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Who Killed Marla Ruzicka?

Greenconsciousness notes: I was offered a trip to Afghanistan by a leftist travel group to "see for myself that women are worse off now than they were under the Taliban." I passed because I do not trust them. When I read this article below, although it is written by the right wing, I thought it rang true.

The friends of the left are Muslim males - they dominate the anti-war movement rallies and marches which are often anti-Semitic .

At the least, Loose Lips Sink Ships. But I think it is worse than that. I have a banner to CIVIC on my green column to your right. I will leave it there so you can see the Marla Ruzicka slide show. But before you give CIVIC money, read this article. Marla Ruzicka was/is a hero of mine. I think people she considered friends may have been involved in her murder if only because of their loose talk about her movements. I hope not.

By David Horowitz and Ben Johnson May 3, 2005

Marla Ruzicka, a 28-year-old political activist, was killed in Iraq on April 16 when a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of contractors on the airport road, blowing up the Mercedes she was in with her translator Faiz Al-Salaam.

Ruzicka, whose ebullience earned her the nickname “Bubbles,” suffered burns over 90 percent of her body. Her last words, according to the medic who attended her, were, “I’m alive.”

Her tragic death was a tribute to her bravery since she knew the risks and her fate was thus almost predictable. Nine months earlier she had written in her online journal: “The ride is not pleasant. Military convoys passing every moment. Faiz and I hold our breath.”

It was her third year of working the perilous epicenters of the War on Terror. She was in country on this occasion in behalf of the organization she had created a year earlier – the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), which in its practice meant civilian victims of America’s wars to bring freedom to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Yet Ruzicka was a more interesting political study than so stark a summary suggests. In the last year of her short life, she had moved away from the agendas and organizations of extreme left that had originally directed her life path to the war zones in order to establish a path of her own. In her new endeavor she was guided partly by her genuine concern for the defenseless victims of the conflict and partly by political forces that continued to exploit those concerns.

Unlike Rachel Corrie, who lost her life in Gaza serving a solidarity movement with terrorists and who consequently became a martyr for the anti-American cause, Marla Ruzicka was respected and mourned not only by the left but by supporters of the war who knew her, and even by members of the Bush administration and military whom she first harangued and then petitioned and who ended up in a partially voluntary cooperation with her endeavors.

“Marla Ruzicka decided to work within the system,” complained the editor of the pro-terrorist website, Alexander Cockburn, a longtime supporter of America’s totalitarian enemies. “Both in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he groused, “in furtherance of her humanitarian schemes, Marla Ruzicka elected a stance of studious neutrality in ascribing responsibility for the victims of U.S. bombings and ground fire.”

Indeed, even before she broke free of the Cockburn Left, Marla had told one antiwar reporter who interviewed her in Afghanistan in 2002 that, “many of the families she had contacted were so pleased with the results of the bombing that they were reluctant to come forward to demand compensation.”

Yet despite her good heart and winsome honesty, which might have led her to more far-reaching second thoughts than she had, she remained on a course set by opponents of the war until her fateful encounter with terrorists who, as Christopher Hitchens observed, “couldn’t have known they were murdering her, but then neither could they have cared.”................. more here about Marla's background and the agenda of some of the leftist groups she belonged to and people who now organize through CIVIC. Hitchens comments are also reproduced below.

Frontpage continues......In an article for the Left’s flagship publication The Nation, Benjamin spelled out her post Saddam agenda for the region, which included her desire to “link up with appropriate local and regional groups” and “channel the bursting anti-American sentiment overseas.” A secondary goal was to circulate news of the antiwar demonstrations at home with idea of demoralizing American troops. Occupation Watch promoted fanciful horror stories of civilian casualties deliberately caused by the Americans, claiming that American troops used the equivalent of napalm. (The site has changed dramatically in recent months, but the old website can still be viewed here.) Last December, as Marla left the organization, Code Pink raised $600,000 in cash and supplies for Fallujah refugees and sent it to, “the other side,” in an “unjust war.” The solicitation letter to raise the aid was signed by California Democrat, Representative Henry Waxman,

Somewhere along the way, as the liberated citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq began to breathe the air of freedom, Marla Ruzicka had begun to realize the contradiction in which her comrades had ensnared her. Increasingly, the “other side” was patently grateful for America’s support in lifting the heavy burdens of repression and terror from the backs of the Iraqi people. By all reports, Marla parted ways amicably with Benjamin and the radicals still at war with the United States. According to the Contra-Costa Times, even after the creation of the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, Marla “rarely maintained a permanent address, preferring to stay at the homes of friends such as [Medea] Benjamin.”

Marla came back to the United States to set up the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), an organization to carry on her work of identifying the victims of the war and getting her country to compensate them.

Of course, there were many innocent victims of ongoing conflicts in the world, the most obvious being black Africans in the Sudan singled out for slaughter and slavery by its Muslim Arab rulers, and the Israeli civilians deliberately targeted by Palestinian suicide bombers.

