FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Alternatives to War

by REP. BARBARA LEE

Our nation is today on the verge of going to war against Iraq. In a rush to launch a first strike, we risk destabilizing the Middle East and setting an international precedent that could come back to haunt us all. President Bush’s doctrine of pre-emption violates international law, the charter of the United Nations and our own long-term security interests. It forecloses alternatives to war before we have even tried to pursue them.

The president has submitted a resolution to Congress seeking a proverbial blank check to wage war against Iraq using “all means.” Just two weeks ago, he went to the United Nations and called on that organization to prove its relevancy by ensuring Iraq’s disarmament. But he has undermined the United Nation’s chances to succeed, first by issuing it an ultimatum and now by asking Congress for a use-of-force resolution that distorts the language of the U.N. charter, supports a pre-emptive strike by the United States and ignores the grave security risks posed by such an approach.

The president has told us that we must attack Iraq because our nation is in imminent danger from Saddam Hussein. We have received no proof of immediate danger, and scant evidence that Iraq has the means or intent to use weapons of mass destruction against us. We have not been told why the danger is greater today than it was a year or two ago or why we must rush to war rather than pursuing other options. We have not given the United Nations time to try to reach diplomatic solutions.

We do know that virtually all of our allies are strongly opposed to a first strike by the United States. Statesmen such as Kofi Annan and Nelson Mandela have beseeched us to turn away from this disastrous course. The majority of the world is opposed to forced regime change.

We all agree that the world would be better off without Hussein in power, but we would be better off still if we eliminate weapons of mass destruction from the entire world.

President Bush has asked Congress to provide him with “all means that he determines to be appropriate including force” to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions against Iraq. This resolution is based on the false assumption that we have no other options; it also falls short of a fundamental constitutional standard — an actual declaration of war. Furthermore, the resolution is misleading: While it includes language from the U.N. charter acknowledging the right to national self-defense, it deliberately omits the charter’s next crucial words: “if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations.”

The desire to rush to war glides over the tremendous costs and risks involved, including the dangers for American servicemen and women and for Iraqi civilians, as well as the potential destabilization of the Middle East. War would likely derail any chance at a Palestinian-Israeli agreement, while trampling international law and U.N. principles and setting a terrible international precedent. It would also sidetrack efforts to prevent terrorism. Moreover, it would divert some $200 billion from our own profound domestic needs, including health care, prescription drugs, education and homeland security.

This is a price we do not have to pay. There are viable and more effective alternatives. For these reasons, I have introduced House Concurrent Resolution 473, which urges the United States to re-engage the diplomatic process and stresses our government’s commitment to the U.N. inspections process. Containment and inspections have worked and can work in the future.

President Bush called on the United Nations to assume its responsibilities. I call on the United States to assume ours by working with the United Nations to ensure that Iraq is not developing weapons of mass destruction by utilizing mechanisms such as the resumption of arms inspections, negotiation, regional cooperation and other diplomatic means.

Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, has represented the East Bay in Congress since 1998. She has voted against using force in international conflicts, at least twice as a lone dissenter — in last year’s anti-terrorist authorization and in 1999, when the House approved the bombing of Serbia.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 28, 2017
Diana Johnstone
Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself
Jordon Kraemer
The Cultural Anxiety of the White Middle Class
Vijay Prashad
Modi and Trump: When the Titans of Hate Politics Meet
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Efforts to Hide Palestinians From View No Longer Fools Young American Jews
Ron Jacobs
Gonna’ Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to War
Jim Lobe – Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio
Is Trump Blundering Into the Next Middle East War?
Radical Washtenaw
David Ware, Killed By Police: a Vindication
John W. Whitehead
The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear
Robert Mejia, Kay Beckermann and Curtis Sullivan
The Racial Politics of the Left’s Political Nostalgia
Tom H. Hastings
Courting Each Other
Winslow Myers
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind”
Leonard Peltier
The Struggle is Never for Nothing
Jonathan Latham
Illegal GE Bacteria Detected in an Animal Feed Supplement
Deborah James
State of Play in the WTO: Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina
Binoy Kampmark
The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition
Jesse Jackson
A Savage Health Care Bill
Jimmy Centeno
Cats and Meows in L.A
June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail