That is why I am writing this essay. We need a dialogue before it’s too late. It would be better if more of our US senators would speak out instead of giving their silent consent. But without them, it’s up to us to lay out the case against war through the only tool available to us, the internet. We cannot rely on the corporate media.
So I urge you to copy and send this message to everyone you know on your email list that would not reject it as spam. You can revise the text if you wish. You can email back comments to me or whoever sends this to you.
It’s the UN’s decision!
A unilateral American attack on Iraq is patently illegal. The US is taking upon itself the right to enforce UN resolutions. But this is the UN’s role, not ours. It is up to the Security Council to review the reports of weapons inspectors, and decide if Iraq is complying.
On what basis will it be decided that Iraq has not complied with UN resolutions? Colin Powell has already lied before the UN, claiming there are Al Qaeda camps in Iraq, chlorine plants, etc. He claims that anthrax and other biological and chemical weapons have not been accounted for. Iraq claims to have destroyed them. Noone knows if they are lying. It is wrong to go to war to destroy weapons that we don’t even know exist. We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein still has weapons of mass destruction. We only have suspicions, and you don’t go to war because someone “might” have dangerous weapons that they “might” sell to terrorists.
At first we were upset because Saddam Hussein refused to let inspectors visit his presidential palaces. Now we say, “the inspectors are not detectives,” and we expect Iraq simply to “come forward and reveal whatever weapons it has.” If this was the requirement, then why the fuss about the palaces?
It is completely illegal for any nation to make a preemptive first strike on another nation that has not attacked it first. If the US makes such a preemptive attack, it will encourage many nations to attack others on the pretext that they might be a threat. Will India make a preemptive attack against Pakistan? Will Russia attack one of its neighbors? Will China attack Taiwan? Will North Korea make a preemptive strike against the United States, as it has now threatened to do? If we attack Iraq for this reason, where does it stop? North Korea has thrown out inspectors. Iran has nuclear plants. Syria supports terrorists. Libya shot down an airliner. Cuba has supported communist revolts around the world. Maybe we should fight the Vietnamese again too.
The Bush administration is dominated by those who have devised a strategy of preemptive war for establishing a new century of American dominance. The goal is to project our power and establish pro-American regimes and bases around the world, keep oil and other resources under our control, and protect Israel from its enemies. Some say they were even hoping for a “Pearl Harbor” so they could enact their policy, and somehow they got their wish. We know that they threatened Afghanistan with bombing if the Taliban did not allow us to build a pipeline there, as recently as August 2001. Did we provoke the 9-11 attack? We know that many American agencies covered up or ignored potential terrorist threats before 9-11. What else has been hidden?
They hope that by imposing “democratic” regimes on Iraq and other nations, the US will encourage more democratic reform. But will the other peoples around the world accept American dominance? Will they do whatever we tell them to do? Or, by making ourselves the great power in the Middle East and elsewhere, responsible for all that happens, will we make ourselves an even bigger target for those unhappy with their lives and easily convinced to join terrorist groups? Won’t we just give the terrorists even more reason to attack us? Certainly, as long as we continue to support Israeli occupation of Palestine, we will continue to be a target, and there will be more 9-11s. Islamic Jihad groups have already declared war on us, if we attack Iraq.
There is no link between the 9-11 attack and Iraq. But the Bush administration keeps trying to make one. It has become an excuse to start any war we wish. The American people must be safe from any attack, he says. No dangerous regimes can be allowed to have dangerous weapons. The world was with us when we responded to Al Qaeda’s attacks, and when we deposed the Taliban regime that supported them. Al Qaeda is our enemy; they have attacked us. We had to respond, capture them and destroy their organization. I supported this, although I did not agree with the unnecessary bombing that killed 3 to 5000 Afghan civilians; and I was appalled that our government and corporate media covered up this war crime.
But Al Qaeda has achieved an even greater victory than killing 3000 Americans. They have convinced America that it must itself become an outlaw nation and attack other nations without justification. It has made us paranoid, and turned allies against us. We have passed unnecessary “patriot acts” that nibble away at what makes America worth defending in the first place, and makes us more like our enemies. Suspects remain in jail without charge and with no access to a lawyer or due process. Meanwhile, many Al Qaeda leaders remain at large, while we waste our men and resources on the wrong target. Afghanistan remains a desperately poor country mostly run by warlords, and is already showing signs of becoming once again a terrorist haven.
How many nations can our president, who promised to avoid nation building and conduct a humble foreign policy, rebuild at once? How many billions will our new policy of preventive war and nation building cost, at a time when our OWN nation needs rebuilding? How high must our budget deficits soar to pay for these wars and occupations, that could last decades? How do we pay for this, when our president has already reduced taxes-- and wants to reduce them even more to the wealthiest Americans for years down the road? How high will our deficit go-- just when the baby boom is starting to retire, and our economy is in recession? How much of our national savings will be unavailable for civilian investment, because it must be funnelled to pay an ever-rising national debt? How could there be an administration more fiscally incompetent and irresponsible than this one?
Nor do we know how many American soldiers might die in street fighting in Baghdad, against an enemy that may resent us coming in and violating their sovereignty, setting up a military dictatorship and controlling their resources for years to come. How many Iraqis must die as American bombs fall and attacks roll in? They say we can wage war on the cheap now, without many casualities. That’s what they said in 1991 too. But 10,000 American soldiers died of Gulf War Syndrome because we used spent Uranium shell casings, that also poisoned the area for thousands of Iraqis in Basra and elsewhere. We destroyed their infrastructure so completely that it still has not recovered, leading to starvation and disease, exaccerbated by our sanctions. Hundreds of thousands died as a result. We were told that 90% of our smart bombs hit their target, but later learned that only 10% did; causing thousands of civilian deaths. Now we are asked to believe that if we drop more “smart bombs” in the first two days on Baghdad than we did in the entire Gulf War, in an overwhelming and demoralizing show of force called “shock and awe,” that “only a few civilians” will be killed.
No, war is not cheap. It is not safe, and it is not right. It is always wrong, and certainly must always be the last resort, not the first. We must resolve this crisis peacefully if we can. It may be true that Iraq is cooperating now because of US pressure. But Iraq was already contained and was mostly disarmed in the first place.
Iraq is not even threatening to attack the US, or any other nation. It cannot even control 2/3 of its own people within its own borders. It has been successfully contained for 12 years. It has destroyed over 90% of its weapons of mass destruction, according to UN reports. We have no evidence that it has any left. It can’t attack its neighbors. If it did, it would immediately be defeated and its regime changed. We relied on deterrence and containment to keep the Soviet Union from attacking us for 50 years. It worked, and we avoided war. We are relying on deterrence against North Korea. Do we honestly believe that Saddam Hussein is stupid enough to attack us, or even sell weapons to terrorists to attack us, when surely he knows what would happen if he did?
Thanks for reading. Please pass it on. Sign your name if you wish.
Eric Meece, San Jose CA USA firstname.lastname@example.org