I am alarmed at the pace of the Bush Administration's rush to all-out war against Iraq. The notion that anything short of outright attack is "doing nothing" is absurd. The government of Iraq does not pose an imminent threat to the United States. There are alternative actions to be taken that could avert a military confrontation. We teach our young people to use words and other interpersonal skills to deal with disagreements and anger. Bush needs to apply those skills to all international conflicts. The only ones that gain from a war are the producers of military equipment - bombs, tanks, guns and ammunition, and in this case, the big oil companies. Everybody else suffers. A pre-emptive, unilateral U.S. military strike against Iraq will undermine efforts to bring to justice those who helped carry out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and hinder efforts to reduce acts of international terror. It would be counter to all understanding of the rule of international law. The United States and the U.N. have not exhausted all alternatives to war.
Few in the United States or around the world support preemptive, unilateral U.S. military action against Iraq, and it will set a dangerous precedent which others may follow. War in Iraq risks a humanitarian disaster. A U.S. attack will not only result in many American young men and women losing their lives, but countless innocent Iraqis will be slaughtered.
The cost will be a heavy burden to pay for years to come, and there is no guarantee that the next regime in Iraq will be any better than the current one with respect to democracy, human rights, disarmament, or maintaining peaceful relations with its neighbors. International pressure can effectively deter Saddam Hussein from acts of military aggression. The real challenge to our country is to demonstrate that our power can be used to fulfill peoples' dreams for life and dignity, not to crush them in the scourge of war. There has been too much killing already. If we only spent half the effort to learn alternative ways of solving conflicts that we spend on preparing for war we might have a legacy we could all be proud of. What good will all our power do us if we lose our souls in the process of exercising it?
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