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American voices: Medea Benjamin
Al Jazeera gauges the mood in the US towards the war in Iraq five years on.
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2008 08:17 GMT


Medea Benjamin is a political activist and co-founded the anti-war group CodePink: Women for Peace which organises regular demonstrations in Washington DC.

"In the last couple of years we have been protesting and mobilising people to vote.

We voted in a new congress and they did not do anything so we felt very desperate so we rented a house very close to the capitol and we go every day to the hearings.

They get very angry with us because some days we speak out in the hearings. They arrest us, they arrest us, we're back again, they arrest us, we're back again.

And now they are trying to find ways to try and absolutely ban us.

I have been arrested many times during hearings: in front of the White House; in front of the capitol; in many places and spent many nights in jail because we feel that obligation to protest.

General [David] Petraeus (the top US military commander in Iraq) was going to appear in front of congress, before the American people, and say "the surge was working and things are getting better in Iraq and we are now providing water and electricity and peoples' lives are more secure."

'Sense of shame'

I just could not sit there and listen to that so I spontaneously jumped onto my chair and started yelling "The people do not believe you anymore, you are not telling the truth, the surge is not working, we want our troops to come home."

The War in America

Read more US views on the war in Iraq

And I was picked up, I am only about 100 pounds and they carried me out.

I do not think impeachment will go forward because I don’t think the Democrat party is not interested in holding George Bush accountable because they are just interested in power.

That means the system is broken, which means there is not democracy here in the United States – there is just a power grab between one party and the other.

You know in some ways we are madder at the Democrats than we are at the Republicans because the Republicans at least they are straightforward - they are warmongers, they like war, the profit from war.

The Democrats are supposed to be an opposition party and they could stop the war tomorrow by saying we are just not going to fund it anymore but they do not because they are more interested in gaining the White House in November than they are in stopping this war.

I have a lot of friends in Iraq, most of them have left the country and I cannot even call them or email them anymore I am so ashamed.

What am I going to write? "Hey how are you?" I know how they are, they're miserable, they are suffering, their lives are destroyed. So I feel a tremendous sense of shame and guilt."

The special documentary the War In America shows on Al Jazeera from March 15. Click here for more information.

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Al Jazeera
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