Medea Benjamin


Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, discusses the mixed reactions of Kabul residents to U.S. occupation in Afghanistan, the bevy of competent and credible Afghans who could replace Hamid Karzai, the delicate balance between timely troop withdrawal and obligatory U.S. rebuilding of Afghan society and how most Afghans join the Taliban for economic and security reasons rather than ideological ones.

MP3 here. (22:22) Transcript here.

Medea Benjamin is a co-founder of both CODEPINK and the international human rights organization Global Exchange. She has been a tireless advocate for social justice for more than 20 years. Described as “one of America’s most committed — and most effective — fighters for human rights” by New York Newsday, and called “one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement” by the Los Angeles Times, Medea has distinguished herself as an eloquent and energetic figure in the progressive movement.

53 thoughts on “Medea Benjamin”

  1. Don't ever trust those Bay Area lefty cowards to do the right thing. They're just rich dilettante commies and lawyers and milquetoasts. They don't care if we holocaust Iraq as long as the commanding generals are black lesbians or whatever their favorite PC flavor is. Oh yeah, Medea got pied a few years back, google it. Obviously the pie-er was right, Medea deserved a humiliating comeuppance, and she got one. AhahahaHa!!!!!

  2. Yaa, it's tough for the women.. I mean, the "Taliban" want to keep them in the house, or so to speak/
    But as they themselves admit, they were more or less stuck in Kabul….. And as Medea says, Most of the Taliban are out of work villagers… who… not want Steven Green types plotting the rape of their mothers and children……..and/OR the Blackwater Christian Crusaders…..setting up more child brothels.

    Medea Ben Benjamin is in some ways correct, the Taliban suck………….. But what could be worse than a Neocon/Unocal Axis to subjugate the Afghans into a pipeline plantation……and "friend" of the U.S. and Israel…….

    There is NO easy answer, there are NO easy Answers either……. Once the wars begin, the amount of hate increases as tit for tat shifts into high gear…….

    As anyone with ANY savvy knows, Afghanistan is tough to govern and tougher to occupy………

    Having Stephen Green in charge of womens reights — it's like having hitler as U.N. representative for……. (J) ewish people….. Follow the frikin MONEY….. ]UNOCAL?]

  3. You could justify the occupation of pretty much every nation on earth on the grounds of gender inequality. Has Medea B. ever been to, say, Honduras or Guatemala? There's ugly gender inequality there which is hardly up to Berkeley standards too. If you're pregnant by 16 and illiterate and poor in Central America I doubt your experience is much different than in Helmand Province. So what about it, Medea? Should we send the U.S. Marines into Honduras? Cuz by your logic I don't think we can wait another day.

  4. This one lady got elected from her area with no money and at the behest of her constituents! Is anyone listening??? There are plenty of good people, ie women, who will surely be supported by the majority of the population, so long as the US government is willing to help foster the process, much like they did in the last election Karzai won. Medea talked to a couple women in parliament and got the real scoop as their lives are a great example of what it's like for the majority of women.

  5. "They don't care if we holocaust Iraq as long as the commanding generals are black lesbians or whatever their favorite PC flavor is"

    my thoughts exactly

  6. Go to youtube and search for "Code Pink"…

    In early 2008, they were calling marines war criminals! That's pretty militant.

    Now, I can't help but think that Ms. Benjamin sounds like an apologist.

    Tell us, Ms. Benjamin, are the marines STILL "war criminals", now that a Democrat is in charge of the killing?

    I'm sorry guys, but I gotta throw the bullshit flag. And I could tell by listening to MOST of the interview, that Scott Horton thinks it's bullshit too.

  7. Your contemptuous tone and snarky title are a great way to build that left-right antiwar alliance. Way to go Scott!

    There was plenty of common ground to work with. Try asking better questions next time.

    1. Fucking Scott! Why didn't you kiss Medea's ass in the name of solidarity! I think you've upset her and lost a real chance in joining her in the severely equivocal, watered down quasi-anti-war movement! Shame on you!

      1. The goal isn't solidarity with Code Pink. Who cares about them? Building a coalition means working with people you aren't in complete agreement with toward a (mostly) shared goal. Medea wants an end to airstrikes and occupation but she wants soldiers to stay in their bases while NGOs build some kind of Western democracy in Afghanistan. That's half right. Commend her on the first part and point out the shortcomings in the second. The ranks of antiwar believers are spare enough already. Why alienate someone who almost gets it?

        1. Is challenging someone to present a logical rationale for her position the same thing as alienating them? If that's the state of affairs in the US progressive network nowadays, i'm doubly glad i left the country. If Medea Benjamin wants to reach out to people vis a vis a syndicated radio interview, she shouldn't be exempt from challenges to her platform. She seems to think that her lovely vision of snapping one's fingers to make the whole cycle of massive military violence go away is beyond reproach. i hate hearing privileged white people lecture us on what the peasants 'really want'. After listening to this interview, i'm more disgusted with Ms. Benjamin than ever.

        2. "but she wants soldiers to stay in their bases while NGOs build some kind of Western democracy in Afghanistan"

          Thats a goddamn fairy tale! The Afghans hate you and want you to get the F*ck out of THEIR country!

