From: Mary Beaty <elibrarian@...
Organization: American Humanist Association <www.humanist.net>
X-List: [cccun] <firstname.lastname@example.org
An Alternative To War
By Jimmy Carter
31 Jan 2003: For Immediate Release
Contact: Deanna Congileo - 404-420-5108
Despite marshalling powerful armed forces in the Persian Gulf
region and a virtual declaration of war in the State of the Union
message, our government has not made a case for a preemptive
military strike against Iraq, either at home or in Europe.
Recent vituperative attacks on U.S. policy by famous and
respected men like Nelson Mandela and John Le Carré, although
excessive, are echoed in a Web site poll conducted by the
European edition of TIME magazine.
The question was "Which country poses the greatest danger to
world peace in 2003?" With several hundred thousand votes cast,
the responses were:
North Korea, 7 percent; Iraq, 8 percent; the United States,
This is a gross distortion of our nation's character, and America
is not inclined to let foreign voices answer the preeminent
question that President Bush is presenting to the world, but it
is sobering to realize how much doubt and consternation has been
raised about our motives for war in the absence of convincing
proof of a genuine threat from Iraq.
The world will be awaiting Wednesday's presentation of specific
evidence by Secretary of State Colin Powell concerning Iraq's
possession of weapons of mass destruction. As an acknowledged
voice of moderation, his message will carry enormous weight in
shaping public opinion. But even if his effort is successful and
lies and trickery by Saddam Hussein are exposed, this will not
indicate any real or proximate threat by Iraq to the United
States or to our allies.
With overwhelming military strength now deployed against him and
with intense monitoring from space surveillance and the U.N.
inspection team on the ground, any belligerent move by Saddam
against a neighbor would be suicidal. An effort to produce or
deploy chemical or biological weapons or to make the slightest
move toward a nuclear explosive would be inconceivable. If Iraq
does possess such concealed weapons, as is quite likely, Saddam
would use them only in the most extreme circumstances, in the
face of an invasion of Iraq, when all hope of avoiding the
destruction of his regime is lost.
In Washington, there is no longer any mention of Osama bin Laden,
and the concentration of public statements on his international
terrorist network is mostly limited to still-unproven allegations
about its connection with Iraq. The worldwide commitment and top
priority of fighting terrorism that was generated after September
11th has been attenuated as Iraq has become the preeminent
obsession of political leaders and the general public.
In addition to the need to re-invigorate the global team effort
against international terrorism, there are other major problems
being held in abeyance as our nation's foreign policy is
concentrated on proving its case for a planned attack on Iraq. We
have just postponed again the promulgation of the long-awaited
"road map" that the U.S. and other international leaders have
drafted for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is a
festering cancer and the root cause of much of the anti-American
sentiment that has evolved throughout the world. At the same
time, satellite observations of North Korea have indicated that
nuclear fuel rods, frozen under international surveillance since
1994, are now being moved from the Yongbyon site to an
undisclosed destination, possibly for reprocessing into
explosives. It is imperative that this threat to Asian stability
be met with aggressive diplomacy.
Since it is obvious that Saddam Hussein has the capability and
desire to build an arsenal of prohibited weapons and probably has
some of them hidden within his country, what can be done to
prevent the development of a real Iraqi threat? The most obvious
answer is a sustained and enlarged inspection team, deployed as a
permanent entity until the United States and other members of the
U.N. Security Council determine that its presence is no longer
needed. For almost eight years following the Gulf War until it
was withdrawn four years ago, UNSCOM proved to be very effective
in locating and destroying Iraq's formidable arsenal, including
more than 900 missiles and biological and chemical weapons left
over from their previous war with Iran.
Even if Iraq should come into full compliance now, such follow-up
monitoring will be necessary. The cost of an on-site inspection
team would be minuscule compared to war, Saddam would have no
choice except to comply, the results would be certain, military
and civilian casualties would be avoided, there would be almost
unanimous worldwide support, and the United States could regain
its leadership in combating the real threat of international
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is chair of The Carter Center
in Atlanta, Ga., a not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization
that advances peace and health worldwide.
Mary Beaty UN NGO AHA elibrarian@...
"War is capitalism with the gloves off" - Tom Stoppard,
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