We Must Band Together to Stop the War on Iraq|
Marilyn Dinger Marilyndin@aol.com
From all indications on our local news, CNN, and other Prime Time news, war with Iraq seems all but inevitable. Hill Air Force Base, in Ogden, Utah, is preparing for war. Senator Biden said on "Meet The Press" on August 4 that there will "probably be a war with Iraq." However, Biden seems to feel that no war should be waged with Iraq without the consent of Congress. According to much of the media, it is a surefire done deal. Or at least that is the impression that the media seems to want to leave.
Also, we must note that CNN reported on August 6 that Bush will simply "move his office from the White House to his ranch" in Crawford, Texas. He will take his work with him to Texas after he finished "some important business" in Washington. Some vacation. It is evident from that that Bush is not planning to take much, if any, time off and that he is not merely going to lay low, but he will be hunkering down below the radar while appearing to be on vacation in Texas. He will spend the first day or two of his vacation at Kennebunkport, Maine, with his parents. Don't believe for one minute that he is merely enjoying a family visit with Mamma and Poppy Bush, but he is also there on consultation, as well, in spite of the fact that there may be claims to the contrary. Deja veu all over again before THIS September 11, THIS October, and the November elections. Gloomy late summer and early fall shades of shaddy and smells of fishy are again in the air.
This is a tragic scenario, to say the least, given the opposition against the war in other countries as well as in our own. This is a tragic scenario, given the fact that we are entering a war with Iraq without provocation and are going on the offensive. This is a tragic scenario, when we consider that 250,000 troops will be sent over to Iraq to die and that many innocent Iraqi civilians will also die, notwithstanding those who will be doing the fighting. This is a tragic scenario because the first Bush administration had a chance to contain Saddam and silence him and didn't take that chance. The time is past for war with Iraq. This war truly would at least be slouching toward Armageddon.
One who is astute and who is paying attention would have to question, even in the International Criminal Court (ICC), if pursuing such a strange vendetta (on the offensive, mind you.) with such strange timing, as mentioned above, would indeed cause unnecessary human suffering and environmental desolation and therefore should be labeled and even considered a crime against humanity. One had BETTER question, starting with Congress, if such war crimes would indeed be committed. If they are, is it worth dying and sending people to die to keep the Stock Market healthy, as Kudlow foolishly stated? What is the real reason behind sending our soldiers to war? Is it on the altars of the idol god Big Oil? Is it to pay tribute to the rich who are already too rich and too greedy? Is it so that we can fight a war without end, a perpetual war, such as Hitler's police state strived to wage with its attending holocaust and desolation? Is it on the altars of lust for absolute power? Are these the reasons we are sending people to Iraq to die and to kill?
The timing is very strange, given the fact that we are in an election year and the very strong impression that Bush plans to launch an attack against Iraq in or by October. The pundits are playing up the possibility of another attack on the United States. The last rumor of an attack was during the July Fourth holiday of this year. It didn't happen and scared Americans, for a few days, unnecessarily. The next rumor of an attack on the United States by bin Laden is said to be planned or likely planned at the time of the November election. Is the media trying to provoke an attack, is one truly in the works, or is it an attempt again to scare the American public into submission?
If there is such an attack, and the Bush administration does nothing about it this time, we will have little reason to believe, like the attack on September 11, that this attack could NOT also have been prevented or is an accident. Just before or during the election would make 9-11 pale in significance. And yet 9-11, which was tragic to apocalyptic proportions, could have been prevented. There is just too much supporting evidence there. Not far behind in being suspect, if not equal to 9-11, is a proposed war against Iraq in October, if NOT earlier. With an election the month following, why else would the timing be as it is if not to make Bush appear as war hero so that his supporters in Congress can get enough votes to keep him in office -- indefinitely.?
Some people who are paying attention are also saying that these events are very possibly shaping up to suspend the election so that by 2004 there might not even be another presidential election. Some of the powers that be are likely hoping that we will be in such a terrible state of war that an election will be considered "inappropriate" or even "impossible." To an uninformed American public, war with Iraq might very well be an "October Surprise" with a scope far beyond this October. To those of us who have written letters and have made comments on petitions against war with Iraq, such a war would be no October "Surprise" at all.
