I’m walking down our Hot Pink Promenade path past the capitol buildings heading to the Mall to hook up with the cp women who are continuing the honouring the c.o.’s today at the Lincoln Memorial. I flash the peace symbol at a young white woman police officer standing a few feet from the sidewalk. She returns the peace symbol, and begins to eagerly approach me, motioning for me to come toward her.
She states: “So you are trying to bring our troops home.” As I nod a big 'for sure', I ask her if she’s heard about CodePINK. She tells me she’s heard, of course, but she doesn’t really know who we are and who are we anyway?
I go into one of my favorite spiels about this awesome group of brilliant women activists & the origin of cp with the fear tactics of bush, until it clicks for her & she nods her appreciation.
She asks me about the numbers I’m wearing. I get to talk about the 6 more dead u.s. soldiers & the 2 women & almost-born child that were murdered by u.s. soldiers yesterday.
I tell her this is what we are working so hard to prevent – not another woman, child, or man’s death.
She says: “and not another u.s. soldier’s death either, right?” Of course, I assure her. We believe supporting our troops IS supporting them to come home IMMEDIATELY. And even yet, soldiers choose to go into the military knowing they might be killed: civilians do not expect to risk their lives just by living in a country being occupied by foreign troops, and should not be asked to risk their lives.
If soldiers want to fight, so be it. We still say stop fighting & come home. And we say stop killing and come home.
I feel I might be venturing onto shakey ground here. I don’t want to loose this police officer, yet I want to speak the truth, no matter how much it hurts. I can see her thinking. Finally she sighs deeply, nodding her head slowly as she picks her words carefully.
“We have to help these people – we have gone into Iraq & destroyed so much. We must fix what we’ve broken. We can’t just bomb & run. Can we?” Her voice seems to diminish with each syllable she utters.
How often have I heard this in D.C.? From sincere, not-so-informed but not-so-ignorant either north americans. I nod my head & agree we can’t just bomb & run.
Then I tell her that the reasoning for us staying in Iraq is as much a part of the whole lie as the reasoning for going to Iraq was a lie. I wait for her to acknowledge the lies of the latter. Then I say, we are not in Iraq to protect the people or to re-build what we have destroyed. That is the lie. We are in Iraq to secure our access to Iraq’s resources, primarily oil. The 14 bases we’ve built are all strategically places around oil fields.
She nods her understanding - as have almost everyone I've spoken with, even those gun-ho folks.
We are building the LARGEST U.S. embassy in the world – spending 592 million on it while most of Iraqis suffer without electricity up to 22 hours a day.
This is what we are in Iraq for, not to protect civilians or re-build damage. I tell her if we had troops in Iraq to make peace & retribution to the Iraq people, I’d be the first one to say take my tax money for that!
She looks so sad – she says we're like the bull in the china cabinet. I’m so happy she has mentioned that bull – Phyllis, a speaker at the UFPJ conference, used that analogy herself so I was ready.
Yes, we are like the bull in the china cabinet, I repeat – and the only way to save the china cabinet is to remove the bull. Period.
She smiles, shakes my hand. I ask her to join CodePINK. I tell her it is up to all of us, no matter what part of u.s. american life we come from, it is only up to us to end this war. She nods as I say the president certainly won't end this war; and congress is dragging it's feet.
She promises me she’ll join us soon.
I hope she does.