WCW Home Take Action Videos & Reports of Demonstrations 3-25-15 Timeline: U.S. War Crimes & Resistance from People Living in the U.S. 2001–2015
3-25-15 Timeline: U.S. War Crimes & Resistance from People Living in the U.S. 2001–2015 PDF Print E-mail

From World Can't Wait | Original Article

Some of us remember what it was like to mobilize protest against the Bush regime right after 9/11. It's important to remember that even relatively small groups of dedicated people can have a disproportionate impact at times — and that things can change quickly for the better, and for the worse.

  • September 14, 2001 – Congress passes the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, worded to contain military action against those responsible for 9/11 and those who harbored them.

  • September 16, 2001 - Dick Cheney says while interviewed on NBC: "We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we're going to be successful. That's the world these folks operate in, and so it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective."


  • September 16, 2001 - Bush’s press secretary responds to comments made by comedian Bill Maher that Americans “need to watch what they say, watch what they do.”
  • September 20, 2001 - Bush announces the “War on Terror” accompanied by the Bush Doctrine of preemptive (i.e. aggressive) war – “the supreme war crime” under international law.
  • September 22, 2001 - 100 artists gather in Manhattan to perform “Our Grief is Not a Cry for War”

Victims of US air strike on wedding in Afghanistan

  • October 4, 2001 - NATO countries’ representatives meet in Brussels and plan “blanket overflight clearances” for CIA-chartered planes used to rendition prisoners to various “black site” prisons around the world, creating a network of kidnapping and torture. It is still unknown how many people have been “rendered” to these covert prisons. Governments in countries such as Syria and Egypt also held and tortured suspects sent via rendition on behalf of the US. At least one hundred of the victims died while being tortured (source).
  • October 7, 2001 – the US begins bombing Afghanistan
  • November 26, 2001 – The CIA starts to send Predator drones to bomb Yemen.
  • January 11, 2002 - The US brings the first twenty “detainees” to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Photos are soon released, horrifying the world with images of men and boys in orange jumpsuits kneeling while hooded or blinded with goggles.

  • March 23, 2002 - The Not in Our Name anti-war organization is founded, producing two key documents that crystallized growing mass sentiment against the Bush regime’s agenda. Learn more about the Pledge of Resistance and the Statement of Conscience (which was published as a two-page spread in The New York Times signed by hundreds).
  • April 20, 2002 - The first national anti-war demonstration after September 11 happens in Washington D.C., sponsored by the ANSWER organization.
  • July 23, 2002 - Senior members of the British government and intelligence figures meet about the U.S. moves towards war against Iraq. The head of MI6 is recorded as saying, based on a recent trip to Washington, DC, “Bush wanted to remove Saddam Hussein, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." The UK, headed by Tony Blair, was one of the few countries to support the U.S. War on Iraq. A copy of what became known as the Downing Street Memo was obtained and published in May 2005 by The Sunday Times, and became known as the “smoking gun” revealing the war had been waged not only unjustly, but on the basis of lies.
  • August 2002 - Jay Bybee of the DOJ signs off on John Yoo-authored "Torture Memos" which argue that torture is legal - if the president does it.

  • September 12, 2002 - Bush speaks at the UN arguing for a UN mandate for war against Iraq because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. This claim is widely rejected, including by the UN weapons inspectors charged with monitoring Iraq.
  • October 2, 2002 - Little-known state senator Barack Obama speaks at an antiwar rally in Chicago, saying, “I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.”
  • December 10, 2002 - One of the better-known victims of Bush regime’s new torture program, Dilawar, is declared dead at Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Force Base. A 22 year old taxi driver, he had been chained to the ceiling and beaten until his shoulders dislocated and his legs turned to pulp. His death is looked at in depth in the Academy Award winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side.
  • February until May 2003 - The publicly instituted program “Total Information Awareness” is in operation, massively gathering surveillance through data mining. These activities are later transferred to the NSA.
  • February 5, 2003 – Colin Powell gives a notorious speech to the United Nations Security Council, citing fabricated evidence that Iraq was obtaining material to build a nuclear bomb.

February 15, 2003 Protests Against the War

  • February 15, 2003 - In world-wide demonstrations in hundreds of cities around the world, millions of people protest to try to prevent US plans to attack Iraq. As many as a million people in New York City alone marched. The New York Times reported there were now ”two superpowers on the planet - the United States, and worldwide public opinion."
  • March 20, 2003 - The Bush Regime launches “Shock and Awe” and massively bombards Iraq, in the face of worldwide condemnation and without the “coalition” they hoped to form.
  • March - April, 2003 - Thousands of Iraqi civilians are killed, mainly by US air strikes.
  • April 2004 - Photos from Abu Ghraib are released showing sadistic torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers.
  • April 2004 - The first “Battle of Fallujah” takes place, as the US responds to demonstrations by Iraqi residents with increasing violence. Hundreds of Iraqi civilians are killed.


