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women for a free Iraq

wfibutton.gif(Thank you to Dean Esmay for making me aware of Women for a Fee Iraq, through his post here)

Women marching for women. It seems like an altruistic idea.

Except these women - the Code Pink marchers, the NOW supporters, the Lysistrata Project participants, et. al. - don’t really know much about the women they are supposed to be marching for.

They want us to leave Iraq alone. They want the United States to stop trying to be an “empire,” to stop trying to suck up the oil of other nations, to save all the women and children of Iraq from certain death should war come down.

What about the death and poverty that will remain a constant in their lives if war, and the regime change that the war will bring about, does not happen? Who will speak for them then? Will the women marching on Washington in their pink fake fur and claiming they are doing it for the children feel victorious if they stop the war from happening? If so, shame on them.

Shame on them mostly because they haven’t listened. If they did listen, this is what they would hear:

Maha Alattar:
A Shi’a from Baghdad, Maha Alattar fled Iraq in 1983 with her family when she was ten years old to escape the government’s persecution of Iraqis of Persian ancestry, which included imprisonment and deportation to the mine-filled Iranian border. Ms. Alattar now lives in North Carolina, where she is an assistant professor of Neurology, and is active in promoting the liberation of Iraq with the Iraqi Defense Forum.

...In 1979, when Saddam became the absolute ruler of Iraq, everything changed. He began the war with Iran, in which close to a million Iraqis and Iranians died, and the government also began to systematically persecute specific ethnic groups. My family was among those targeted, because we were Sh’ia with distant Persian ancestry. Five of my cousins, all children, were taken way from their parents and thrown into jail. My aunts and uncles were then deported to Iran: They were dropped off at the mine-filled border, and forced to walk across in the middle of the icy cold winter. They made it over safely, only to live with the agony of not knowing the fate of their children. To this day, twenty years later, we have no idea whether my cousins are dead or alive, and we can only fear what kind of torture they were subjected to in Saddam’s dungeons.

Breaks your heart, doesn't it?

Safia Al Souhail

An Iraqi Shi'a, Ms. Al Souhail is the advocacy director at the International Alliance for Justice (1. www.i-a-j.org), and the daughter of Sheik Taleb Al Souhail, the chief of the one million-strong Bani Tamim tribe from central Iraq, who was assassinated by Iraqi intelligence in 1994.

As we watch UN inspectors search Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, I ask, why are there no UN inspectors investigating Saddam Hussein’s crimes against the Iraqi people? Along with hidden caches of biological and chemical weapons, Iraq also has hidden torture chambers, prisons and mass graves.

In Saddam’s Iraq, women are especially vulnerable pressure points - victims who can be used to influence other victims. They are harassed, abused, raped, tortured and gassed both for their resistance to the regime and as a means to control their families. For reasons like this, other Iraqi women and I have been organizing to get our voices heard in the international arena.

Berivan Dosky, a Kurd from northern Iraq, described how her mother was forced to flee her village in Duhok province in the 1961 Iraqi war against the Kurds, merely two hours after giving birth to Berivan. Berivan herself was later forced to repeat the scenario with her three-month-old son. In 1988, during a chemical attack against the Kurds, Berivan had to make a Faustian choice: She had only one gas mask, and had to decide whether to use it for herself, or give it to her then two-year-old son. She decided neither would wear it; they would either live or die together. Berivan is worried that Saddam will once again use chemical weapons against the Iraqi Kurds who live in the British and American-protected Kurdish safe haven. She asked Mr. Blair to make sure that there are enough gas masks for everyone.

Ms. Al Souhail continues with this important passage:

Saddam Hussein is himself a weapon of mass destruction. Disarmament is not enough. It may avert a chemical or biological attack, but it would not protect the people of Iraq from arbitrary imprisonment, executions, rape, torture and daily intimidation and deprivation. Saddam’s oppression of Iraqis is the "king of wars." His ongoing war against the Iraqi people must be stopped. The long-suffering Iraqi people deserve to be freed, and to live in a democratic, pluralistic and federal Iraq that is at peace with itself, the region and the world.

There's more heart breaking stories at the site. Read them all. Print them out. And then hand the print outs to anyone who tells you they are resisting the war in the name of the women and children of Iraq.

Tell them to ask the Women for a Free Iraq what they want.

I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want spoiled, selfish activists chanting anti-America slogans in their name.

They don't want the inspections to go on and on.

They don't want college students co-opting their fear, their agony and their misery in order to promote their other agendas.

They don't want war. But they don't have much choice if they want freedom.

And clearly, that's what they want.

More reading:

A letter to the peace protesters from an Iraqi

Iraqi exiles: letters to Blair

Other links


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I'm hoping the women for a free Iraq also include the women under Wahabbi law in Saudi Arabia, and the women in India who have abortions because of the cost of dowries (the ultrasound and abortion clinics are often side by side), or who are killed in dowry murders by husbands who go unpunished.

