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

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


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