  • April 4, 2004 - Casey Sheehan, a mechanic in the US Army, is killed in Baghdad after likely being forced to go on patrol. Before his deployment, Casey had said, “I can’t kill anyone.” Eventually 4,488 US soldiers were killed in Iraq alone.
  • May 2004 – The Taguba report is released: the Army’s internal investigation of torture at Abu Ghraib revealing widespread and systemic abuse and torture of prisoners, including rape.
  • July 2004 - Iraq Veterans Against the War is founded.
  • August 2004 - Hundreds of thousands of protesters converge on New York City to oppose the nomination of George Bush at the Republican National Convention.
  • October 2004 - The first session of International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration is held in New York City, indicting the Bush Regime for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • October 29, 2004 – The Lancet, a respected British medical journal, publishes the results of a survey which reveal approximately 100,000 people have been killed as a results of the war and occupation in Iraq.
  • November 2004 - The second “Battle of Fallujah” takes place, with the US laying siege to the city for a month, after having bombed the city from the skies every few days. 50,000 people are trapped in the city and up to 6,000 are killed during the attack, which uses depleted uranium shells, cluster bombs and white phosphorus. One of the first targets was the hospital. Ross Caputi, a veteran of Iraq, calls Fallujah the Iraq War’s My Lai.
  • January 2005 - The second session of International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration is held in New York City.
  • August 6, 2005 - Cindy Sheehan sets up Camp Casey outside George Bush’s Texas ranch, demanding a meeting to ask him what “noble cause” her son died for. Hundreds flock to join her and millions are galvanized by this unprecedented action.

New Orleans - Katrina

  • September 3-4, 2005 - 250 people gather in New York City to found The World Can’t Wait, uniting around the Call to Drive Out the Bush Regime, which stated in part, “We need more than fighting Bush's outrages one at a time, constantly losing ground to the whole onslaught. We must, and can, aim to create a political situation where the Bush regime's program is repudiated, where Bush himself is driven from office, and where the whole direction he has been taking society is reversed.” New Orleans had just been flooded by Hurricane Katrina, and the new organization adopted a basic approach of immediate response to government action – or inaction — by marching through midtown, demanding, “rescue, not repression!” for New Orleans.

Haditha Massacre

  • November 2, 2005 - On the anniversary of Bush’s re-election, World Can’t Wait holds protests of tens of thousands around the country in 60 cities, involving many student walk-outs.
  • November 19, 2005 - 24 Iraqis are killed in what came to be known as the Haditha massacre.

  • December 1, 2005 - John Yoo, a lawyer in the Bush Regime’s Office of Legal Counsel and author of notorious “torture memos” appeared in a debate in Chicago with Doug Cassel, a law professor from the University of Notre Dame. During the debate, Cassel asked Yoo,

    "If the President deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?", to which Yoo replied "No treaty." Cassel followed up with "Also no law by Congress—that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo", to which Yoo replied "I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.”

    World Can’t Wait activists attended this speech wearing orange jumpsuits.
  • December 2005 - World Can’t Wait publishes the Call to Drive Out the Bush Regime as a full-page ad in The New York Times, signed by many notable public figures and funded by hundreds of small donations. 40,000 people come to sign the Call online.
  • January/February 2006 - Publishing another full-page ad in The New York Times to call on people to join in protests, World Can’t Wait organizes demonstrations around the country and a national demonstration in Washington, DC calling for Bush to step down.

  • September 13, 2006 - The International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration delivers guilty verdicts on all indictments: wars of aggression; illegal detention and torture; suppression of science and catastrophic policies on global warming; potentially genocidal abstinence-only policies imposed on HIV/AIDS prevention programs in the Third World; and the abandonment of New Orleans before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina. Expert testimony provided to the Bush Crimes Commission includes former commander of Abu Ghraib prison Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski; former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray; former UN official Denis Halliday; former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter; Guantanamo prisoners’ lawyer Barbara Olshansky; and survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

Orange Jumpsuit Protest - World Can't Wait

  • October 5, 2006 - Saying “Silence + Torture = Complicity” World Can’t Wait holds protests in more than 200 cities and publishes several ads in short sequence in The New York Times and USA Today. The organization continues to rally people to oppose the entire Bush program through dramatic street theater and creative outreach involving orange jumpsuits and the “Declare it Now” campaign.
  • October 11, 2006 – The Lancet publishes an updated version of its survey on Iraqi civilian deaths, estimating a toll of around 650,000.
  • September 14, 2007 – Opinion Research Business International publishes the results of a survey that indicate up to 1.2 million Iraqis have been killed as a result of the war and occupation of Iraq.
  • September 16, 2007 - Mercenaries with Blackwater open fire in Nisour Square, Baghdad, killing 17 and injuring 20.
  • 2007 - Continuing to hold protests and demonstrations around the country, and addressing the sentiments that elections are the only avenue for change and the new possibility of a third massive war to be launched against Iran, World Can’t Wait publishes new ads stating “2008 is too late” and “Who’s the real nuclear threat?”
  • 2007 - In an incident later publicized by Wikileaks, a group of Iraqis including a father and his children are fired upon from an Apache helicopter flying above Baghdad.
  • October 2007 – Andy Worthington, British journalist, publishes “The Guantanamo Files” – documenting the names and stories of all 774 prisoners held at the notorious prison.
  • March 2008 - Iraq Veterans Against the War hold “Winter Soldier” hearings with testimony from veterans about the untold stories of war and occupation, exposing new evidence of war crimes.
  • November 2008 - Riding a wave of disgust with the Bush Regime, Barack Obama is elected president, offering vague rhetoric about change and a few promises. He pledges to close Guantanamo and escalate the US war in Afghanistan and the drone strikes in Pakistan.