          It's really that simple. Oh, and don't try to hide behind feminisim/ and woman's rights. Those women that you allegedly care about are mostly widows and orphans now.

  8. The womens rights issue was never the objective of the US government or the "coalition", that was merely the justification to get people like code pink on board with the mass murder of Afghans, just a pacifier to keep them happy.

    She wants Turkey to send troops/"peace" keepers there ? yeh, because Turkey has fine record on human rights!

  9. I say neither naive nor confused. She's a plant and a stooge for big dollar foundation money and she works to co-opt and neuter the real antiwar, anti-authoritarian radicalism of the SF Bay Area. Get her out of here. Some of her sponsors in the NGO Industrial Complex are in cahoots with the feds, and a lot of her money comes directly from the federal government. On every issue that matters, Medea Benjamin is on the WRONG side. For example, in '99 she sided with the police against the protesters at the WTO actions in Seattle, because she loathes a disorderly mob because that's actually threatening to her beloved rulers, and because mobs can't be controlled and soaked for donations and publicity. Benjamin is much more comfortable with a phony, toothless, tame, planned, permitted, and policed "march" on the capital building in Sacramento than she is with an actual angry, dangerous protest where non-lawyer activists might actually get mad about outrageous things and throw stuff and break things. Which do you think the rulers worry about more?

    1. you're on point about medea being a "plant". the best way to control the anti war movement is to create an illusionary anti war movement, and medea is one of the "leaders". all of the big anti war organizations and many prominent progressives, from ANSWER, UPJ to michael moore are just fronts for the democratic party. their role is to diffuse and control dissent by offering an illusionary alternative, and when you get it, as with Obama, nothing changes.

  10. Shut up, bitch. We'll take it from here. Thanks but no thanks, Medea. Go back to fretting over discrimination against gay spotted owls at the San Francisco Zoo or whatever your specialty is and let serious people worry about how the hell we're going to resist the US occupation of Afghanistan in solidarity with the Afghan national resistance, a.k.a. the "Taliban." I know, I know, that's the hard stuff you don't understand and have no business speaking about, but you needn't worry, we'll deal with it. But do say hi to your neocon pals Hillary and Condoleezza for us the next time you see them! We know how much you love the poor women of Afghanistan because people like that serve you lattes at Starbucks, and even though you don't tip, you always smile and say "thank you"–unless they forget that your usual is a NON FAT bitch, get me a new one NOW!!!

    1. I would add Norman Soloman of Institute for Public Accuracy, also formerly director of Fairness & Accuracy in Media, to the list of traitors and sellout to the left anti-war movement. Soloman was at San Francisco's October 15 Anti-war Rally and spilled his shit there too about 'how we must give support for Obama's so-called "humanitarian" occupation of Afghanistan. In case people don't know, Soloman, during this last election, instead of doing his job of critiquing the mainstream media's unfair treatment of 'third-party' presidential candidates, he went on and became a 'delegate' for the Obama presidential campaign. He not once criticized the mainstream and 'alternative' media's non-coverage of any 'third party' candidates.

      1. Continued…..Furthermore, Soloman got onto Pacifica Radio's network station KPFA out of Berkeley and promoted for the Obama campaign and told his followers how they must throw their support behind Obama because of the 'alleged' threat of possibly we getting McCain/Palin as our national leader. Well, 9 months into the Obama Administration, the facts speaks for itself that Obama has totally betrayed his supporters and his policies would make McCain's 'alleged' far right policies looks like 'walk in the park', and now Soloman has the nerve to show up in SF to continue to lie to his supporters and the anti-war movement of how great Obama is doing and how much we need to 'encourage' Obama to veer back on the so-called 'left track'. Keep dreaming, Soloman and Benjamin. You two are couple of phonies and you are no better than those assholes on Wall Street.

  11. I think it's quite probably true that MB met women in Kabul who are doing better under the occupation than they were before. Money, professional jobs, being able to walk the street, things like that. They don't want to lose them. But it's all an artificial dream life, like the Green Zone in Baghdad. Their sisters and brothers out in the rest of the country are being bombed and starved. Their own situation can't last. America will leave and/or throw their "quislings" to the wolves in order to stay.
    I do agree the U.S. should leave as "responsibly" as possible, but they have to start leaving, now.

  12. Scott, you should have pushed her harder on why code pink did not go to the sheehan protest against Obama. Why have code pink stopped with high profile protesting now when Obama is in office?

    CP was never anti war, they were anti bush. And Medea's arguments went from "Pull out" to "responsible exit strategy" and training the afghani army and stuff like that, just like the neocons said back during the bush days.

    Code pink are a bunch of hypocrites, and they were never anti war. Next time push her harder on why they are not consequent in their anti war beliefs.

  13. This is the actual Code Pink position.
    an open letter to President Obama:

    President Obama:

    We, the women of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the United States, implore you to refrain from sending more United States military forces to Afghanistan.

    Sending more military forces will only increase the violence and will do further harm to women and children. Instead, the funds should be redirected to improving the health, education and welfare of the Afghan people.

