Why be concerned about this war?
1. Reliable estimates are that from 10 thousand
to 4 million people could die from a new war with Iraq. 70% of
the 25 million Iraqi people are dependent upon the Iraqi government
for their monthly food allotment. War will disrupt this food distribution
system with unknown, potentially very deadly, consequences. (See
the following web address for one article on this www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_191.shtml)
2. Modern wars, including the Gulf War
of 1991, typically destroy some or most of the civilian infrastructure
of the country in which the war takes place. This leads to the
death of many non-combatants, especially young children and the
elderly. The destruction of civilian infrastructure is an international
war crime according to the Geneva Conventions, and the country
that commits them (as the U.S. did in the Gulf War) undermines
it’s own ethical and moral fiber, such that the winner becomes
a loser as well. Two legal organizations have served both the
Bush and Blair administrations with a document stating that they
will be prosecuted for war crimes if they harm civilians or civilian
infrastructure in another attack on Iraq (to see this document
go to www.ccr-ny.org,
click on “Reports”).
3. The weapons inspectors themselves say
that at least 95% of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction
have been destroyed (www.fair.org/press-releases/kamel.html).
Iraqi society has been devastated by the Gulf War and 13 years
of sanctions, and the Iraqi military is a mere shadow of the force
that it was prior to the Gulf War. We would be making war on a
nation of paupers. The threatened hostilities are considered by
many to be more of a slaughter than a war, and the only driving
force that can be deduced is that the United States feels compelled
to take control of the flow of Iraqi oil.
4. It is estimated that a new war with Iraq
could cost as much as $200 billion dollars, and that rebuilding
Iraq would cost another $200 billion dollars. It will take almost
all of the discretionary funds out of the U.S. treasury, draining
resources from the great pressing needs of our time (poverty,
adequate fresh water, education, renewable energy development,
population stabilization), and it will disrupt the global economy.
5. Another war will spread more depleted
uranium (DU) across Iraqi and across the globe. Major Doug Rokke,
a U.S. army physicist who describes himself as a “patriot
to the right of Rush Limbaugh,” calls the use of depleted
uranium “a crime against God and a crime against humanity.”
DU is radioactive, mutagenic and carcinogenic (http://commondreams.org/headlines02/1112-01.htm).
6. The Iraqi people have suffered enough.
The effect of 13 years of sanctions on Iraqi society has been
profound. Two UN humanitarian aid directors, Denis Halliday and
Hans von Sponek, have quite their jobs in the past six years,
both calling the impact of the sanctions on the Iraqi people “genocide.”
What can I do about this war?
1. Make your opposition to it known on a
daily basis. This will add your voice to those of more than 20
million people around the world who are taking action to prevent
A. Contact your two senators and one congressperson
on a regular basis and give them a piece of your mind.
B. Join or start a weekly
vigil against the war in your community.
C. Join or start a local organization
that educating themselves and the public about issues of peace
and justice in today’s world.
2. Consider doing civil disobedience (CD)
or support someone planning to do CD. If international war crimes
are being committed then disobedience is the appropriate response
of ethical people. Consider reallocating your tax dollars to life-enhancing
endeavors (more about this below).
3. Educate yourself and others on the current
situation and the background of the current politics. There is
a wealth of material available on the web. Consider joining or
starting a community listserve to share information about war
A Few websites for information on Iraq:
(Voices in the Wilderness, Chicago)
(Puget Sound Coalition of 90+ organizations)
Why be concerned about war in general?
1. Human society is at a pivotal time in
its history. We are beginning to experience the limits of critical
resources, including conventional petroleum and fresh water. While
the great pressing issues of our time are ignored, the bulk of
the world’s discretionary resources are going into military
expenditures and war (see www.cdi.org/budget/2004/world-military-spending.cfm).
War can not resolve the real needs of our time, but rather it
can only waste precious resources, deepen the wounds of the human
psyche, and compound the wounds to the biosphere. (Go to www.dieoff.org
for a vast array of material on this subject—be sure to
scroll down to the article archive)
2. The weapons of war are increasingly
deadly and toxic. Many countries are developing weapons of mass
destruction, with the United States leading the way (see www.fas.org/irp/threat/wmd_state.htm
for a global list, and http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/index.html
for a listing of U.S. chemical and biological weapons. Radioactive
depleted uranium has now been used in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan,
Kosovo, Serbia and Bosnia, with test sites in California, Nevada,
California, Indiana, Maryland, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, and off
the coast of Washington (See graphic at bottom of article at http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/iraq2002/95178_du12.shtml).
Uranium has a half-life of 4.5 billion years.
3. War creates physical wounds that last
for a lifetime, and psychological wounds that can last for generations.
58,000 Americans died in combat in Vietnam; 70,000 Vietnam veterans
have committed suicide since the end of that war. In Vietnam itself
2 million Vietnamese died and 1/3 of the entire country was bombed
or sprayed with toxic chemicals (napalm and herbicides). 600,000
American soldiers served in the Gulf War, 200,000 of them are
sick with Gulf War syndrome; that’s a 1 in 3 rate of disability.
These are nightmares we can no longer afford.
What can I do about war in general?
1. Stop paying for it. This might sound
radical, but this is the most direct route to a more peaceful
and equitable world. We have all been conditioned to believe that
it is our duty to stuff money in an envelope every April 15 and
send it to a group of men who will probably soon be considered
international war criminals, to use as they see fit. A considerable
portion of this money is used to build ever more deadly weaponry,
to wage wars, and to spread long-lived toxic wastes in the local
and global environment. The only reason anyone would fund the
destruction of human society and the biosphere is fear. Do you
want to live a life ruled by fear, or by love and courage? The
more ethical act is to allocate the tax portion of your income
to the human and planetary services that you deem to be most needed
and effective. (See National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
at www.nwtrcc.org, and War Resisters League at www.warresisters.org
for advice on reallocating your taxes).
2. Spend time with one of the groups working
for peace in the world’s great trouble spots, among which
I would count Iraq, Palestine/Israel, and Columbia. For example,
in the Wilderness, Iraq
Peace Team, Witness
for Peace and Christian
3. Become aware of the process of psychological
projection, in which people look for in others elements of themselves
that they dislike. Observe the connection between the process
of personal projection, and the very similar process of projection
that societies engage in. Take responsibility for your own life,
your own pain, and your own search for and experience of joy and
meaning. (See Sam Keen’s Faces of the Enemy, and his preface
to Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death for more on projection).
"I am convinced that if we are to get
on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must
undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin
the shift from a 'thing oriented' society to a 'person oriented'
society...These are the times for real choices and not false ones.
We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line
if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane
convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions,
but we must all protest." Martin Luther King, 1967
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