Letter to Congress on State of the Union Speech
1039 Longworth H.O.B.
Washington DC 20515
Thursday, January 30, 2003
In the State of the Union address, President Bush once again made his case for an invasion of Iraq. He accused Iraq of trying to buy uranium from a country in Africa; of buying aluminum tubes to make centrifuges to enrich uranium; of hiding 29,984 chemical weapons artillery shells and thousands of gallons of anthrax and botulin. What he did not say was that the effort to buy uranium in Niger took place in the 1980s; that the IAEA has concluded that the aluminum tubes were for 81 mm rockets and were not suitable for use in centrifuges; that the 16 chemical shells that have been found contained no trace of chemicals; and that biological agents manufactured ten or fifteen years ago would almost certainly have deteriorated below weapons grade by now.
How can President Bush stand in front of the American people and the world and present evidence that he knows to be insubstantial and false to make a case for the unprecedented preemptive invasion of another country? This was an abuse of our trust and respect for the presidency. And if this is the type of evidence that Mr. Powell is going to present to the U.N. Security Council, he can hardly expect their support.
I commend Mr. Bush for his proposal to fund the fight against AIDS in Africa. However, in last year’s State of the Union address, he promised an increase of $5 billion per year in non-military aid to developing countries, but has failed to include it in subsequent budget requests. We currently spend 0.1% of GDP to help the underprivileged around the world, one seventh of the amount requested by the U.N. to support sustainable third world development. Please ensure that the U.S. government delivers at least the minimal amounts of aid that the president has promised.
It is no coincidence that our problems with Iraq and North Korea have come to a head since September, when the administration issued its controversial policy statements regarding the preemptive and unilateral use of military force. These policies undermine the guarantees of national sovereignty contained in the U.N. Charter, and would effectively reduce the world to 180 countries and about 16,000 bilateral relationships in which either side had better take preemptive military action before its enemy does (as North Korea is threatening to do). U.S. military power cannot take the place of multilateral treaties as the arbiter of world order while still primarily serving U.S. interests, and this contradiction can never be resolved. We should therefore be working to strengthen the international system of multilateral treaties and organizations, not scrapping them in favor of a return to the law of the jungle.
Lastly, please support Rep. Kucinich’s bill to establish a U.S. Department of Peace. This would be a much-needed vehicle to explore non-military solutions to many of our problems.