2002-11-02 / Letters

Ten Reasons Not To Attack

Ten Reasons Not To Attack

Dear Editor;

We are two of the signers of the "NOT IN OUR NAME" Statement of Conscience (advertisement in The Wave, 10/05) on which Daniel Allen commented  (10/19).

We'd like to respond to two specific points, and then refer to the general question of war with Iraq.  (Other signers agree with the gist of this letter).

First, we are acutely aware and appreciative of the freedoms and civil liberties our country has traditionally guaranteed to its people.  The pledge expresses strong support for them, and its strong opposition to their erosion.

Second, nowhere does the text of the pledge suggest that the signers are more tolerant of terrorism than is Mr. Allen.  The word "terrorism" doesn't even appear in the text, and "terrorist" is there only in the context of arbitrary presidential declaration (not even identification) of people as terrorists.  We firmly believe, with Mr. Allen, that terrorists should be brought to justice.

Finally, the ad is basically a call for resistance to an act of war against Iraq.  There are good reasons for resisting, and 10 are listed in a recent Washington Newsletter (#669, Sept 2002) published by Friends Committee on National Legislation.  They are addressed particularly to "those who hold that some wars may be just".  We quote them here:

1.  The government of Iraq does not pose an imminent threat to the U.S.

2.  A preemptive, unilateral U.S. military strike would undermine efforts to bring to justice those who helped carry out the September 11 attacks and hinder efforts to reduce acts of international terror.

3.  The U.S. and the UN have not exhausted all alternatives to war.

4.  Few in the U.S. or around the world support preemptive, unilateral U.S. military action against Iraq.

5.  A preemptive U.S. attack against Iraq would set a dangerous international precedent.

6.  War in Iraq risks a humanitarian disaster.

7.  There is no guarantee that a different Iraqi regime would be an improvement with respect to democracy, human rights, disarmament, or maintaining peaceful relations with its neighbors.

8.  If the U.S. were to opt for a unilateral attack, it would bear the full costs of war.

9. The United States' record for picking allies and installing democracies in other countries is dismal.
10.  International pressure can effectively deter Saddam Hussein from acts of military aggression.

JOAN FLYNN

EVELYN MAUSS


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