Given the fact that there is an odd sequence of events broadcast on the media news, such as the news of Chandra Levy who is no confirmed dead. All of a sudden when fourteen-year old Elizabeth Smart disappeared from her bedroom in Salt Lake City early in June, I thought we were trying to learn on the news who Chandra Levy's killer was. When the Smart disappearance came on the news, there strangely was no more investigatory news of Chandra's killer. One of the media's last blurbs about Chandra was that she reportedly attended one of the Bush inaugural balls. Then comes a long a rasher of kidnappings. Some with tragic consequences. Granted, it is good to hear of those who escaped with their lives. But there is a rasher of those who did not. There was even a nationally broadcast funeral for Samantha Runnion. Others who lost children to kidnapping can either wonder why the media did not pay such special homage to their dead children, or else they wish the media would stop all the blab which may be encouraging the kidnappers to strike. Time after time after time more kidnappings are being reported. The media apparently has honed its diversion skills down to a science.
This is the time when Congress is in recess. Still we must keep fighting on, against an unwise war with Iraq. Preparation for war should NOT be something that is decided on a whim. It is something that should take careful deliberation as will be described in my letter to Senator John Kerry below. It would cost many thousands, maybe millions of lives, before it is all over. The worry that a few people have that such a war could lead to "war without end" as was so proudly proclaimed by Bush's secondhand man, Richard Cheney, is not so farfetched.
How many members of Congress really and truly feel in their hearts that war with Iraq, with no provocation at this point, would be unwise? Every member of Congress should let the American people know how they really feel according to conscience, NOT according to arm twisting by the White House or under the guise of being "patriotic". There are quite a few comments I have read on our petition from foreign countries who do not want war with Iraq. There is at least one comment that I read from a very concerned Iraqi American. All nations who have people on our petition who voice opposition should be consulted. So should all of our allies, including those in NATO, United Nations officials including UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter who maintains that the war is a product of domestic politics and that Iraq's major weapons have been successfully eradicated.
Then, what's it going to take to wake enough Americans up this time? The media seems to have all but written off more talk of the Bush administration's involvement with letting the atrocities of 9-11 happen including it possibly being the American version of the Reichstag fires. This is one issue that should NEVER have left the media's attention until all of the facts are in and available to the public and guilt is confirmed through justice and due process of law. The rule of law MUST prevail there, or we all remain in dire peril. Yucca Mountain shipments of nuclear wastes tragically were approved in Congress and will go forward unless fought successfully in court, which I hope it will happen that a court victory against the shipments prevails. A complacent American public, largely asleep because of the lack of media coverage, might not even know what hit them until it's everlastingly too late. News of T.I.P.S. is now all of a sudden silenced in the media. All too many Americans may never know why a trusted neighbor or an acquaintance has suddenly ratted on them and has turned enemy. Others may someday wonder where they are being taken and why? The last I heard on C-Span on Saturday, August 3, is that the Deputy Attorney general talks as if plans for T.I.P.S. will go forward, anyway, despite objections in Congress.
So meanwhile, back at the ranch in Texas -- plans for war with Iraq are likely being made, some possibly in secret, even as Bush is on "vacation" and traveling around the country on the side, even as Congress is in Recess. NOT SO FAST. Next October would be way too soon to wage war with Iraq, even if one were needed after much deliberation and study. So would a year from October, for that matter. Furthermore, October 2004, the year of the next presidential election, provided we even get to that point, would be inappropriate since an election year anytime is the WRONG time to wage a war on the offensive without provocation.
And we badly NEED another election year with fair elections like we have never needed one since the earth's history began. Very strange indeed was that just a few days ago, CNN blabbed to the American public that former President "Bill Clinton said he would die in the trenches to help Israel." But they quickly cut him off when he explained what he meant. The media has a way of conveniently cutting off what it wants to when it wants to in order to distort the facts or to distort what the speaker really meant to say. Of course Bill Clinton, who is just that kind of guy, is not too proud to give his life for a cause he believes in and one where his efforts and his administration's efforts went a long way toward achieving peace in the Middle East, that is until 9-11 came along on Bush's watch. But CNN should have let President Clinton give his next sentence before they cut him off. I wanted to know what President Clinton meant and what he was trying to tell us. Bush, on the other hand, has never said he would die for anyone, anywhere. Not that he should, but he expects thousands of our young men and possibly some of our young women to die for an unprovoked war. While it is fine that Bush wants to protect unborn infant life along with his own, if he is pro-life on that end which is the beginning of human life, he also should be working hard to save the lives of ALL Americans, ALL innocent civilians, and ALL peace loving people everywhere. He thinks his pro-life stance will win him votes, as does the media, whose pet he is. But his efforts to save infant life do NOT have much credibility unless he works to save ALL human life first.
