03/20/2013 02:41 pm ET Updated May 20, 2013

Ten Years After the Iraq Invasion: We Can't Afford the Same Mistake Again

Over ten years ago, we founded CODEPINK in response to the fear-mongering color-coded terrorist alerts that helped scare Congress into an invasion and occupation of an innocent country, Iraq. What I thought I was fighting to stop was so much less shocking than what actually happened. After Bush said it was time for "shock and awe," the maid in our hotel in Baghdad buried her head in my chest, looked up to the sky and asked, "How do I protect my children?" Even then, with my heart breaking, I couldn't have imagined what lay ahead.

Could we have imagined over five million Iraqi displaced and possibly a million dead? Could we Americans have imagined the erasure of civil liberties, the deaths of so many young soldiers and over 100,000 horrific casualties? Or the excruciating effects of PTSD or the devastation of rapes in the military and the Military Sexual Trauma suffered by so many women? Could we have imagined that more American soldiers would commit suicide than die in the line of duty? I had argued to members of the Senate and Congress in 2002 that the numbers Rumsfeld was arguing, both in terms of how few months and how little money the war would require, were lies. But could I have imagined the occupation would reach the proportions it has both in time and money? No.

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