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War and Terror: The hypocrisy of attacking Iraq: A letter to Representative Stephen Lynch|
Posted on Sunday, October 20 @ 12:03:42 UTC
Topic: Stop Bush
By Doreen Miller, YellowTimes.org|
Recently I contacted Massachusetts Representative Stephen Lynch to discourage him from supporting President Bush's Congressional request for the authority to forcefully remove Saddam Hussein from power. Below is Representative Lynch's response. Not being satisfied with his justification of supporting President Bush, I replied to his letter with one of my own. My letter can be found under Representative Lynch's letter below.
October 11, 2002
Dear Ms. Miller:
Thank you for contacting my office to share your views on the President's request for authority to use force to disarm Saddam Hussein should he determine it necessary to protect our national security. Please know that I appreciate hearing your views on this extremely important matter.
As you may know, the House of Representatives just concluded three days of open and thoughtful debate on the resolution H.J. Res. 114, which would grant the President's request. On Thursday, October 10, the House approved this resolution in a bipartisan vote of 296 to 133. In its final form, this resolution urges the President to exhaust all diplomatic efforts to disarm Hussein and to work closely with the United Nations, but provides the authority for him to use our armed forces should these efforts fail.
I want you to know that this question weighed very heavily on me, and it is the most difficult decision I have had to make during my eleven months in Congress.
After attending numerous briefings at the White House and with defense officials, as well as independent briefings with foreign policy experts such as the former chief U.N. weapons inspector during the Clinton administration, I have come to the conclusion that the danger to the American people as a result of a failure to act against Saddam Hussein is simply too great.
In reaching my decision to support the authorizing resolution, I have focused on the undisputed facts. Saddam Hussein has developed and deployed chemical and biological weapons. Despite Saddam Hussein's denials, we know that he has actively sought to develop a nuclear weapon since the early 1970s, a pursuit that he accelerated during the Gulf War. He has murdered thousands of his own citizens with chemical weapons.
We also know that Saddam Hussein has already given aid and support to terrorist organizations and indeed has engaged in terrorist actions himself, such as ordering an assassination attempt against former President George Bush in 1993. He has committed environmental terrorism by setting fire to Kuwaiti oil fields and dumping raw crude oil into the ocean during the Gulf War. More recently he has authorized payments to the families of suicide bombers who would take the lives of innocent civilians. He has given shelter to terrorists within his own country.
As one who shares the responsibility to protect Americans at home and abroad, I cannot and will not stake tens of thousands of American lives or our long-term national security on a hope that Saddam Hussein will reverse 25 years of deceit and aggression. The consequences of a failure to act in this instance may be felt here, in our cities and towns, by our own civilian population. That is the nature of the threat that we face. Unless this man is disarmed, until we know that he no longer has and will not ever develop these devastating weapons, we will not be safe and international peace will continue to be threatened.
We are working with the international community through the United Nations to build a consensus on a course of action that will force Hussein to comply with U.N. mandates. This process is important, and I believe we must continue to try to work with the United Nations. Saddam Hussein is not just a threat to America, he is a threat to world peace.
I understand that there are those who have come to a different conclusion. But because I believe that the security of our nation is at stake, I feel in my heart that it is in the best interests of our country to give the President this authority to address this threat.
Again, I do appreciate your willingness to get involved and I welcome your input.
Stephen F. Lynch
Member of Congress
Below is my response to Representative Lynch's letter:
October 13, 2002
Dear Representative Lynch:
While I appreciate your attempt to justify your decision to abdicate your constitutional duty in determining war matters and the use of our military forces by handing over that decision to one man, the president, I feel compelled to respond to your feeble excuses and blatant disregard for one of the most crucial responsibilities of Congress outlined in the Constitution. Your reckless action has taken this country one step further away from being a government "of, for and by the people" and has pushed us several dangerous steps closer to a dictatorship where the use of our very powerful military is to be determined by the whims and questionable aspirations of one man.
Granted, we both agree that Saddam is a tyrant, but you fail to see or even acknowledge the role our very own government has played in creating this monster. In outlining "the undisputed facts," you consistently paint only half a picture. "Saddam Hussein has developed and deployed chemical and biological weapons." It should be added here that the USA (up until 1991) was eagerly supplying Saddam with the chemicals and biological agents needed to manufacture these weapons so that he could use them against our then mortal enemy Iran.
