"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."


Statement on US policy in Iraq

August 21, 2003

UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY came into existence nine months ago to oppose the war in Iraq.

UFPPC has argued from the beginning that the policy of the administration of President George W. Bush toward Iraq is a tragic and catastrophic mistake. From the beginning of the invasion till now, it has cost thousands of lives, including to date the lives of 268 Americans. Among those killed: a 19-year-old from Tacoma who died in Baghdad on August 7. It is time to recognize that while to some degree a military success, the war has been a political, social, ecological, and human disaster.

This war is the expression of values and attitudes that are not those of the American people and that cannot be the basis of a sound national policy. It is also an appalling betrayal of the trust, commitment, and sacrifice of the people in our armed forces. To the degree that the war has achieved public support, this has been due to a systematic campaign of disinformation and lies designed cynically to manipulate not only our fears but also the very ideals we hold dear as a people. Execution of the administration's policy has tarnished our nation's image in the eyes of world public opinion and has led to an extraordinary repudiation of American leadership in the world. It has led to massive loss of precious human life and an imprudent waste of resources that we can ill afford.

This week's bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad is a terrible and spectacu-lar demonstration that the war in Iraq is not over. No surrender or cessation of hostil-ities ever took place. For what are Americans killing and being killed? Our leaders are so ignorant of the situation into which they are pouring troops and treasure (to the tune of $1 billion a week, for a total of, according to the Congressional Budget Office [see costofwar.com], $69,920,000,000 to date) that they are unable to tell us precisely who "the enemy" is. Indeed, current US policy advocates an open-ended and ill-defined state of permanent war that is diminishing, not enhancing, our security.

The Bush administration's aims have never been frankly and honestly stated, and public opinion is slowly awakening to a realization that its reports are little more than public relations gimmicks. The claims made by the administration lack credibility. There is little point in debating them one by one. There is a need, however, for a Congressional inquiry into them. Under our system of government, the president bears responsibility for them to the American people. If he and other administration officials are guilty of deliberately deceiving Congress and the American people, they should be impeached or otherwise removed from office.

UFPPC believes that the administration's current whatever-it-takes-to-succeed policy in Iraq is foolish and must be abandoned. What is needed is recognition, by this administration or some future administration, of the following points:

1. The Iraq war is an ill-conceived venture that ought not to have taken place.

2. Pre-emptive or preventive war is a destabilizing policy that clashes with fundamental American values, undermines international institutions, and endangers security for the world, for the nation, and for us as individuals. This policy, together with the entire "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America" proclaimed by the White House on September 17, 2002, should be repudiated.

3. After acknowledgement of this mistake by government of the United States, the United Nations should take over stewardship of the situation in Iraq. The nation of Iraq should be placed under an international mandate. The United States should fully cooperate with the United Nations in the administration of this mandate, which should continue until a legitimate government is constituted to represent the will of people in Iraq. The form of this government should be left to Iraqis to determine; the United States lacks the moral and legal authority to dictate to them on these subjects.

4. The Iraq war and other features of our national life suggest that our government has become the captive of groups that do not represent the will or the interests of the American people, democratically expressed. Revitalization of democracy in our nation is essential to the survival of the Republic. We call on the citizens of Pierce County to involve themselves in this movement.

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions

rather than cooperative diplomacy."