CODEPINK co-founder and anti-war activist Medea Benjamin interrupted a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the possibility of a U.S. military strike in Syria on Tuesday, prompting a response from Secretary of State John Kerry after she was ejected from the proceedings.
Video posted by Talking Points Memo shows Benjamin “We don’t want another war,” before being grabbed by security and led out of the hearing. She can also be heard saying, “Nobody wants this war. Cruise missiles, launching cruise missiles, means another war. The American people do not want this.”
The outburst led Kerry to briefly interrupt Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s testimony by suggesting he felt empathy toward Benjamin.
“You know, the first time I testified before this committee when I was 27 years old, I had feelings very similar to that protester,” said Kerry, who spoke out against the Vietnam War in 1971 as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. “And I would just say that is exactly why it is so important that we are all here having this debate, talking about these things before the country and that the Congress itself will act representing the American people. I think we all can respect those who have a different point of view, and we do.”
In 2012, Benjamin protested a speech by another Obama administration official, counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan, saying the White House’s use of unmanned attack drones was “making us less safe by killing so many innocent people around the world.”
Watch footage of Benjamin’s protest, posted by TPM on Tuesday, below.
Another CODEPINK protestor interrupted the hearing later. Watch him, courtesy of the Associated Press, here.