We have plenty of company in the International Community. ALL Americans DON'T support a war with Iraq where people have to die unnecessarily. The United States, as a whole, should NOT have to be labeled as a "war mongering nation." I asked my mother, who lived through World War II which was worth fighting, what she thought, if anything, could be done to stave off a war with Iraq, at least until there is enough time to study whether such a war is even needed. I told her about people from other nations supporting our petition. She said, "Band together." My mother is on to something there. That is exactly the answer I was looking for from her. We need to BAND TOGETHER and do it boldly and do it NOW.
There are really only two choices -- world without end or war without end. There are really only two nations in the world -- "Peace and Hope" or "War and Hell". We need to line up our allies and all those against war with Peace and Hope, and get OUR ducks in a row. Also, every American should have the chance to voice whether he or she wants to spend our tax dollars to send people overseas to die when this might only serve to provoke a bigger war that, in fact, will be war without end. No one, in their right mind, really wants to die for a war without end. Sending our soldiers to die in Iraq would be as insane and diabolical as members of the Taliban or al Qaeda saying that they believe dying in a suicide bombing will get them to heaven. It would make no more sense. Young Americans and those of us who are older have much to live for. There is much good in the world that yet needs to be done if the human destiny is to triumph in universal peace, goodwill, and humanity as prophets and great thinkers have foretold from the dawn of human history done through all the ages, including the present.
We need to let the media know that ALL Americans should have a say as to whether they believe a war with Iraq is worth it. But we need an informed say, NOT just an opinion off the top of our heads or because it is a buzzword that is popular such as "being patriotic." To have that happen, it will take adequate time for testimonies from reliable and resourceful people like Scott Ritter, those who have sons, grandsons, nephews, husbands or husbands to be who might have to go to war. The reverse is also true if women should have to go. I have a hunch that a quarter million troops will not be the end, but only the beginning of many more who will be sent to die and even eventually expected to die. We need to add to those opinions those of ALL the top military brass including those living who have retired. Add to those all UN officials concerned, ALL of our allies including member nations in NATO. Add to that the testimonies and comments on petitions and otherwise those citizens of ALL nations who object to the war.
As an environmental activist, writer, and consultant, I have worked closely with Environmental Impact Statements and have even had a few of my opinions considered in court cases for the environment. An Environmental Impact Statement IS vitally important because it gives, or should allow, adequate time and opportunity for comment from a broad segment of the public. The more who comment, the better the chance that a good decision to protect our environment, wildlife, and natural areas will be made and eventually implemented.
We need an Environmental Impact Statement AND a Family Impact Statement from the American Public, maybe even a Taxpayer Impact Statement, for that matter because a war with Iraq will have a very adverse effect or negative impact on our economy and such a war will take a heavy toll there. Everyone affected in any way should have an opportunity to comment, and if they do, get an indelible pen, like Sanford Uniball, that is used to write checks that cannot be washed or erased to sign our names with if we send our messages via regular mail. But the main thing is that we do comment and add our input, names, and addresses and not be afraid to do it. Members of Congress need to comment from their hearts, as well. Not until Congress in totally unified, not until ALL citizens of all nations agree, nor until every American agrees that it is all right to go to war with Iraq should we do it.
The cost is just too great if everyone in the world is not united behind such a war, and that war goes ahead, anyway. On the other hand, there is no reason to believe that we will lose out if a war with Iraq never materializes.
We also need to make the case with the UN that it is not always bad to be a conscientious objector. In this case, "swords into plowshares" and "spears into pruning hooks" is NOT a bad idea. When Americans leaders draw Americans into war, (which so far may be the only nation proposing to go to war with Iraq if hopefully Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain gets on board with those nations and we Americans who are objecting to the war), American leaders will likely draw other nations in with us. I read one comment on a petition that states that people from Australia, for instance, fear being drawn against their will into war with Iraq. That is the reason why we need to voice and establish our combined International rights with the UN to be conscientious objectors, where we cannot be forced to fight in a war that we do NOT feel is legitimate. Thus the UN would have authority over our government and governments of other nations so that those who do not want to spend their lives going to war will not have to do so. Also, this is a greater world problem. The Bush administration is only playing the devil's advocate and is only whistling in the dark if it thinks the United States can be the only nation going to war on the offensive against another nation without the ire of the entire greater global community. Our reputation of being a beacon of safety, hope, and freedom will go south, down the tube, faster than the speed of light. We will no longer be the great, impeccable, nation we once were.
While a national leader going to bat for missing children is, in-and-of-itself, a noble and worthy goal, we also need to prevent any and all of our loved ones and friends from coming up missing in any way (there are always those missing in action in combat situations). We need to provide those children (that Bush says he is so concerned about) who we hope will never be lost or kidnapped with fathers and mothers in their growing up year. We have only to look to 9-11 to see how many fathers and other loved ones never came home. And for the younger set, how many young women would really like for their boyfriends and husbands never to come home from a war that in all probability can never be won? How many young men really want to go to war when they have found a young woman they want to marry? While it is well to protect our children from disappearing and to have a program in place that will help prevent it, what good will that do, in the long run, if we raise those children only to send them off to war? Especially a war that does not need to be fought because there is no provocation?
