- Anti-war activist
- Director of Voices in the Wilderness
- The UN's relationship to the US is that of a battered woman to an abusive partner"
Kathy Kelly is the director of Voices in the Wilderness, which was founded in 1996 to protest the America-led, United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Characterizing the United States as an arrogant aggressor, Kelly has blamed the long-term suffering of the Iraqi people on UN sanctions, rather than on the abuses of Saddam Hussein. “An accurate view of what the United States has done to Iraq,” says Kelly, “shows such a bullying and cruel posture that most people in the United States, if they saw it, wouldn’t stand for it. I don’t think your average person in the United States wants to adopt the role of a bully who will practice child sacrifice in order to get what he or she wants. It’s not who we are, but we don’t get the chance to look in the mirror. I believe this war and occupation are going to leave a bad aftertaste in the mouths of many people as they begin to realize what we did. There’s a big teaching moment, an opportunity for the Iraqis now under occupation if the Iraqis could somehow realize it.”
“The UN’s relationship to the US,” said Kelly in 2002, “is that of a battered woman to an abusive partner, desperately going to great lengths to provide cover for her abuser. . . . [But] the entire façade of bureaucratic delays that make up the UN’s efforts in Iraq is absurd. Do any of the UN workers who struggle to provide minute documentation that Iraq isn’t building bombs out of parts for water treatment plants, for example, really believe that the US cares about their work?”
In the mid-2000s, Kelly was an editor of the Peace Majority Report along with such notables as Medea Benjamin, Michael Lerner, Kevin Martin, Dave Robinson, and Susan Shaer.