"[Saddam] has actively sought to develop nuclear weapons since the early 1970s..." Yes, and so have countless other regimes, most notably Pakistan whom we have recently befriended out of convenience for our own geopolitical gains. Also remember, the USA has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, is the only country to have actually used them against civilian populations, and has recently threatened to use them in first, pre-emptive strikes if necessary. Just how horrifying is that?
"He has murdered thousands of his own citizens with chemical weapons." This is a despicable fact, indeed; however, surely it is but a clever ploy on your part to completely overlook the U.S. role in this as well. We provided Saddam with the weapons. We looked the other way when it happened, initially attempting to blame this atrocity on Iran. We even "rewarded" Saddam's actions by increasing our logistical military and financial support. Our part in enabling this demon means that we, too, must share the guilt in the deaths of the Kurds. At the end of the Gulf War, the Shiites in southern Iraq were brutally slaughtered as the U.S. ignored their pleas for protection and passively looked on, not wanting to "get involved" or to pursue Saddam any deeper into Iraq. We could very easily have justified defending the Shiites against this man, yet we chose not to. Their blood was spilled because of our self-serving negligence.
As for Saddam giving aid, support, and shelter to terrorist organizations, before the USA points the accusatory finger elsewhere, it needs to clean up its own act first, by disbanding the many anti-Cuban, Florida-based terrorist organizations that have been launching terrorist campaigns against Cuba since 1961. The accusatory finger of guilt points both ways.
Saddam may have ordered an assassination attempt against President Bush I in 1993, yet just recently I recall President Bush II calling for Saddam's assassination. In fact, the USA has a long, bloody history of CIA-led assassinations of democratically elected leaders, who were targeted because they were regarded as "USA unfriendly," in various countries around the world. In spite of assuming the moral high ground, we are really not much better than any other power-hungry nation, as a careful study of our history will reveal.
Mr. Lynch, please, spare me the "environmental terrorism" line. The USA has been waging a much more subtle and devastating terrorism against the earth for decades, in our use of man-made chemicals that poison our food, soil, water, and air; in the newly unleashed biological pollution through genetically manipulated crops which we are attempting to force upon the rest of the world; in the raping of unique ecosystems through mountaintop removal, strip mining, deforestation, drilling for oil in ecologically vulnerable areas; and the list goes on. We produce the most pollution of any nation on this planet, yet we consistently and defiantly refuse to work together with other nations to curb our dirty, destructive ways.
I am deeply concerned about your ability to represent the will of the people, especially since the bulk of calls going into Washington about this resolution were running overwhelmingly against war with Iraq. Were you not elected to represent the will of the people? Isn't that what our founding fathers would have expected of you?
I am equally concerned that you should be so easily swayed by such cheap, political trickery as the use of half-truths and over-exaggeration. Just because the president or his carefully selected (and prompted) "experts" say so, does not make something true. Have you not seen or even read the newly released intelligence reports out of Washington that debunk all the posits, suspicions and presumptions Mr. Bush and his administration are touting as "indisputable facts" about Iraq? Or, do you simply not care?
Do you not care that possibly thousands of American and Iraqi citizens will be sacrificed in Bush's sure-to-be-disastrous attempt to oust one man? Is that not the ultimate misuse of our military? Is that not the highest form of insanity?
War is a very primitive means of settling disputes and differences. With the level of evolution we as a human species have reached, you'd think we would have moved beyond state-sanctioned killing and murder. Unfortunately, your decision has proven to me once again that those in positions of power seem to be the most primitive of all.
Most sincerely yours,
[Doreen Miller lived, studied, worked and traveled abroad for several years, and is currently a Senior Lecturer and educator of international students. She dedicates part of her time to serving the elderly and Alzheimer patients. Mother, musician and poet, she pursues an avid interest in Buddhist and Eastern philosophy. She advocates human rights, social justice, fair trade, and environmental protection. Doreen lives in the United States.]
|Average Score: 5|