The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Dana Balicki, 202 422 8624,
Medea Benjamin, 415 235 6517,

The Iraq Debacle Is Not Over, Women Speaking Out Against Continued Presence in Iraq

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,

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

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,

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 Cafe in Killeen, Texas. Under The Hood Cafe 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

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.

CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.

(818) 275-7232