Obama and Bush

  • November 2008 - World Can’t Wait holds a national meeting and decides to continue as an organization beyond the Bush presidency. Debra Sweet, director, argues that just because we hadn’t succeeded in convincing enough people that independent political action was the only viable route to reverse the direction of the government, doesn’t absolve us of our responsibility to continue to find a way to stop the crimes of this government.
  • November 2008 – War Criminals Watch is founded to track the activities of Bush Regime officials in public life, post-government, and organize protests against them and their appointment to influential or prominent posts.
  • January 2009 - Soon after taking office, Obama announces Guantanamo will be closed within a year. As of this writing, Guantanamo is still open, 13 years later.

Drone pilot

  • January 2009 - When asked whether his administration would be investigating the crimes carried out by the Bush Regime, Obama responds that he has “a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”
  • 2009 - Drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and beyond are expanded by the Obama administration.
  • December 2009 – Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At this time, according to Newsweek, “he had authorized more drone strikes than George W. Bush had approved during his entire presidency. By his third year in office, Obama had approved the killings of twice as many suspected terrorists as had ever been imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay.”
  • February 2010 - US troops in Gardez, Afghanistan, murder a family of five, later digging out the bullet holes to cover the evidence.
  • April 5, 2010 - Wikileaks releases Collateral Murder, footage of a massacre of Iraqi civilians that was released by Chelsea Manning. The soldiers in the video were never charged with any crimes, while Chelsea has been sentenced to 35 years for releasing this and other military evidence of crimes and abuses.
  • April 6, 2010 – The New York Times reports the Obama administration has targeted an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki to be killed without trial using drones. He is later revealed to be just one of many on a “Kill List” that Obama and intelligence officials go over once a week on so-called “Terror Tuesdays”
  • May 2010 - World Can’t Wait circulates and publishes a new statement in The New York Review of Books: “Crimes are Crimes - No Matter Who Does Them,” citing the targeting of Anwar al-Awlaki and stating “in some respects, this is worse than Bush.”

Crimes are Crimes

  • July 25, 2010 – Wikileaks publishes the Afghan War Diary, called by The Guardian, "one of the biggest leaks in U.S. military history... a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and NATO commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency." Calls to prosecute Julian Assange and Wikileaks – or kill them using drones – start up almost immediately in the U.S.
  • October 22, 2010 – Wikileaks publishes the Iraq War Logs, internal government documents which reveal war crimes, cover-ups and widespread civilian deaths, far more than were specifically known about before.
  • April 2011 – Wikileaks publishes The Guantanamo Files, confirming that the overwhelming majority of prisoners held (and by this point, released or transferred) have been innocent victims of mistaken identities or bounty hunters.
  • September 2011 - American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and two other Americans, including Awlaki’s 16 year old son, are killed by drone strikes in Yemen.
  • 2011 - After the government of Iraq withdraws legal immunity from US occupation forces, the US withdraws combat troops, leaving the world’s largest embassy in Baghdad, staffed by 16,000 people.
  • March-October 2011 - Obama launches a war against Libya, overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi, killing hundreds of civilians, and further destabilizing the region.
  • May 2013 - At the height of the ongoing hunger strike in Guantanamo, World Can’t Wait publishes an ad in support of the hunger strikers, saying “Stop the Torture - Close Guantanamo Now.” The ad features photos of some of the men still locked up, many of whom have been cleared for release multiple times. This was the first time the men’s faces were seen in the newspaper.
  • July 2013 – Chelsea Manning is sentenced to 35 years in prison after releasing evidence of war crimes to Wikileaks.

Drone Protest

  • October 2013 – As the civil war in Syria heightens, with atrocities carried out by both sides, the Obama administration moves towards “military intervention” against the Assad government, which had recently carried out torture and interrogations through the U.S. rendition program. Protests around the country denounce the expansion of U.S. war, and the attacks never materialize.
  • 2014 - Protests against the use of drones and the covert drone war in general grow and spread.
  • June 2014 - The Obama administration again funds the new military government in Egypt ($1.5bn/year).
  • October 2014 - The US starts bombing areas of Syria as well as Iraq, citing the rise of a new, threatening organization: ISIS/ISIL (or The Islamic State). Areas outside of government control are targeted by U.S. air strikes, resulting in unknown casualties. These attacks are supported by the Syrian government, which was under threat of U.S. bombs itself just one year earlier.
  • December 28, 2014 - NATO officially ends combat operations in Afghanistan; 11,000 American troops remain in the country, under various “operations.”

Copyright © 2024 War Criminals Watch. All Rights Reserved.
War Criminals Watch is a project of World Can't Wait