Repression knows no national boundaries.

Delete this post! It says.....women for a FEE Iraq. Women? For a fee?

The anti-War marchers aren't marching for this, so why bother pointing it out? Facts mean nothing to these people. They march so that they feel better about themselves in the farce that they helped better society with a sign and a slogan.

I hope we start this war soon.

These protestors are so horribly uninformed. They are operating on pure emotion in an information vacuum. I'm not even sure how many of them can even read. You might want to stick to showing them pictures of what they are defending:

Most of them will probably insist all those children were killed by Texas oil companies, but you might get through to a few folks here and there.

Self-esteem is a prerequisite to feeling better about one's self. For the most part, the anti-war marching crowd noticeably lacks such; rather, self-loathing rules the day.

They're not looking to feel better (they aren't looking to achieve any kind of positive goal in any regard); they're trying to make you feel worse - i.e. they aren't seeking self-esteem, they want you to lose yours (they want to jar your self-confidence via their various tactics).

The war is not what they're against, it's not what they hate. They hate the principles underlying the case for going to war, and they hate those who uphold such principles. It's much broader than a mere war, they seek to undermine what civilization needs most: the human mind combined with reason and self-confidence.

Their public slogans are always underlined by more personal, private slogans: 'who are you to know what's right and what's wrong? sneer' - 'morality is outdated, it's public opinion polls that matter' - 'if you won't believe our slogans, we'll force you to' etc

I think you people have it wrong. The protesting has more to do with Bush than any principle, and that's worse.

I think everyone here is missing the point. Including Women for a Free Iraq. If this war were about liberating Iraq, if it was truly about changing the face of the middle east and providing an oppressed people with basic human rights, then there wouldn't be so many protests.
Unfortunately this war is about strategic position, it's about control of the middle east, it's about oil, it's about distracting the public from Bush's morbid domestic record. Dropping 3,000 bombs in one night isn't going to help liberate anyone. If this was truly about liberation then the US would do something like kill Saddam with a well organized special forces assassination. They would find a way to detain, or eliminate the high ranking members of Saddam's "government", then they would help fund a successor that would give the Iraqis better leadership. They wouldn't carpet bomb the country into submission, then give Haliburton a contract to take care of the oil. You're being silly if you think that any of this is for the good of the Iraqi people.

Oh for god's sake, how long must we put up with your disinformation, Chip? You know, we have access to the very same internet you do, and the very same information is available for all. If you can still believe the stupid "it's all about the oooiiillllll" argument then there is no talking to you, you are completely delusional. Still, I am going to say this once and only once:


There. Excuse me for shouting. You may now return to your regularly scheduled stupidity.

And oh god, spare me the ignorant BS about mythical "Special Forces" ninja assassin squadrons. This is real life, not some anime series.

Chip is partly right. This is NOT a war designed to liberate anyone. "Liberation" is a fantastic side effect if we can successfully remove the power structure from Iraq. Don't expect the Iraqi people to be too thankful in the long term, however.

Between the name calling and self-righteousness, I find it ironic that many of you seem to think that you're intellectually or morally superior to those protesting this war. Take the high road if that's how you feel; at least be respectful. Or, better yet, ignore the posts of those disagreeing with you.

We now return to our normally scheduled programming.

For one thing, dave, no one has ever claimed that the principal reason for invading Iraq is to liberate it. It has always been about strategic reasons -- and by the way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with strategic concerns, unless you think we should all pretend we live in the Land of Faery.

As for accusations of moral posturing, maybe we think we are morally superior to the antiwar protestors because so many of them have emitted nothing but the cant of appeasement and America hatred. For every antiwar protester with a legitimate point, ten spring up to drown him out with shrieks of "It's the Oooiiilll!" "Bush = Hitler!" and so on. And what do you make of the absolutely insane premise that Bush is spending zillions of dollars to "hide" a supposedly tanked economy, "dismal" domestic record, or to make people forget about some corporate scandal? I would give these people some respect if I ever herad anything from them that didn't sound like it was emitted by Tinfoil Hat Mike.


Don't you know the white house is afraid of them, and the power of love??

(Sporking my eyes out now.)

at the march in washington at the beginning of the year, there was one (ONE, see i'm shouting too) anti-war protester standing on a balcony of the republican party headquarters. he had a sign that said cleverly "hippies, go home"

at the time, i was right along side "gulf veterans against the war". they thought the guy was hilarious.

start the good fight for good reasons and that is they way it should be....

There is nothing wrong with strategic concerns, if you happen to believe that there is a strategic benefit, and not just tactical, in going to war with Iraq. I happen to believe that there is not much strategic benefit, compared to actually addressing our real security problems in the middle east. If we need more security, then let's go into Saudi Arabia and Syria.

So many folks here get worked up about the beliefs and actions of true liberals (~5-10% of the left); this is both intellectually dishonest and exhausting, while ignoring the more mainstream feelings of the left towards this war. Many support it but feel that the stated reasons from the administration are weak; many do not support it for the same reason. Most agree that Hussein has to go, one way or another.

