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NWSA Journal 15.2 (2003) 99-110

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Feminists Protest War with Iraq

Amy C. Hudnall

The National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) has joined hundreds of thousands of Americans in an unprecedented historic grassroots movement by sending a message to President George W. Bush and other elected officials urging the U.S. government to refrain from using military force against Iraq.

NWSA, which adopted an anti-war resolution on 25 February 2003, speaks for thousands of women's studies practitioners and feminist organizations in the United States who are committed to resolving conflict through negotiation.

By passing this anti-war resolution, NWSA proclaims its solidarity with hundreds of thousands of feminists, activists, scholars, and concerned citizens around the world who oppose the use of military force by the US against Iraq. NWSA is an organization whose roots lie in the women's and civil rights movements, through this bold statement, it continues centuriesold ties between women's rights advocates and those lobbying for peace.

In the resolution, NWSA recognizes the importance of international commitments to human rights, such as those laid out in various United Nations documents. Likewise, the NWSA resolution affirms the importance of continuing to engage in peace processes and conflict resolution methods that have been authorized by the international community, including allies of the United States.

Additionally, the resolution strongly condemns attacks on people's basic human rights by Iraq or any other government or group. At the same time it condemns these attacks, NWSA shares the world's frustration that U.S. lead-ers have not pursued peaceful means to end these human rights abuses in Iraq and peacefully resolve the two countries' conflict.

--Colette Morrow, NWSA President-Elect
4 March 2003

Open Statement by the National Women's Studies Association

The National Women's Studies Association is committed to resolving local and global conflicts through negotiation; hence, it urges the U.S. government to refrain from using military force to effect social and political change in Iraq. NWSA further urges the U.S. government to immediately and wholeheartedly commit itself to international conflict resolution processes that will lead to greater social justice and enduring peace worldwide.

NWSA's position on the question of war against Iraq is based on feminist thinking about the causes, consequences, and solutions to violence against women. Feminist analysis shows that there is a connection between individual acts of violence directed against women and violence that women experience as the result of war. Feminist praxis also demonstrates [End Page 99] that working to eliminate oppression and establish social justice is more effective than military aggression in reducing interpersonal and state-sponsored violence.

NWSA's founding mission of eliminating oppression and working to establish social justice led it to recognize the importance of international commitments to human rights, such as those laid out in various United Nations' documents. NWSA's dedication to this mission also prompts its ongoing denunciation of violations of human and women's rights by any government or group. Consequently, NWSA joins the world in condemning the current Iraqi government's oppressive attacks on peoples living within its borders.

However, this condemnation does not imply assent to an invasion of Iraq. NWSA believes that in seeking solutions to tyranny, international leaders must always ensure that those most directly suffering from the yoke of oppression are not the ones made to bear the heaviest costs of attempts to lift it from their backs. Oppressed peoples have the right to participate in identifying and instituting remedies to their oppression; they should not be forced to endure a war that will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable members of society, including women, children, people with disabilities, the poor, and aged populations. Civilian populations in Iraq already suffer under U.S.-imposed economic sanctions and should not be put at further risk by a U.S.-led invasion.

As educators, NWSA members call for open democratic dialogue that will 1) identify the root causes and potential consequences of current U.S. policy on Iraq and 2) devise and implement non-violent methods of ending human...


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