News Release

Marla Ruzicka in Iraq: War Victims Discounted

Marla Ruzicka, who founded the organization Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, was killed in Iraq over the weekend. The Washington Post reports today that she “won over Congress and the U.S. military, persuading the United States to free a precedent-setting $20 million for civilians it injured” in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Post writes: “This time Ruzicka stayed in Baghdad longer than she had planned because she believed she had found the key to establishing that the U.S. military kept records of its civilian victims, despite its official statements otherwise, colleagues said.”
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JUSTIN ALEXANDER
MATTHEW CHANDLER
Alexander is a member of the Christian Peacemaker Team and had extensive contact with Ruzicka. He was waiting for Ruzicka, at a party she helped organize, when he learned of her death. He has written an article about her, posted on his web page (above). Alexander said today: “Marla behaved the way the U.S. government should be behaving if its motivations for the war are what it claims — to help Iraqi civilians.”

Chandler is coordinator of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq. He said today: “It’s been more than two years after the war was ‘over’ and you still can’t drive to the Baghdad airport. Marla wasn’t targeted, she was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Ironically, she was an innocent civilian, exactly who the organization she founded works to help.”
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MEDEA BENJAMIN
Benjamin is founding director of Global Exchange, the international human rights group where Ruzicka was involved in activism. She said today: “Just about every day we hear of bombs going off in Iraq, and perhaps we pause for a moment and think what a tragedy it is, and then we go back to our daily routine. But when someone close to you is killed by one of those bombs, the world stops spinning. … Marla first came to the Global Exchange office when she was still in high school in Lakeport. She had heard a talk by one of our staff members about Global Exchange’s work building people-to-people ties around the world — and she wanted to do something to help.”
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MARC HEROLD
Herold, a professor at the University of New Hampshire, helped found (and is now consultant to) the Iraq Body Count Project. He said today: “General Tommy Franks once said: ‘We don’t do body counts.’ Iraq Body Count tried to change that and so did Marla. … Her work really contributed to our understanding the human cost of war, which doesn’t get to see the light of day so often.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167