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This compulsion to prevent something — an invasion, 10 years later

As we mark the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq with Kathy Kelly’s memories of being in Baghdad while the bombs fell, WNV editor Nathan Schneider offered his own reflection in a forum in The Nation. A freshman in college at the time, he tells the story of his friend Liz, who was one of the leading organizers of the protests against the war on their campus. While for many people the invasion came and went, and became an education in resignation, that period continues to haunt her:

Liz was shivering from the cold. A few hundred of us had walked out of classes to gather around the student center on March 20, 2003, and she was one of the main speakers at the top of the steps, the one I knew best. We were both freshmen at Brown. We were friends. Footage taken for a never-completed documentary reminds me that, over long sleeves, she wore a black T-shirt with the words, in white, we can stop the war and that famous picture of a lone man standing before a column of tanks at Tiananmen Square. “This,” she cried out to the crowd, in reference to the rally itself, “is our only weapon against the weapons!”

It amazed me to see her up there—that she, after just a few months on campus, was one of the leaders of our local opposition to what seemed to be the stupidest idea in history: the invasion of Iraq that began the night before. When she talks now about the role she played, there’s an open wound, not least because that time still casts a shadow over her and the web-search results that come up with her name.

Read the rest at The Nation. The forum also includes reflections by Tom Hayden, Robert Dreyfuss and Jodie Evans.