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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We gather together nonviolently to oppose a war on Iraq"

www.ufppc.org

Statement on George W. Bush's News Conference of March 6

March 6, 2003

One month ago, on Feb. 6, United for Peace of Pierce County deplored statements from US government officials saying that the Iraq crisis must be resolved within a matter of weeks, and called on our leaders to work to maintain the unity of the international community on the matter of Iraq.

Unfortunately, our leaders have done the opposite. US troops have continued to pour into the region. On Mar. 4, the United States "ordered an additional 60,000 troops to the Gulf, including all 17,000 soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division . . . . The deployments bring the total number of allied forces either in or heading towards the region to more than 275,000." (www.dailytelegraph.co.uk) Tonight the president said: "We're days away from resolving this issue at the Security Council."

Late last month, John Brady Kiesling, a career diplomat in the US State Department for more than twenty years, resigned from the Foreign Service of the United States, saying that he could no longer serve with the belief that by upholding the policies of the present administration he was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. He wrote: "The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values and also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense . . . . Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security. . . . [W]e have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam ... [T]his Administration has chosen to make terrorism a domestic political tool, enlisting a scattered and largely defeated Al Qaeda as its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government."

The president used his press conference this evening to do exactly this. He spoke of "two fronts on our war against terror." He repeated the word "terror" and "terrorist" no fewer than twenty-five times.

While claiming that his actions are aimed to give meaning to the words of the UN Security Council and Resolution 1441, he ignores the fact that the Security Council has not empowered him to do so. Resolution 1441, passed on Nov. 7, 2002, declares that the Council "decides to remain seized of the matter," and "directs" not the President of the United States but "the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director-General of the IAEA to report immediately to the Council any interference by Iraq with inspection activities, as well as any failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations." The Security Council also decided "to convene immediately upon receipt of [such a] report ... in order to consider the situation."

THEREFORE WE URGE THE PRESIDENT to respect the will of the UN Security Council and the text of Resolution 1441, and to leave to the UN inspectors and the Security Council the judgment of Iraq's compliance with the Resolution. We consider any other action on his part to be an act of defiance both of US obligations and the clear will of the international community, including the will of the people of the United States.

WE ALSO URGE THE PRESIDENT to recall that his most solemn duty is "to the best of [his] ability to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States," as he swore to do at noon on January 20, 2001.

AND WE CALL ONCE AGAIN ON OUR LEADERS to work to maintain the unity of the international community on the matter of Iraq.

UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We gather together nonviolently to oppose a war on Iraq"

www.ufppc.org