Wednesday October 16, 2002
AN "OPEN LETTER"
FROM THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY OPPOSING
U.S. INVASION OF IRAQ
FRESNO STATE -- An
Open Letter written by faculty members at the University of
Minnesota has spread all over the nation this week. Thousands
have signed their names in support of its content.
If you have not seen the petition,
here is some of its content. Read it carefully: "We the
undersigned members of the academic community are opposed to
an invasion of Iraq by the United States.
The decision to start a war is perhaps
the most significant decision the leaders of a democracy can
make. It requires ordering fellow citizens to kill and be killed
in the name of the entire nation, in our names and in yours.
For this decision to be just and legitimate, the reasons offered
for war must be principled and arrived at through public debate.
To date, the justifications offered
by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Rice, their subordinates,
or an array of commentators in the media do not justify a U.S.
invasion of Iraq.
We oppose a U.S. invasion of Iraq .
Invasion to replace the Hussein regime is not in the best interests
of the United States, the region, or the world. An invasion
of Iraq and destruction of the Hussein regime may lead to prolonged
instability in Iraq; destabilization of the wider Middle East
including the possibility of a prolonged and heightened conflict
between Israel and the Palestinians; increased popular appeal
of radical Islamic movements and increased anti-Americanism
worldwide; and increased terrorism in the U.S. and abroad.
Invading Iraq therefore will probably
make both the region and the world less secure, not more secure.
Key U.S. allies do not support an invasion of Iraq. Many governments
allied with the U.S. are urging restraint, demanding more evidence
of an Iraqi threat, or opposing a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Governmental
and popular support in Great Britain, the most stalwart U.S.
ally, is weak at best. Any military action against Iraq should
have the moral force of international consensus behind it.
The U.S. Government is not unified
in support of invasion. Some senior elected officials, including
members of President Bush's own Republican Party such as Rep.
Dick Armey (TX) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE), do not support a
U.S. invasion of Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell, a retired
four star General with 35 years of military service who was
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War, is
known to oppose a U.S. invasion without broad international
Major media outlets have been reporting
for several months on widespread opposition to an invasion of
Iraq among senior officers in the Pentagon, including several
or all of the Chiefs of Staff. The decision to go to war should
have the clear support of the U.S. Congress, the Secretary of
State, and the commanding officers of the armed forces.
The Iraqi threat is not credible. The
opposition to an invasion among senior U.S. government and military
leaders as well as most U.S. allies in the Middle East suggests
that the Iraqi threat is not credible. The Bush Administration
has presented no credible evidence of Iraqi progress toward
making nuclear weapons.
If they have such evidence, they should
have presented it by now in the face of mounting international
and domestic opposition to an invasion of Iraq. An invasion
of Iraq would be illegal under the Charter of the United Nations,
to which the U.S. is a signatory. According to the Charter,
only the Security Council has legal authority to start wars,
with the single exception of national self-defense against armed
If the U.S. is indeed a land of laws,
then our government should adhere to the basic principles of
the Charter, which are intended to govern the relationships
between nations for the collective security of all people.
For these reasons, we oppose a U.S.
invasion of Iraq and urge others to do so also. Although we
recognize the Hussein regime is reprehensible, the war being
planned will not decrease and MAY increase the suffering of
the Iraqi people for many years to come.
The likelihood of a high cost in lives
of both combatants and non-combatants is too great given the
weak justifications that have been offered for an invasion and
the limited considerations for post-war Iraq.
If pursued, war should be the last
resort, undertaken collectively by a U.N. sponsored international
coalition only after renewal of weapons inspections and diplomacy
have utterly failed to bring Iraq into compliance with Security
Note: Click Here
for a link to related sites. The circulators of the above
petition told Bulldog Newspaper reporters they hope to spark
interest in informed discussion on and off campus and to provide
support for those who are also opposed to an imminent U.S. invasion
of Iraq on moral, ethical, and humanitarian grounds.]