On November 1, while CODEPINK was outside the Heritage Foundation
protesting the appearance of George Bush, Bush himself was inside
talking about CODEPINK. “When it comes to funding our troops, some in
Washington should spend more time responding to the warnings of
terrorists like Osama bin Laden and the requests of our commanders on
the ground andless time responding to the demands of MoveOn.org
bloggers and Code Pink protesters,” he said.
It’s curious that Bush, who once declared that "Osama bin Laden isn't
going to determine how we defend ourselves” wants Congress to pay more
attention to Osama bin Laden than groups like MoveOn and CODEPINK that
represent the majority of Americans.
In any case, we take Bush’s acknowledgment of CODEPINK as a great
victory. We only wish he had listened to us back in 2002 when we warned
that attacking Iraq would be a disaster. And we certainly wish that
Bush—and Congress—would listen to us when we say “Bring the troops home
and don’t start a war with Iran!”
Bush’s mention of CODEPINK comes on the heels of a string of high
government officials talking about our organization. They try to
portray CODEPINK as a far-out radical group, and then link us to the
Democrats. The strategy is to obviously to discredit the Democrats by
painting them with the CODEPINK brush.
On October 24, White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino made the hilarious
statement that “Unfortunately, it seems that increasingly Congress is
being run by CODEPINK.” On September 11, the day after the General
Petraeus hearing, Spokesman Tony Snow said, “I don't think it can have
been good for Democrats yesterday to have had the MoveOn ad or to have
had the CODEPINK demonstrators…trying preemptively to smear General
MoveOn does have close ties to the leadership of the Democratic Party,
but this is not the case for CODEPINK. CODEPINK is non-partisan, and
many of our local groups have waged intense campaigns against
high-profile Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, for
not doing more to end the war. Nancy Pelosi is so furious at CODEPINK
for camping outside her San Francisco home that she has refused to meet
with us despite dozens of requests. After our relentless campaign to
pressure Hillary Clinton to take a stronger stand against the war (see www.listenhillary.org<http://www.listenhillary.org> ), her security guards try to block us from even entering her events.
So while the Republicans are trying to falsely associate the Democratic
leadership with CODEPINK, we’ve come a long way since the days when the
Bush Administration refused to even acknowledge the anti-war movement.
When we mobilized millions of people out in the streets on February 15,
2003, in the largest anti-war rallies in history, Bush dismissed us a
“focus group” and charged ahead with his war plans.
Now, with less than 30 percent of Americans supporting Bush’s policy in
Iraq, the Administration’s repeated references to CODEPINK and MoveOn
is an admission of the power of the millions of dissenting Americans
who are pressuring Congress, marching in the streets, supporting peace
candidates and otherwise pushing to end this war and stop a new one
The greater national recognition of CODEPINK has produced its own
backlash. Conservative groups are now coming out every Wednesday night
in Washington DC to picket our CODEPINK DC house and have launched a
campaign to try to get us evicted. The hate mail and violent phone
calls have increased. The police on Capitol Hill are cracking down on
CODEPINK activists and judges are issuing us “stay-away orders” to keep
us away from the Capitol. Some of us have discovered our names on an
FBI criminal database and have found ourselves banned from entering
This is precisely the time for CODEPINK and other groups to step up
their activities, and for new people to come forward to help. Remember
the prescient words of Mahatma Gandhi, “First they ignore you, then
they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” We’re now in the
stage where they are fighting us. We’re anxiously awaiting the stage
when we win.
Medea Benjamin is cofounder of CODEPINK: Women for Peace and Global
Exchange. CODEPINK is looking for more activists—women and men--to join
them at the Washington DC CODEPINK house. See www.codepinkalert.org<http://www.codepinkalert.org> for details.