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Mother Jones have assembled the ultimate “Timeline Database” of the Iraq War (8/1/90 – 2/14/08), particularly the Bush Administration’s lies. In their own words,

In this timeline, we’ve assembled the history of the Iraq War to create a resource we hope will help resolve open questions of the Bush era. What did our leaders know and when did they know it? And, perhaps just as important, what red flags did we miss, and how could we have missed them? …

… It draws upon the essential news reporting of America’s finest journalists. And it is rounded out by tales of whistleblowers and administration turncoats—by the firsthand accounts of former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, ex-counterterror czar Richard Clarke, and, yes, Colonel Wilkerson.

The Timeline is searchable by Icon/Tags that include “True Intel,” “False Intel,” “Torture,” “Contractors/Profiteering,” “Mission Accomplished,” and “Quagmire.” Within each entry are hyperlinks to supporting documentation.

lie by lie

Full timeline up to the date the Iraq War started available here.

Resistance to war is as old as war itself. The first recorded instance was a Christian, Maximilian, who was executed in the 3rd century AD for refusing to join the Roman army. There have been many other individuals who have refused to serve in war throughout history. But for the beginnings of a coherent peace movement, rather than individual resistance, we have to look to the 19th century.

In America, the first pamphlets calling for an organised anti-war movement were distributed in 1814, and the first meeting of the New York Peace Society followed a year afterwards. Soon there were chapters all over America, and similar societies in Europe too. The American Peace Society was officially founded in 1828.

During World War I, a large number of men resisted conscription on the grounds of conscientious objection to war. Some were made to pay fines, and many others were sent to prison. The No-Conscription Fellowship was formed in 1914, and grew into a substantial movement once conscription was introduced in 1916. Some of these objectors went on to found War Resisters’ International in the aftermath of the war. The War Resisters’ League, its American branch, was set up a couple of years later in 1923, and both groups are still actively campaigning today.

It wasn’t until the Vietnam War, however, that the anti-war movement began to really take hold in the public imagination. Opposition to the war became less individual and, inspired by the Civil Rights movement, took the form of widespread, large-scale demonstrations attended by people from all walks of life. Starting with small demonstrations on university campuses around the United States in 1964 the movement grew quickly, with several marches of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the USA and in Europe over the following years. In 1969, the November 15th Moratorium March in Washington, D.C. was attended by over half a million people.

Vietnam Veterans Against the War was founded in 1967, and quickly grew to have tens of thousands of members. Many of them gathered at the Capitol in 1971 to give back the medals they had been awarded during military service, an act that inspired the members of Iraq Veterans Against the War to do the same over 30 years later. Ron Kovic, one of the most outspoken members of VVAW, was a key figure in the opposition to the Iraq War in 2003 and led hundreds of thousands of people in an anti-war march in London.

In the 1980s, the women’s camp of Greenham Common provided a focus for voices of discontent at Britain’s headlong rush into the nuclear arms race as the Cold War dragged on. In the 1990s, there were strikes and marches in cities around the world in protest against the Gulf War.

In the 21st century, the anti-war movement reached an unprecedented scale. There were regular demonstrations around the world from the beginning of the Afghanistan War onwards, culminating on February 15th 2003 with a massive worldwide day of protest against the imminent invasion of Iraq, attended by millions around the globe. The groups who helped mobilize the protest, among them A.N.S.W.E.R, United for Peace and Justice, the Stop the War Coalition and Code Pink, continue to organise demonstrations and actions against the on-going presence of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Times may have changed, but the words of peace activists throughout history still resonate today.

Listen to the American Peace Society in 1845, reproaching the vast waste of life and resources that constitutes war:

‘On whom do the evils of war fall? Are its guilt abettors the men that pay its expenses, bear its hardships, and suffer its countless woes? No; these come upon the people. It is their earnings that are wasted, their blood that is poured out like water’

Or Bertrand Russell in 1914, condemning the indifference of the ruling class to the horrors of war, the insidious influence of the pro-war press and the ulterior motives of the warmongers, an all too familiar refrain today:

‘Behind the diplomatists, dimly heard in the official documents, stand vast forces of national greed, and national hatred, atavistic instincts concentrated and directed by governments and the press, fostered by the upper class as a distraction from social discontent, artificially nourished by the sinister influence of the makers of armaments’

The human and financial cost of the Iraq invasion is enormous – a toll that continues to rise to the present day, on both fronts, as lives continue to be lost and the financial burden continues to be felt.

  • The General Accounting Office (GAO) reported that US forces had expended around six billion bullets between 2002 and 2005, that is at least 250,000 bullets for every insurgent killed in the ‘war on terror.’
  • It was estimated that in a single three-week period of conflict  in Iraq during 2003 nearly 2000 tons of depleted uranium (DU) munitions were used.  (Paul Brown, The Guardian, April 2013)

Between October 2001 and September 2012, the human toll has been (conservatively) estimated at: (Source:  Costs of War Project)

  • 313,000 lives lost – civilians, soldiers, humanitarian workers.

132,000 are Iraqi civilians; 17,400 Afghan civilians; 43,000 Pakistani civilians; 9,500 US military and contractors.

  • Approximately 7,815,000 internally displaced people (Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan).

And the financial cost?

