Nicolas J S Davies

A collection of published articles and letters to policymakers regarding the crisis in United States foreign policy by Nicolas J S Davies.

Location: North Miami, Florida, United States

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Letter to Congress on Evidence, Casualties, Inspections and the Future of Iraq

Senator Bill Nelson
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.

1) Evidence.

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.

2) Casualties.

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.

3) Inspections.

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.

Yours sincerely

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Letter to Congress on Bush at U.N.

Senator Bill Nelson
United States Senate
Washington DC 20510

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Dear Senator Nelson,

I was encouraged to hear Mr. Bush address the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, finally making his complaints against Iraq in an appropriate way after months of clumsy rhetoric that suggested a predetermined and unilateral course of action.

As this matter comes before the Senate and its committees during the coming weeks and months, it is vitally important that the administration provide answers to the following questions: -

1. The first part of Mr. Bush’s speech laid out very clearly the U.N. resolutions that are being violated by Iraq and challenged the U.N. to enforce them. However, by the end of his speech, Mr. Bush was once again threatening “regime change”, which is certainly not mandated by any U.N. resolutions. So, which is it? What is the goal of this administration’s policy? Enforcing U.N. resolutions or regime change?

2. He did not make any suggestions as to how the resolutions may be enforced. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has drawn up a proposal for “coercive inspections”, supported by a force of 50,000 U.S.-led troops. This may or may not be a good idea, but neither is an inspections regime that requires inspectors to humbly ask permission of the Iraqi government before inspecting each facility. So, if the administration is indeed sincere in wishing to enforce the U.N. resolutions on weapons inspection, how do they propose that these inspections be conducted? Their silence on this issue reinforces the impression of a predetermined policy that bypasses inspections altogether in favor of regime change.

3. Unlike Adlai Stevenson forty years ago, Mr. Bush has presented no new evidence of Iraqi weapons development to the General Assembly or anybody else. As Senator Graham keeps saying, we’re all waiting to see it, if indeed such evidence exists. It speaks very badly of this administration that they have placed the cart fairly and squarely in front of the horse in progressing so far with their preparations for war with no clear cause made evident to anyone but themselves.

4. While calling on the Pentagon to make public its projected casualty figures for a war in Iraq, former Senator Gary Hart estimates that our country would suffer at least 5,000 casualties, while about 250,000 Iraqis would be killed. The Pentagon must make public its projections and this must be part of the debate in the Senate. We cannot simply write off the lives of so many human beings as an unfortunate consequence of our actions while alternative courses of action are still possible. What will be the price in human lives of this administration’s policy, whatever it may be?

5. In his challenge to the U.N., Mr. Bush may have defined “irrelevance” for that institution in a way that is in fact designed to render it irrelevant. It remains to be seen in the next few weeks whether the administration will finally provide leadership for the international community or whether they are simply going through the motions while they complete the preparations for war. The long-term effect of using the United Nations in such a way would be devastating for the future of that institution and world order in general. In his speech to the U.N., Kofi Annan stressed the “unique legitimacy” of the U.N. in dealing with threats to international security, and we cannot afford to undermine its effectiveness in such a way. Do Mr. Bush and his administration understand this?

The first time I wrote to you after your election to the Senate, I predicted that issues of war and peace would turn out to be more critical in the coming years than the domestic issues that had dominated that election campaign. The issues you and your colleagues will be debating during the coming weeks and months may turn out to be the defining issues of our time. The changes that would be unleashed on the world by an American attack on Iraq that is not supported by our allies and the United Nations would be potentially devastating to the peace of the world and to the future of our country. I hope and pray that you will seek and find great wisdom as you address these matters.

Yours sincerely