But Marla’s radical trajectory had set her on a course that prevented her from embracing the first of these humanitarian concerns and that made the second not a primary or even secondary agenda. All the instincts and prejudices she had developed in her 13-year apprenticeship in the Left returned her focus instead to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even in these familiar war zones the most obvious civilian victims were those targeted by the terrorist forces, not those unintentionally hit by the forces attempting to thwart them.

But terrorists do not provide compensation for their victims.

These dynamics illustrated the way in which Marla’s humanitarian concerns were enmeshed in political agendas from which she could not (or did not think) to extricate them. Although to the disgust of anti-American radicals like Alexander Cockburn, “she elected a stance of studious neutrality in ascribing responsibility for the victims of U.S. bombings and ground fire,” her quest for compensation from the United States achieved a parallel political result.

It was not exactly the equivalent of British volunteers tallying the number of civilians bombed by the RAF in Germany, but it was close enough, providing useful data for those conducting psychological warfare against the America’s “occupation” of Iraq.

In fact, as the forces of democracy made progress in Iraq, America’s alleged responsibility for “100,000 civilian casualties” increasingly became a principal indictment of the American presence on the part of radicals hoping to dispel the odor of their defense of the Saddam regime.

If Saddam had killed 300,000 innocent Iraqis, well America had killed twice that number if you added the 100,000 to the 500,000 Iraqi children Bush had starved.

To Marla’s credit she attempted to avoid serving the disreputable ends of her former comrades and angered them by arriving at a figure that was only one-tenth of their claim. But the overtones, which served those ends, were unavoidable.

Of course Marla had another option available if she so desired. This was to withdraw from the war zone and take time out for the kind of reflection about her agendas, that crusading passions like hers do not permit. She had been “in the struggle” since she was fifteen years old and was not about to stop now. As with many who commit themselves to the community of others, there was an element in her engagement of an escape from self. “Boyfriends came and went,” observed a Rory Carroll who knew her in Iraq, “but she often hinted at loneliness.” In a recent online journal entry Marla wrote: “I am young, and new at this and developing ways to cope, but in honesty I have tried red wine a little too much for medicine, deprived myself of sleep and felt extremely inadequate.” Commented the Guardian reporter: “The furious energy never abated. Lobbying, traveling, kickboxing and partying were her therapy.”

Writing in the Tribune Colin McMahon was even more blunt: “Ruzicka's highs were unmatchable, torrents of words and energy and productivity. Her lows brought friends and family to exhaustion as they fought to pull her back to her feet. Ruzicka took medication and underwent therapy to find the right balance, and in a recent e-mail to a friend she wrote: ‘I can deal with this illness. There will be good days and bad days -- i just gotta fight them with love.’”

She concluded a recent e-mail with the prophetic words, “I need angels in my life.” In this psychological silo, the missions she undertook provided a powerful updraft. Go out and save the world, Marla.

As it happened, by going “inside the system,” Marla was able to step onto a stage much larger and more intoxicating than any she had been on before. An antiwar tide had swept the Democratic Party after the fall of Baghdad, which was not anti-American so much as anti-Bush.

During the 18 months since June 2003, this community of passionate intensities and its powerful media amplfiers had conducted a scorched earth campaign aimed at unseating the man who in its eyes was the deceitful author of the war Iraq. It had done this despite the fact that its hyperbolic cries – “Bush is a liar;” “he betrayed us;” the war is a “fraud” – were a more powerful force undermining America’s efforts to establish a postwar democracy in Iraq than any attack Medea Benjamin and her friends could possibly conceive.

The would-be usurpers of the Bush administration conducted their campaign by magnifying every American cost in the war and every American fault in Iraq, beginning with the body counts of the nation’s troops.

They had a plausible interest in just the kind of statistics Marla could produce, though in the final event they did not actually play any serious role in these matters. But the apparent fit of Marla’s agendas with those of the domestic insurgency made funding for her new organization no problem at all. Money to operate was immediately supplied to her by the Open Society Institute, a personal instrument of George Soros, the anti-Bush, antiwar billionaire leader of the campaign to unseat the president.

Once her organization was funded, Marla headed for the offices of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, D-VT, a warhorse of the Democratic Party Left and a veteran of its campaigns in the 1980s to prevent the Sandinista dictatorship from being toppled by the Reagan administration. Leahy was a vocal critic of the Bush administration’s conduct of the war in Iraq and with his help Marla was able to put a provision into an appropriations bill for $2.5 million to compensate victims in Afghanistan and another $10 million to rebuild homes and provide medical assistance in Iraq.

She also worked towards the establishment of an office within the State Department that would count the number of civilians America killed and compensate their families. However, noble in intent, if successful this innovation would establish a perpetual psyops project to further tie America’s hands in fighting its enemies.

