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Code Pink Statement to Hillary Clinton

by Carol Eisenberg
March 8, 2003

In 1996 a famous author wrote these lines: "Children have many lessons to share with us — lessons about what they need, what makes them happy, how they view the world. If we listen, we’ll be able to hear them."

The author of these laudable sentiments was Hillary Clinton. And as we gather today outside of her Senatorial office, we are thinking of children: those of Iraq and those of America. You don’t have to read this book to know that children need food and medicine and shelter and the absence of violence. You don’t have to read this book to know that when hundreds of bombs and Cruise missiles rain down on Iraqi cities, flattening homes and schools, creating sounds and sights of horror that will linger a lifetime, that those children who do survive will not be happy and their needs will not be met.

You don’t have to read this book to know, that when we send our own children: 18 or 19 or 20 years old, now poised in the deserts of Kuwait into combat — we are not helping them to grow into healthy, mature, productive adults. Our leaders made this mistake a generation ago, and for many of those who returned from Vietnam the wounds never healed. And for many of the veterans of Gulf War I, the wounds never healed. Would the Senator from New York send Chelsea to war in Iraq? And if not right for Chelsea, why is it right for someone else’s child?

I teach classrooms of students right now — whose brothers, cousins, and friends are in the Gulf. And what they write in their journals is that these brothers, cousins and friends are frightened, angry and confused and they want to come home.

Its easy enough to write pop books, with fine sentimental thoughts, And its easy enough to don the mantle of feminism and sit on panels, where you lament the fate of "women in war" and say how much better the world would be if women could decide issues of war and peace. But these are only idle words. And what matters is how you act.

We are hear to express our outrage at this Senator’s betrayal of her constituents and her own expressed principles. On October 10, Hillary Clinton voted to give this most reckless, supercilious, and ignorant of Presidents the unlimited authority to use force in Iraq. And she tried to excuse that vote by claiming that: "My vote is not a vote for any new doctrine of pre-emption, or for unilateralism, or for the arrogance of American power or purpose ...."

But that’s exactly what it was. It was obvious in October that George Bush Jr. was bent on war — that no UN resolution, no weapons inspectors, no concessions from Saddam Hussein would satisfy him.

So it is no surprise that today we are on the edge of a pre-emptive war, isolated from the world, having in our "coalition of the willing," the handful of leaders willing to take American dollars, and defy their own people.

Senator Clinton should be on her feet with Senators Byrd and Kennedy, demanding a new vote, demanding that the Administration "come clean" with the American public and tell us what the costs will be — in money, in lives, in international stability, in the stimulus to fresh terrorism. From her new prestigious post in the Armed Services Committee, this Senator should stop touring arsenals and use her voice and her influence to insist on the debate that never occurred, that she helped to muffle and which she never joined,

So here is our message:

Most of us voted for you Hillary. But we did not send you to Washington to run for President. And we did not send you to Washington to act as a Republican. The war in Iraq is the defining issue of our time, and for the vast majority of Democrats and for the people of our state, you are so far missing in action. But if you do not find your voice now, when it is most vitally needed, that when you come to us again for votes, we will be missing in action.

But there is one other part, and this message is to ourselves: New York City discovered its common humanity, when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center and turned the separate inhabitants into engaged, cooperative citizens. The fresh calamity of this Rogue Presidency, is helping the world discover its common humanity and knitting together hundreds of millions of people into a community of conscience.

As we gather here today, we recognize that the hours is late and a great tragedy looms. But we are inwardly determined that until the very last moment, we will do all that is humanly possible to stop this terrible war. And should we not succeed, we will be back again. For all over this globe, people are finding their voice. It is a voice that asks for peace and justice. It is a voice that is growing louder with each passing day. And it is a voice that will be heard.