WASHINGTON - May 7 - As Donald Rumsfeld began his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, giving his opening statement apologizing for the abuses of Iraqi prisoners, a group of protesters raised their voices of outrage and called for Secretary of Defense to be fired.
Gael Murphy of Code Pink: Women for Peace, clad in a pink T-shirt with Fire Rumsfeld written on the front and back, began the protest. "We need a wider investigation," she called out, "including an investigation into the killing of civilians, the use of collective punishment, the imprisonment of thousands of Iraqis with no due process." Seven other protesters joined in, speaking out against the war and occupation of Iraq, and calling for Rumsfeld to be held accountable for the disastrous situation in Iraq. "Fire Rumsfeld, Fire Rumsfeld," the group of eight shouted as they were removed from the floor of the hearing.
The main organizer of the protest is CodePink: Women for Peace (www.codepinkalert.org), a group that has been working in Iraq to try to stop the abuses of Iraqi civilians and prisoners, including at the Abu Graib prison. Code Pink co-founder Gael Murphy has been to Iraq four times since February 2003, and helped to found the International Occupation Watch Center in Baghdad. She has interviewed several former prisoners about the abuses they suffered in prison. The protesters also included Andy Shallal of Iraqi-Americans for Peaceful Alternatives, who has also traveled to Iraq to investigate conditions under the US occupation. Mr. Shallal can be reached at 703-220-7007.