Letter to Congress on Evidence, Casualties, Inspections and the Future of Iraq
United States Senate
Washington DC 20510
Dear Senator Nelson,
I wrote to you two weeks ago with some questions about the Bush administration’s Iraq policy. I have tried to stay abreast of the various hearings on Capitol Hill, and I have been able to get answers to most of my questions, although some of the answers have been startling.
a) No documents. Not one piece of paper to suggest that Iraq has imported any materials since 1998 to reconstitute its WMD programs.
b) No pictures. With all the advances in aerial and satellite imagery, Iraq must surely by now be the most photographed country in history. And what has this produced? Apparently, absolutely nothing!
c) No intercepts. Iraq must also be the most eavesdropped country in history, so why the deafening silence?
I can only come to the astonishing conclusion that Mr. Bush has brought us to the brink of unprecedented aggression against another people on the strength of nothing more than his own rhetoric.
Another deafening silence. Clearly no amount of death, bloodshed and destruction gives pause to the Bush administration, but they must think that releasing the Pentagon’s projected casualty figures would give the rest of us a bit of a shock.
Still silence. As Mr. Ivanov has said all along, inspections can only tell us more about what is really going on in Iraq, and thus serve all of our interests. There is a growing and uncomfortable feeling that the administration has overstated their case to the point that thorough inspections would embarrass them by finding less than they have led us to believe is there.
4) The Future of Iraq.
Some speakers at the hearings have described “post-Saddam Iraq” in glowing terms, while others, such as Madeleine Albright, have pointed out that the administration has no specific plan for Iraq beyond their violent intentions towards Saddam and as many of the Iraqi people as stand in their way. Other speakers have suggested an occupation force of 100,000 would be needed for at least five years, which sounds like the Israeli occupation of the West Bank on a colossal and nightmarish scale.
Mr. Bush has put the U.S. Congress and the American people in a very difficult position by very publicly taking us to the brink of war and then challenging Congress to oppose him and the momentum he has created. However, after weighing the evidence, or the lack of it, I must ask you to do the right thing and reject his policy. Like many other problems we have faced in the past, and many more we will face in the future, Iraq’s defiance of U.N. resolutions must be dealt with in the context of the broader international environment, and not allowed to take precedence over all the other issues we have to deal with. Saddam Hussein does not deserve so much attention, and we are playing his game as much as Mr. Bush’s by making him our priority.
Please remind Mr. Bush that it is the prerogative of Congress to declare war (or not) on behalf of the American people, and do not give him a free hand to drag us into an ill-advised and unilateral invasion of Iraq that will have catastrophic consequences for the future of our country and the world.
Thank you for your service at this difficult time for our country.