    We encourage you to work quickly for a political solution in Afghanistan that will lead to a reconciliation process in which women will fully participate and a withdrawal of foreign military forces.

  14. Why anyone still listens to this Tides Foundation fund-sucker is beyond me. Benjamin is and has been little more than a shill for the demotards since longer than I can remember.

  15. Kiss the U.S. empire goodbye…the blood of the innocent people that we have shed since the founding of this beast will come back to haunt and destroy everyone of these so-called heroes (sheep) who are led by the wolves (princes of darkness). Hell be thy place till ya redeem your souls. We reap what we sow. God bless God. The fires of hell and damnation eagerly await the senators, presidents, cardinals, congressmen, and other demonic individuals responsible for the slaughter of God's children worldwide.

  16. We went to Afghanistan to empower women…NOT!

    We went to Afghanistan to control the oil and gas routes and to kick the ass of anyone else in the neighborhood.

    Outside of us being in Afghanistan as an energy pipeline protection force, I do not see the purpose of our being there. 8 years ago it was to find Osama bin laden, still no luck, and he is probably in Pakistan and the guys who rammed the planes into the WTC trained in Dresden ,Germany as well as the USA. Then there is the argument that we got to get them there or else they'll come here and create havoc. But people can prepare to attack the US from anywhere in the world– Af/Pak, Dresden, New York or ???.

    What was needed in Afghanistan was police/spy work; not invasion. Our military overthrew the Taliban– the mainly Pushtun group, and Afghanistan's largest minority (43%), and put the smaller minority Tajiks in power. Guess what? The uproar continues .

    Solution-get out now as our being there only causes more friction and let the Pushtuns and the Tajiks work it out.

    Unless, of course, we're there as a energy pipeline protection force. Even so, this is a bad neighborhood for us to be in. China and Russia want their energy routes in this part of the world and we want ours. India and Pakistan are killer enemies and we are foolish to step in the middle of it. So, if oil and gas is your game, then fight it out in this tough arena and the hell with the toll in deaths and revenue–if not, get the hell out.

  17. What a joke! Who appointed her spokeswoman for Afghan women? It is up to Afghan women to "liberate" and "empower" themselves not phony little white middle class Jewish girls from the Bay area.

  18. Oh, you anti-interventionists are being so meaaan to Medea.

    Media has clearly stated that she supports the … ahem responsible withdrawl of US troops from Afghanistan. (Responsible of course means "the USA army won't withdrawl until Afghan women have right not to shave their legs and armpits in fear of the Taliban")

    So stop picking out Code Pink.

    And haven't you heard?

    Barack "Let's bomb Af-Pak" has won the Nobel Peace Prize!

    Remember kids,

    War is Peace.

    Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize to mixed reviews

  19. Turkey? Wrong flavor of Islam, AND THE PASHTUNS ARE NOT TURKIC like GENERAL DOSTUM whose name she tosses out.

    Turkey cannot be bribed with a collapsing currency($), are already in NATO, did not take part in any aspect of the war, even when they had the chance to be tier I participants. It is shocking the way these Mo'rons toss out this country will do this and that one will do that even when those same countries were 100% uncooperative when the US had more tools to motivate them. The only thing they might want is EC membership, but the EC is looking kind of shabby now in terms of providing a quick fix to economic problems.

  20. I think we need more Taliban-style thinking on the woman problem here in the US. Chicks are like, blah blah blah blah. And the Taiban are like, no, that's not the way it's gonna be. We tried it your way and it didn't work. So get with the program, sister, or else. That's what I'm talking about.

  21. I heard Webster Tarpley describe her and Code Pink as plants almost two months ago. I thought, come on Webs, you see a conspiracy in the sun rising. But I have to take it back, another foundation funded co-opting stooge. No wonder she loved to wear the tight pink shirts that showed off her chest; she is a weapon of mass distraction.

  22. Concerned about "women's rights" in Afghanistan and all the while TSA thugs leer at, grope, and finger-fuck whomever they please right here in the good ol' USA.

    Maybe there should be Afghan troops in American airports to protect our women.

  23. Benjamin is tryin to fight the feminist culture war in Afghanistan. She is a cultural imperialist. What about the women in Amerikkka? We have college students who grew up on her generation's feminist ideology performing in adult movies, selling their bodies on craigslist and recieving a lower wage than men fo requal work but she sees a nobler fight in SW Asia???She should worry about her own ppl first and let the Afghan men and women solve their won issues! Where is she to help the women being sexually assulted and pimped out in Iraq, the Congo and so many other theatres of war. These Code Pink ppl are middle class cultural imperialist cloaked in a stylish anti-authority jacket!

  24. I can't understand why Medea Benjamin caused so much trouble. It just seems that while she cares about the future of Afghanistan and its people after America leaves, Scott Horton only cares about the security and rights of Americans. There doesn't ever seem to have been an interview with an Afghan antiwar activist who's resident in America. Surely they must exist.

  25. From the 'About Us' section of Code Pink's web site:

    CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities.

  26. Other women opposed suffrage like Helen Kendrick Johnson, whose prescient 1897 work Woman and the Republic contains perhaps the best arguments against women's suffrage of the time.

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