Jodie Evans in Alternet:
The first time we crossed the desert from Amman to Baghdad was 12 years ago last month. We had been holding a vigil outside the White House to say no to war on Iraq for five months. We decided we had to go for ourselves to bring back a glimpse of reality, as the White House was churning out lies the media and Congress were accepting without question. It felt like everyone had entered the fog before the war. As we arrived at the border we were offered tea as they registered our electronics. The agent asked CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin if she was Jewish and after she shook her head yes, he quickly left the room only to return with a book in Hebrew. “What does this say?” he inquired with intense curiosity. She replied that she didn’t speak Hebrew but was not sure why he was reading it. He said, “When we were at war with Iran I learned Farsi so I could speak the language of my enemy; now that we are going to war with Israel, I want to learn how to speak their language.” There were many more encounters that revealed the Iraqis believed the US wanted to bomb because of Israel. We held a vigil in the streets with a banner that read, “We have found the smoking gun,” and in our hands we held gas nozzles. Another vigil at the oil refinery had us giving our blood to the Red Crescent in an act to declare No Blood for Oil.
The Israeli engagement in the mad drive to war 12 years ago could also be seen in who was voting for the war in Congress. There was a chasm between progressive Democrats and the AIPAC members, Democrats who had been against war in the past were for bombing Iraq. Our week in Iraq showed us that Iraq had very little, the sanctions had taken an enormous toil on everyone. It was easy to conclude there were no weapons of mass destruction; we even traveled out of Baghdad to where they was alleged to be and found nothing. One evening we rang all the rooms of the weapons inspectors and interviewed a few about what they were finding, which was a unanimous nothing. There were 32 members of the European Parliament there at the same time, and they came to the same conclusion