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`Let us not become the evil we deplore’

Dear Editor,

As I look at the front page of the Rocky Mountain News I see a picture of Colorado Special Forces troops leaving their families headed for the Middle East. Under the picture is the line, “Cheney warns of devastating consequences if U.S. doesn’t remove Saddam from power in Iraq.” I have a number of concerns and questions I would like to share with other concerned citizens.

It’s my understanding that former Marine and UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter (also a Republican) argues that Iraq’s major weapons have been successfully eradicated and that Bush’s insistence on a war at this time is a product of domestic politics. He says, “The national security of the United States of America has been hijacked by a handful of neo-conservatives who are using their position of authority to pursue their own ideologically-driven political ambitions. The day we go to war for that reason is the day we have failed collectively as a nation.” Having spent seven years in Iraq, Mr. Ritter would seem to be a very credible witness.

When Rumsfeld met with NATO officials recently he offered little meaningful data to support a conflict, reportedly saying, “The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.” Scott Ritter appeared before NATO several days after this. After Ritter’s presentation, 16 of 19 NATO nations present wrote letters of complaint to the American government about Rumsfeld’s comments, and about our basis for war.

Remember when the rationale was that we had to bomb Saddam because he was thought to have been responsible for the anthrax mailings? That turned out to be false, and we hear very little about anthrax since then. The next reason we were given in support of getting rid of Saddam was that he was training and supporting the al Qaeda terror network. When no evidence for that was found, it was his refusal to allow inspections. When USA Today reported that a letter had been received from a top Iraqi official saying that weapons experts could visit any site in Iraq, state department undersecretary John Bolton responded, “While we also insist on the reintroduction of the weapons inspectors, our policy at the same time insists on regime change in Baghdad – and that policy will not be altered, whether inspectors go in or not.” Isn’t it becoming obvious that this administration is committed to bombing and no possible peaceful solution will do?

How are we to believe that an attack would lessen the possibility of future terrorist attacks on the U.S.? Supposedly there are terrorist cells in over 60 countries. Do we plan to bomb them all? How effective has violence been for the Israelis in ending terrorism? Given the known evil of Saddam, how do you explain that the entire world is opposed to this action? This is clearly in violation of international law. How did we become above international law?

Does it bother you that people talk about getting rid of Saddam as if he were the only one who is living there? In addition to American casualties, how many innocent Iraqi lives would be lost?

Remember the report last September that by United Nations figures as many as 7.5 million Afghans would be in threat of starvation and that food deliveries would be difficult if bombing began? Indian activist Arudhati Roy, referring to Operation Infinite Justice, as the war was being called at that time, wrote: “Witness the infinite justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death while they’re waiting to be killed.”

Do you also find it troubling that UNOCAL was negotiating with the Taliban, with full support from the Administration, for the rights to build a pipeline across Afghanistan until August of last year? If, as the president says, this is about good against evil, how can we justify entering into a business deal that would have empowered the Taliban? Do the facts that the new Afghan leader Hamid Karzai used to work for UNOCAL and that the pipeline is already approved make you wonder if this was isn’t really about oil, power and empire building?

If the 9-11 terrorists succeeded in nothing else, they made the American people afraid, and it seems to me that Bush and company are using this fear and our lack of reliable information to push through a self-serving war which is a much greater threat to us and the rest of the world than one can imagine.

Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich said, “These critical political decisions … are occurring without public hearings, without public votes. The president is taking Congress’ approval of responding to the September 11 terrorists as a license to flirt with nuclear war.”

Last year during the memorial service following the 9-11 bombings, a member of the clergy said, “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.” It may be that our only hope for averting this disaster lies in the hands of Congress. Please call, write or e-mail your congressman and ask him to stop this insanity. Scott McInnis: 202-225-4761; Ben Nighthorse Campbell: 202-224-5852, 719-636-9092 and Wayne Allard, 202-224-5941, 719-634-6071.

Sincerely,

Jim Chenoweth

Glenwood Springs


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