IRAQ: Why Did I Go To Iraq?

I’ve been asked that question countless times over the years. I’ve asked myself that question even more frequently. The short answer is: “I don’t really know.” The longer answer is that it felt inevitable. I received an email from a colleague in January 2003 explaining she was cialis tadalafil 20 mg tablets traveling to pre-war Iraq with a women’s delegation. At that point, I just knew I was going. Weird, because I’d never thought about going to Iraq, about traveling in the Middle East, or, certainly, about visiting a country on the brink of war. I called the tour organizers and was told there was no more room. I offered to fill out the application and send a deposit anyway. I just knew I was going. The call came on a Monday afternoon. By Thursday morning, 72 hours later, I was on my way to LAX. In between, I’d done 2 interviews with local newspapers and planned to meet a TV reporter at the airport, enlisted friends to complete a home improvement project I couldn’t leave unfinished, and arranged enough

work to keep my office staff humming. What I didn’t do was tell my mother. I also didn’t prepare myself for what I would do with the information I gathered. That all came later – and was hard fought for. In the final weeks leading to the inevitable US-led invasion of Baghdad, there were peace rallies happening everywhere. All I

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wanted to do was share what I had witnessed, share the pleas from the Iraq women I’d met who begged me to go home and ask Pres. Bush not to bomb them, share what I’d learned from UN reports about the impact the 12 years of post-Gulf War sanctions had had on children. At first, I couldn’t get groups to schedule me as a speaker – even though I wasn’t charging and even though I had personal connections. I wasn’t a big enough “name.” Eventually, a peace group in Malibu invited me to address their anti-war rally. I was so nervous; I was still rewriting my notes as my friend parked our car! What I shared mattered. People cared and responded. Eventually, I would address more than 300 audiences in 7 countries, including a group of Congresswomen in the US Capitol. Including a group in my mother’s living room. Engaging American audiences – even tough ones where people shouted at me – became my way of overcoming my helplessness and shame for what my country was doing. That’s why I’m going back.