‘US Secretary of State John Kerry’s testimony on the need to destroy the Islamic State could have been most convincing, if it wasn’t for signs reading “Congress Stop Obama’s War” and “More War More Extremists” held by CodePink activists behind his back.
Activists of the pro-peace, anti-militarist movement surrounded Kerry with shocking pink signs as he gave testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, making a case for the Obama administration’s Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) strategy.
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The testimony was being broadcast into the homes of millions of Americans by national TV channels.
“ISIL (IS) must be defeated. Period. End of story,” Kerry said, stressing that despite a long history of debates on overseas military campaigns, he thinks that “all” will be able to agree with this statement.
Kerry then addressed the protestors coming from the omnipresent anti-war group, which was started in 2002 to protest President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq.
“I respect the right of CodePink to protest and to use that right,” Kerry said, adding that he was once himself opposed to the Vietnam War in 1971, and pointing out that the movement confronting him was started “by women who were opposed to war but who also thought the government’s job was to take care of people and to give them healthcare and education and good jobs.”
“And if that’s what you believe in, and I believe it is, then you ought to care about fighting ISIL because ISIL is killing and raping and mutilating women and they believe women shouldn’t have an education,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, footage showed pink signs reading “No Military Solution” and “No Beheading No Bombing,” as well as “Congress Stop Obama’s War” and “More War = More Extremists” hovering above Kerry’s head and changing hands of the activists.
A lone female protester shouting “More invasion will not protect the homeland!” could also be heard in the background at one point during Kerry’s speech, though she was quickly removed from the room by security.
The activist group has consistently opposed the expansion of US military involvement in Iraq’s struggle with Islamic State militants, who now occupy vast territories in the north of the country following a rapid summer offensive. Government officials have repeatedly appealed to atrocities committed by the group – including mass executions and the recent videotaped beheadings of three journalists (two American and one British) – to justify the need for further military action against IS.
At the start of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday and before Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s testimony, CodePink protesters were also heard shouting “No more war! The American public does not want war! We do not want war! No military solution to this!” before being taken away.
Led by Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin, CodePink has held peace protests ever since joining one million people near the United Nations in February 2003 to protest George W. Bush’s plan to invade Iraq. Since then, the group has made repeated appearances at hearings on Capitol Hill and at protest rallies across the nation, according to its website.’
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