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Testimony on the Costs by Dana Visalli

Dana Visalli, MS, is a field botanist specializing in rare plant species. As director of the Methow Biodiversity Project, he coordinates a biological inventory of the Methow River watershed and publishes The Methow Naturalist, a seasonal natural history journal. Author of Northwest Dryland Wildflowers, Sagebrush-Ponderosa, Northwest Coastal Wildflowers and Northwest Mountain Wildflowers, Dana is also a peace activist interested in energy, ecology, equity and the evolutionary process. He was in Iraq with Kathy Kelly for 28 days in 2003 prior to the invasion, and then went back in Feb 2004 with Christian Peacemakers. Dana recounts, "We visited a village (Abu Siffa) where the USA had arrived in the middle of the night and taken every man away—to Abu Ghraib. I have touching images of young girls showing pictures of their disappeared fathers. We demonstrated in ‘Liberty Square’ and were told that notes were coming out of Abu Ghraib that the Americans were raping women. So we went to Abu Ghraib the next day; well the American would not let us in, but we witnessed the lines of hundreds of people outside searching for their ‘disappeared’ loved ones." Dana has also worked briefly as a botanist in Iraq (for Nature Iraq) and has personally witnessed the environmental costs of war. Dana has also been to Afghanistan 4x.