I agree wholeheartedly that the actions of many liberals in response to this impending war is unconscionable. There is a lot more common ground between left and right on this issue than you would ever believe by reading democratic underground or by watching CNN.


If there are some reasonable people who oppose the war, it would help if they would offer reasonable alternatives. For instance, how can anyone claim that inspections can work when we see, in North Korea, that they don’t?
How can we leave Saddam in power, and allow him to continue to abuse his own people? It would be much more satisfying to directly confront Saudi Arabia, but an attack on the Muslim “Holy Land” would probably anger even moderate Muslims.

It’s not hard to see why Bush is ignoring the protesters – they’re idiots. But if intelligent people have reasonable alternatives, it would be nice to hear them.

I agree Mary. Inspections can't work. Iraq can only be "solved" when Hussein is gone. Here's my simplistic view of our options to improving security in the middle east:

Saudi Arabia - hard
Syria - less hard
Iraq - easy

I'm afraid that the only way to remove Hussein IS through a direct conflict. I would feel better if others were in agreement. The fact that other countries are not in agreement does not automatically equate to an unjustified action.

My fears with this conflict come from the almost complete lack of strategic planning regarding how American policy will change or be bettered in the region following the conflict. We have a great tactical solution to this problem. I'm afraid we will end up with is even more resentment amongst Arab nations towards a perceived imperialist America. As an added bonus, our European allies may drift further even from home.

The only alternative I can see to an outright attack from the US is to foment revolution in the North - an idea that Turkey refuses to consider. I'm not against the war - I'm against the long-term consequences of this war that I believe Bush needs to start heading off BEFORE he attacks.

Well put, Dave.

I disagree, only because I think the administration does have a long-term strategy. The thing is, do you really think they can say it out loud without inflaming the whole Arab world against us?

The idea that we'll provoke anger in the Arab world only works if we fail in our task of bringing democracy to Iraq. Otherwise, it's the thug-regimes that fail.

this is a war about several things. the reasons are whatever you want to make them. why do YOU want to go into/not go into iraq? not "why does bush" "what are his reasons" "what does cheney think"...

one of the things i love about this country is that each and every single person can have a bazillion opinions and express each and every one of them. bush's reasons arent the only reasons to go to war.

iraq is in a very interesting position, strategically. it provides a useful jumping off point for any incursion into iran, whether likely or not, it allows for us to pull our troops out of saudi arabia and give them what theyve had coming for decades, and its a little "so there" poke at north korea, iran, turkey, pakistan, saudi arabia, and egypt. "we did it once, we can do it again, and this time, we'll have the full backing of every country on any security council in the world."

"well, except for france...but theyre just weasels."

It’s true – it’s hard to find reasonable alternatives because there aren’t very many. I often ask people who oppose the war (educated people, university professors) about alternatives and all I hear is the usual garbage – that it really is about the oil, that ‘Shrub is just doing this because Saddam tried to kill his Daddy.’

The only reasonable argument is the doubt that we can establish a democracy in Iraq. We’ve made some mistakes in Afghanistan, with our support of the Islamist warlords there. Hopefully, we’ll do a better job in Iraq.

Even if Bush is afraid of revealing his real plans, for fear of inflaming the Arab world, he could at least tell a few white lies. Something convincing, reassuring. This is diplomacy, after all, and nobody’s expecting the whole truth. His evasiveness is just making people nervous.

Yes, the oppression and torture of women in Iraq is horrifying. It needs to be stopped. But Bush isn't even remotely interested in making their lives any better. Not really. Their pain makes a good justification for him to go to war, but once war is under way, he'll conveniently forget all about them.

One need only look at his attacks against Afghanistan to see that -- remember how the Administration pulled our heartstrings? "Those poor women! The burkhas! The beatings!" We sure fixed that situation though!

Oh, wait. No, we didn't. We said we would, and then we left the Afghan women at the mercy of the warlords and the nutjob fundamentalists who didn't flee to Pakistan, and life for women in Afghanistan is just as bad now as it ever was, except thousands of them were killed by our bombs.

And it's all gonna happen again.

Why don't we all organize a large rally in front of the white house with the women of Iraq that support this war?, we can reach out to other pro war groups and organize a huge demonstration to really show those anti war idiots that think they know what they are talking about, but don't have a clue? that most americans support our President. How about it?

Would like to invite the women for a free Iraq to a Pro America Rally on Sunday, 23 March 2003 at the Ventura County Gov't Center, Victoria Avenue, 1130 - 2 pm, Ventura CA Bring your american flags and see you then!

Would like to invite the women for a free Iraq to a Pro America Rally on Sunday, 23 March 2003 at the Ventura County Gov't Center, Victoria Avenue, 1130 - 2 pm, Ventura CA Bring your american flags and see you then!