to put a positive spin on this grim chapter of U.S. history. It would certainly give some comfort to the grieving families of the over 4,400 soldiers killed in Iraq if their sacrifices had left Iraq a better place or made America safer," Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange, states.
Spokeswomen available for interview on August 31 Iraq withdrawal date:
Medea Benjamin (Washington, DC) and Jodie Evans (Los Angeles, CA) are CODEPINK cofounders and internationally recognized spokeswomen of the American peace and social justice movement. CODEPINK started as a preemptive protest to the invasion of Iraq and continues to mobilize communities for peace around the world today. Both Benjamin and Evans have been featured on CNN, NYTimes, Fox News, Democracy Now!, MSNBC and countless others over the years.
Joyce Wagner, 2 time OIF veteran (OIF II and OIF III) and currently a student at Chatham College and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Additional contact for IVAW: Maggie Martin is the media team leader for IVAW's Operation Recovery campaign, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ann Wright U.S. Army colonel (retired), official of the U.S. State Department (retired) resigned from her post in 2003 to protest the occupation of Iraq. She is the author of “Voices of Dissent” and speaks world-wide on issues of peace. She has been featured on FOX, CNN, NYTimes, BBC, CBC and many other domestic and international outlets.
Cindy Thomas, is an army wife and works with the Under the Hood Veterans Outreach Café in Killeen, Texas. Under The Hood Café is a place for soldiers to gather, relax and speak freely about the wars and the military. Most recently, Under the Hood organized a press conference to respond to President Obama's withdrawal plans and to shed light on the disastrous effects of this war and ongoing presence has on our troops.
Cynthia Benjamin is a military mother, an emergency room nurse, and an activist with CODEPINK and Military Families Speak Out living in New York State. The promise of a homecoming next week for all combat troops stationed in Iraq is not the end of the struggle for Cynthia Benjamin and other such mothers, whose sons and daughters still suffer the trauma of engagement. Read her most recent article here on Women's Media Center.
Lisa Savage, teacher and local peace organizer in Solon, Maine. As a teacher, CODEPINK Maine Local Coordinator and organizer with Bring Our War $$ Home coalition, daughter of a veteran (Korean war), and granddaughter of two veterans (WWII and WWI), Savage was inspired to activism after seeing her teenaged students being seduced by sophisticated ad campaigns and high pressure sales tactics to enlist in the military to get an education and healthcare.
Janet Weil, military family member and member of Bay Area Code Pink and Military Families Speak Out in Concord, California. Weil is the aunt of a Marine lieutenant who has served one deployment in Iraq and is scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan. She has been active in opposing the war in the Bay Area since summer 2002. As a citizen, wife, mother of a grown son, and the daughter and granddaughter of veterans, she is dedicated to helping bring our war dollars back home for jobs not war.
For interview requests please call Dana Balicki, CODEPINK Campaign Director, at 202 422 8624.