  • To the USA:  Conservative estimates put the economic cost of the Iraq War at $2 trillion (£1.2 trillion). Taking the Afghanistan War and many other hidden costs into account, the total costs of wars is estimated to be $6 trillion (£3.6 trillion) and counting.
  • To the UK: Whitehall figures released in June 2010 put the combined costs of Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts at £20.34bn. However the £20.34billion total does not include the salaries of soldiers or paying for their long-term injuries and mental health care.  The UK has funded its part in the conflict from the Treasury Reserve Fund which is extra money on top of the £35 billion annual defence budget.

For more information, see

Crimes against peace were defined at the Nuremberg Trials as ‘planning, preparing, initiating or waging a war of aggression, or wars in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances’. The only legal ways of going to war are to prevent a major humanitarian emergency, in self-defence, or with the support of the UN. If these conditions aren’t met, a war crime has been committed.

This is exactly what many believe happened in the case of Iraq. These many include Kofi Annan and Desmond Tutu as well as 22% of the British public, according to a recent YouGov poll.

So far, we have seen very few people being made accountable for the crimes committed before and during the Iraq War. The attempts have either been dropped or are considered as largely symbolic.

In 2009 a case was filed in the Spanish courts against the ‘Bush Six’, the lawyers responsible for redefining the definition of torture in the infamous Torture Memos. The torture methods they approved, which were subsequently used during the War on Terror, are considered illegal under international law. Embassy cables released by Wikileaks suggest US officials may have pressurised Spanish officials into dropping the case later that year.

In 2010 a complaint was filed by Professor Francis Boyle at the International Criminal Court against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleeza Rice and Alberto Gonzalez (also one of the Bush six) for crimes against humanity, citing the use of extraordinary rendition. The case has never gone to court.

In 2011 a Malaysian War Crimes Tribunal found Bush and Blair guilty of illegally launching the war with Iraq, and in 2012 Bush and the five others named by Boyle were found guilty at the same tribunal of illegally declaring war as well as carrying out illegal torture.

David Lawley-Wakelin, seen in the film, interrupted the Leveson Inquiry to perform a citizen’s arrest on Blair in May 2012. George Monbiot ran a campaign to promote the peaceful citizen’s arrest of Blair. monbiot.com/2009/10/26/arresting-blair In the US, www.impeachbush.org has similar advice. A citizen’s arrest is largely symbolic and should be carried out non-violently.

Useful links

Non-violent resistance works. We’ve seen it in action, from the suffragettes to the civil rights movement via Gandhi’s Satyagraha. Many would argue that, historically, non-violent resistance has been more effective than violence in resolving conflicts.

Non-violent resistance is based on the principle that violence is never the best way to achieve goals. However, it isn’t just about what we shouldn’t do. It’s about being proactive, creative and cooperative.

The Quaker movement has a longstanding commitment to non-violent resistance.  ‘Turning the Tide’ is a Quaker project that both informs and trains individuals who wish to know more and engage with non-violent direct action.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. The beauty of nonviolence is that in its own way and in its own time it seeks to break the chain reaction of evil’’.

Martin Luther King, Where Do We Go From Here?

Some recommended reading and ways to get involved

  • Turning the Tide run workshops on effective nonviolent activism based in the UK and their website has great links for further reading.
  • The Non-Violence Project focuses on educating young people around the world about non-violence and peace.
  • Waging Nonviolence has news and commentary analysed from a people power perspective.
  • Nonviolence International is a network of nonviolence groups around the world with useful educational resources and links for further reading.
  • Tipping Point Film Fund supports documentaries that seek to spread truth and inspire change.
  • Global Nonviolent Action Network, A project of Swarthmore College, including Peace and Conflict Studies, the Peace Collection, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility

‘Let them march all they want as long as they continue to pay their taxes’, quote attributed to US Secretary of State Alexander Haig in response to the 1982 demonstrations against the nuclear arms race in New York City.

In 1849, after being imprisoned for withholding his taxes, Henry David Thoreau said that ‘if a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood’.

His words have inspired icons of peaceful protest from Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King, who believed that ‘non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good’.

Since then, we’ve seen the face of war change dramatically. 100 years ago the vast armies of WWI contained hundreds of thousands of conscripted soldiers. Victory was a matter of outnumbering and outlasting the enemy. In the last 50 years, success in warfare has become less dependent on sheer numbers and more on the financial power to deploy expensive technologies of destruction. War needs money rather than men.

We may no longer be subject to military conscription, but our taxes are. All taxpayers are financial conscripts in our governments’ wars, regardless of whether we support them or not.

The Peace Tax Seven are seven British citizens who withheld taxes in protest at military spending. They believe we should be allowed to choose to have the portion of our taxes that is destined for defence redirected into peacebuilding initiatives. Their case in the European Court of Human Rights is still unresolved. They’re part of a wider movement of people campaigning for the right to conscientious objection to financial conscription.

Ways to get involved and learn more about the history of war tax resistance

We Are Many is the first ‘for the record’ account of how the peace movement mobilised to stop the Iraq invasion.  It was a mass mobilisation of a kind never before seen – up to 30 million people over a 24 hour period marching together with one voice.

Protest works. For more information please visit:

As the previous section titled Protest states: Protest works. And protest is now in the works more than ever. For activist organizations that you can learn about or perhaps join, who are currently doing sustainable protest and actions; are coming back; have just begun, see the suggested list below. Rest assured, whether the organization is an activist for peace, the environment, gun control; climate or civil justice, their efforts coincide. If you know of others, anywhere in the world, and would like us to add them to the list, please let us know!