In line with her new but not unfamiliar agenda, Marla changed her tactics and stopped screaming down her enemies in the administration. Previously her rowdy protests had gotten her ejected from speeches by Colin Powell and then-Texas Governor George W. Bush. But when she returned to Iraq as the head of the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, she decided to use honey rather than vinegar. “Iraqis were sometimes taken aback by Ruzicka’s mix of flower child and union steward,” recalled Colin McMahon. “She passed out hugs to security guards. She called senior military officers ‘dude.,’” Her new tactics – and her powerful Democratic allies – caused General Tommy Franks (who had said, “We don’t do body counts”) to reverse his position on whether the United States would keep track of Iraqi civilian deaths.

In a December 2003 interview, Marla summarized her political change: “I decided not to take a position on the war but to try to do the right humanitarian thing. No one can heal the wounds that have been inflicted; you just have to recognize that people have been harmed.”

One might expect a humanitarian to also recognize when people have been liberated from a monstrous tyranny, but no such concession came from Marla. On the other hand, according to the Washington Post, even her modest and incomplete statement alienated some of her former comrades, who accused her of helping the administration “clean up the mess.”

In the aftermath of Marla’s death, her Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict seems poised to return to the radical path she had somewhat left behind. The new director of Marla's organization, April Pedersen is described on its website as “a devoted human rights and social justice advocate,” formerly with the Institute for Policy Studies, a leftist think tank with close ties to Cuba and unsavory past relations with the Soviet bloc.

Marla’s body was barely cold when Medea Benjamin used it to promote her own agendas. The day after the attack, Benjamin drafted an official statement for her Global Exchange website urging Marla’s mourners to “continue the work she began” by supporting Benjamin’s organizations: Occupation Watch, Code Pink, Global Exchange, and Iraq Body Count.

Benjamin spoke at Marla’s funeral the following Saturday, introducing Sean Penn. “Let's make something of her work and make it lasting,” she told the crowd of mourners. “Let's require the military [to] publicize civilian causalities.”

Even in death the vivacious, idealistic, troubled and intriguing young woman that Marla had been was still a tool of forces she could not control and never really understood.

We wish to thank Rocco DiPippo for the research he contributed to this

Christopher Hitchens observed as follows:

My friend Marla Ruzicka was murdered by a suicide bomber in Baghdad on Saturday night. She had been working bravely and cheerfully to identify and help the civilian victims of the war and had pursued the efforts of her little organization CIVIC, the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, long after many humanitarian activists had given up and fled.

Politically, she was somewhere between Global Exchange and, as she had been when risking her life in Afghanistan, and we had some disagreements. But her concern for the victims was deep and sincere (whatever happened to those "human shields" now that they could be useful?), and she and her Iraqi colleague Faiz, apparently slain in the same attack, will be sorely mourned. The "insurgents" couldn't have known that they were murdering her, but then, neither could they have cared.

Andrea Dworkin, who was pelted and ridiculed for decades of her life, was another of those rare people who feel other people's pain as if it were their own. When she first sent me one of her books, I was all ready to snigger. But she could write, and think, and argue, and it was often a pleasure to disagree violently with her, which is more than I can say for some of her detractors. Like many clever and tormented people, she had the gift of getting the gist of supposedly complex questions.

It wasn't OK with her that President Clinton had a special staff of private dicks to "handle" and to slander truth-telling women; it wasn't OK with her that Serbia used rape as a weapon of ethnic cleansing; and she wasn't neutral against a jihadist threat that wanted, and wants, to enslave and torture females.

That she could be denounced as a "conservative" for holding any of those positions says much about the left to which she used to belong. If she was indeed crazy, I wish she had bitten more of her twisted sisters.

Related in Slate


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was doing some research on marla when i came across your site. i find your comments about those "friends" of marla who used her for their own agenda very interesting. i think marla was actually seeing first hand that the war against terrorist scum was doing good for citizens in iraq and afghanistan. nobody wants dead civlians or dead soldiers but that's the cost of war. I didn't hear the anti-war, pro-feminist crowd screaming for the taliban to be censored by the UN for their abuses of women which i'm sure you know about. I didn't hear them screaming while 600,000 were slaughtered in rwanda while bill clinton was gettin a hummer in the white house. the dates of his affair with chewinsky overlap with the rwanda slaughter and not a voice was raised. it could have been stopped. I don't hear them now regarding darfur and the arab muslims enslaving, raping and murdering black africans. freedom ain't cheap and i hope those families she helped will see that freedom breeds freedom, from one person to another. every little iraqi or afghani girl that grows up not raped on her wedding day by a piece of dung is a good step towards freedom. every school that is being built in iraq and afghanistan is a good step forward for the education of an entire generation which prior to the U.S. intervention/war could not have had a school or even learned to read. as many stories that the media reports that are negative, there are 20 that are positive and get little attention. "if you're not liberal when you're 20, you have no heart, if you're not conservative when you're 30 you have no brains". somethin to ponder.
good reading material for the "good news" from both iraq and afghanistan try
search for the good news sections.

5:19 AM, July 29, 2005  

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