We need to find a way to band together and for every voice to be heard, in and outside of America. Otherwise there is just too much at stake and just too much to lose.
Please read my letter to Senator John Kerry on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee below (and take the time to contact a member of Congress on that committee also):
Senator John Kerry
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Kerry:
I do not feel that the Bush administration has the right to declare or wage war with Iraq without full debate and consideration of the options and with a united government and the specific statutory authorization of Congress and a declaration of war with the permission of the entire body of Congress. It is my understanding that before a war is declared, it must be with the permission of a united Congress. It should not be a matter of arm twisting which intimidates members of Congress to agree to a war, but it should be a matter of conscience with each member of Congress. To go over the heads of Congress without consideration of all the options and time to consider them carefully and without the specific statutory authorization of Congress and a united congressional declaration of war, it is highly presumptuous, high-handed, and ludicrous to the extreme to go ahead and wage war.
And then, also, as the question whether or not to wage war with Iraq is debated, the feeling and needs of all the American people should be considered, domestic as well as world conditions should be considered, the national economy should be considered, UN officials should be consulted, the International community should be considered which means how diplomatic relations between the United States and other nations would be affected, also environmental and human rights issues should be considered.
My line of work concerns environmental issues. If an environmental issue is at stake or a proposal for management of public lands or of wildlife, for instance, we must have an adequate Environmental Impact statement (or should have, anyway) before a final decision can be made. There are usually several alternatives to be explored from the sublime to the ridiculous and in between. There is often a no action alternative, which can mean [one of] two things: it is safer not to take any action at the present time, or else, in some cases taking no action at all only makes the problem worse -- for instance taking no action to stop the hunting of grizzly bears might result in the bear's extinction.
But in the war with Iraq, human lives are at stake -- both those of United States citizens and innocent Iraqi men, women, and children. Also war with Iraq has the possibility of escalating into a much bigger war -- possibly even World War III and that situation could mean a war-torn world and possibly a catastrophically devastated world for years, decades, even generations to come. Or much worse.
There are many Americans who do not want to sacrifice their sons, grandsons, nephews and possibly nieces, friends and loved ones for such a war with Iraq. That is what makes highhandedness from the Executive Branch of our government unthinkable.
We do not HAVE to go to war just to contain Saddam. I admit, Saddam should be contained. We had a good chance to do it in the fist Bush administration, but failed to do it. I believe the time for war with Iraq is past; certainly no such war should be declared and waged without months, even years of careful debate and deliberation.
It will cost thousands of American soldiers' lives -- lives that would be more useful in other ways than wasting them in a war that probably cannot be won the way the Bush administration wants to pursue it.
It will kill many innocent Iraqi citizens and destroy vital and crucial infrastructure.
It will alienate America's closest allies.
It will commit too much of America's time while Iraq rebuilds.
It will cost the public tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and possibly plunge the nation into a major depression.
It will cover up what is already a possible police state in America. We should have learned our lesson from the time of World War II.
There is no concrete evidence that Iraq possess weapons of mass destruction. This must first be thoroughly investigated.
How long would troops be committed to be in Iraq? What is the objective of the war? Is it to get Sadism and contain him or take him out or is there some other objective such as BIG OIL? What's the plan to get out of Iraq and to end the war?
Does the State Department and Secretary Colin Powell support the war? What about all of the top military brass?
Why don't our allies support the war? Like I say, all of their feelings must be considered?
If we attack, will Iraq find new allies in the region? Who would they be?
How many Americans will die in such a war? How many Iraqis?
How much money will such a war cost?
Why is America now proposing to attack without explicit provocation and why should America go on the offensive? Why cannot we leave well enough alone (a no action alternative for now)?
President Bush is seen by other countries as pursuing a strange vendetta. Is the Bush administration pulling our country into a family grudge match?
Please pass this on to other members of the Foreign Relations Committee. I, for one, do NOT want this war. I have five wonderful nephews who could be called to fight and to spill their blood and for what? I also have a brother who is a doctor who could be called? I have a lot of wonderful friends around the country.
I think that 250,000 troops is extremely extravagant to begin with. What is more -- I don't think that [even] ONE person should be sent over there to die. There are other alternatives to war. Right now, we need to spend our tax dollars to improve things in this country, not fight a war that there may be no reason to fight.