Medea Benjamin Gael Murphy

CodePink has been resisting the War on Terror since its inception. In this January 27, 2007 photo, co-founder Medea Benjamin (L) demands a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan alongside longtime peace activist Gael Murphy. (Photo: Elvert Barnes/Flickr/cc)

On 9/11 Anniversary, Anti-War Group Says 'Cut the Pentagon for People, Planet, and Peace'

"We must learn from the horrifying consequences of U.S. war and begin down a path towards peace."

As the United States prepares to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on Saturday, the women-led peace group CodePink is set to launch a new campaign this weekend featuring a webinar and White House rally "to reflect on the lessons of 9/11" and the so-called War on Terror that followed--and continues to this day.

On Saturday at 3:00 pm ET, CodePink and Massachusetts Peace Action will host "Never Forget: 9/11 and the 20-Year War on Terror," a webinar examining how "9/11 fundamentally altered the culture of the United States and its relationship with the rest of the world."

Scheduled webinar speakers include CodePink co-founders Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, War on Terror whistleblowers John Kiriakou and Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, anti-war veterans Matthew Hoh and Danny Sjursen, RootsAction national director Norman Solomon, authors Vijay Prashad and Moustafa Bayoumi, and others.

CodePink writes:

In the name of freedom, and of vengeance, the United States invaded and occupied Afghanistan. We stayed for 20 years. With lies of 'weapons of mass destruction' a majority of the country was convinced to invade and occupy Iraq, the worst foreign policy decision of the modern era. The executive branch was given sweeping authority to make war across borders and without limits.

The conflict in the Middle East expanded under both Republican and Democratic presidents, leading to U.S. wars in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and more. Trillions of dollars were spent. Millions of lives were lost. We created the greatest migration and refugee crisis since World War II.

9/11 was also used as an excuse to change the relationship of the U.S. government to its citizens. In the name of safety the national security state was given expansive surveillance powers, threatening privacy and civil liberties. The Department of Homeland Security was created and with it ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Words like 'enhanced interrogation,' a euphemism for torture, entered the American lexicon and the Bill of Rights was tossed aside.

On Sunday, CodePink, Food Not Bombs, and other partners will rally outside the White House at 3:00 pm ET to launch a new 100-day national campaign to Cut the Pentagon for the People, Planet, Peace, and a Future, featuring a teach-in and the cutting and sharing of a Pentagon-shaped cake and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Participants will then march to McPherson Square to feed unhoused residents "from the cuttings off the Pentagon."

"Just like CodePink's first vigil in front of the White House in 2002, we'll use this event to begin to organize the movement we need to take on the war profiteers who oppose us at every turn," Evans said in a statement. "When we cut the Pentagon cake and feed our community in front of the White House, we'll be enacting the peace economy we want to create. By nourishing ourselves and everyone around us we'll be modeling the exact opposite of a destructive and extractive war economy."

"While war profiteers might have the money, we have the people power."
--Carley Towne, CodePink

CodePink national director Carley Towne said that "while war profiteers might have the money, we have the people power. Starting on September 12, we will be in the streets building an intersectional movement to cut the Pentagon budget and begin holding our congressional representatives accountable for pouring trillions of dollars into war while neglecting the needs of the people."

Benjamin noted that "after spending two decades and $21 trillion on the United States' so-called 'War on Terror,' people are waking up to what we've been saying all along: We can't continue down the path of deadly, destructive, and costly U.S. militarism."

"Peace activists," she added, "need to use this moment to rally around a simple yet powerful demand that cuts across all movements for social justice: Cut the Pentagon for people, planet, and peace."

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