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Medea Benjamin, Co-founder, CodePink: Women for Peace and Global Exchange

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Dear Peace & Justice Organizers,

There are many ways to promote peace & justice in our world, but when we face an immediate conflict, indeed a promised “war without end,” it first helps to step back and look at how it all began. Our current “War on (some) Terror” was birthed, if not conceived, on September 11, 2001. That day was a terrible funeral pyre for many, but a golden opportunity for some.

Only a year before, the Project for a New American Century, a think tank for the neocon crowd that now controls the White House and the Pentagon, published a martial wish list entitled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” Their report outlined our “urgent need” to inflate defense spending, control Mideast oil, deploy exotic new weapons, and reorganize our forces to fight and win several simultaneous wars. Their stated goal was full spectrum global dominance, a “Pax Americana,” but they grudged that such a transformation would take forever “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor.”

Consider then all the ignored warnings, quashed investigations and missing air defenses that preceded 9/11 and gave them this golden opportunity. And post-9/11 consider Condi Rice’s chilling remarks: “Now, we have an opportunity and an obligation to move forward together. Bold and comprehensive changes are sometimes only possible in the wake of catastrophic events… Just as World War II led to a fundamental reorganization of our national defense structure, so has September 11th made possible sweeping changes in the ways we protect our homeland.”

Besides pre-emptive wars, September 11th also “made possible sweeping changes” in the ways the government has stifled our freedoms, enriched corporate backers, attacked the environment, and shred the social safety net. All these current onslaughts draw their strength from 9/11 and the public’s fearful ignorance of what happened on that day.

The truth is we still don’t know why we were left so utterly defenseless on 9/11. But before that tragedy is used to justify the death of one more soldier, one more civil liberty, or one more law protecting the environment or the poor, hard questions must be asked. The victim family groups on 9/11 Family Steering Committee, which campaigned furiously for the creation of the 9/11 Commission, have grown increasingly frustrated with what they now see as a cover-up. They are therefore calling for a new, truly independent inquiry — one that is not run by DC insiders with long ties to those they are supposed to probe, one that will finally answer the questions they have been asking since day one.

Please join with 9/11 family members and support groups like www.911truth.org to advance this cause and get involved.

In peace,

Medea Benjamin,

Co-founder, CodePink: Women for Peace and Global Exchange