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

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Letter to Congress on Mission Accomplished

The Hon. Kendrick Meek
1039 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515

Monday, April 28th, 2003

“Every claim I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence…Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical-weapons agent.”
Colin Powell, address to the U.N. Security Council, February 5th, 2003

“Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term, namely a credible device capable of being delivered against a strategic city target. It probably still has biological and battlefield chemical munitions, but it has had them since the 1980s when U.S. companies sold Saddam anthrax agents and the British government approved chemical and munitions factories”
Robin Cook, resignation speech to Britain’s House of Commons, March 2003

Dear Kendrick,

As President Bush prepares to declare victory in Iraq, it is worth remembering why the vast majority of people and governments around the world urged him not to go to war. Were they afraid that the United States would lose the war? No, that was never the point. The reasons that our friends in France and every other country urged restraint were as follows: -

1) Iraq’s possible possession of “weapons of mass destruction” did not justify a war, and no other justification for one was presented to the U.N. Security Council.

2) The death, pain and destruction of war should not be inflicted preemptively to address political problems. This principle is embodied and spelled out in the U.N. Charter.

3) The long-term consequences of this war would be a worldwide escalation of hatred, war and terrorism – “Bellum Americanum” not “Pax Americana”.

4) The collateral damage would undermine the United Nations, which was finally beginning to play the role envisioned for it by Roosevelt and Churchill sixty years ago, to provide collective and peaceful solutions to international problems.

So, has winning the war proved the critics wrong? Evidently not. On the “weapons of mass destruction”, it seems that even opponents of the war like Robin Cook overestimated the threat, and that the Bush administration was just plain wrong. Which is the whole problem with preemptive war. What if you are wrong, and your “threat” is unfounded? How do you then justify your war to the widows, the orphans, the amputees and the rest of the world?

In the United States, neither our government nor our media have given us an honest accounting of the human, political or strategic costs of this war. Around the world, people have seen the horrors that CNN will not show us, and the reasons that this was such a very bad idea only resonate louder than ever. It is now obvious to the world that Iraq was no threat to the United States, and that we have devastated it and killed thousands of people to effect a political change in pursuit of our own interests.

Our continued presence in Iraq is not welcome, and has no legitimacy in the eyes of the Iraqis or the world. Many Iraqis, from policemen to oil executives, are refusing offers to work for our “transitional government”, and even U.S. oil companies are reluctant to sign contracts that a future legitimate Iraqi government may not honor.

While we always owe an incalculable debt to the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country, our self-congratulation over their victory is in extremely poor taste. Through civilian control of the military, they put their lives in our hands, and we failed them as well as the people of Iraq when we failed to stop this war. We failed them again by cutting veterans’ benefits while claiming to “support” them. We are failing them again every day that we continue this bloody occupation.

Please do not let this continue. We must ask the United Nations to take control of restoring Iraq to the Iraqi people, and we must give them our wholehearted cooperation and assistance as well as paying for the damage we have done. This will help us to regain some of the respect we have lost, while restoring the United Nations to its proper place as the preeminent institution through which the international community can address international problems. And hold off on that tax-cut! We owe a lot of money to a lot of people, and the wealthy should pay their share.

Yours sincerely

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Letter to Blair Calling for Ceasefire

The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair M.P.
10, Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

Saturday, April 5th, 2003

Dear Mr. Blair,

As the carnage continues in Iraq, the calls for an immediate ceasefire are coming from all over the world. Please respond to this effort to stop the killing and restore the United Nations to its proper place as the arbiter of this crisis.

Before the invasion, Donald Rumsfeld said, “We don’t need to kill thousands of Iraqis to remove Saddam Hussein – at least that’s our belief”. He “believed” that smart weapons could remove the regime without killing many civilians, and that the Iraqi people would welcome our troops as liberators. Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons estimates the accuracy of the precision weapons being used in Iraq at 75-80%, which it cites as a big improvement over Kosovo, but that still leaves 20-25% that are missing their targets and hitting other buildings, streets, markets and even other countries. Saudi Arabia and Turkey have asked the United States to stop firing cruise missiles through their airspace.

If there has been a hallmark to the Bush administration’s neo-imperialist foreign policy, it is the inability to see anyone else’s point of view about anything, including yours by all appearances. It is therefore no surprise that Mr. Rumsfeld’s “beliefs” regarding the point of view of the Iraqi people were completely wrong. Even thousands of Iraqis who were living in safety and freedom from Saddam Hussein in Jordan and Syria have willingly returned to Iraq to defend their country. But neo-imperialism is an ideology rather than a rational policy. When real human beings don’t behave the way an ideology says they should, the ideological “believers” have an answer for that: “The end justifies the means”, and the people are expendable. So, without further debate in Britain or the United States, we are now in the midst of the bloody war that Mr. Rumsfeld did not “believe” we would have to fight.

The invasion was supposed to be the easy part. Military occupation is another story. General Maude liberated Mesopotamia from the Turks during the Great War, but by the time Britain left in 1920, we had suffered as many casualties as the U.S. did in Vietnam, and had introduced Iraq to poison gas, the beginning of a long relationship. Mr. Rumsfeld tried to silence the U.S. Army Chief of Staff when he told Congress that an occupation force of 300,000 would be needed for at least three years (or was it five?), but he has not told us how he “believes” the Iraqis will behave. The Palestinian West Bank would be a good place to start looking for some answers to that question.

So how did we get into this mess? Colin Powell wrote in his memoirs that he was deeply offended as a military man when Madeleine Albright asked him, in 1992, “What’s the good of having this wonderful military if we’re not going to use it?” but he now seems to be working for an administration that has precisely that attitude. There is a saying, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every job looks like a nail”. This is precisely the danger of the “military industrial complex” that President Eisenhower warned the United States against in his farewell speech. Every job is not a nail, and the United States must stop spending all its resources on bigger and better hammers, and start working on diplomacy, foreign aid, education, intercultural exchanges, economic development, multilateral treaties and institutions, and all the tools that the Bush administration has disdained, disregarded and underfunded. I think that you agree with this, and I do not understand why you are supporting President Bush’s neo-imperialist policies.

I’m sorry that I do not share whatever is left of your idealistic optimism that this will all work out somehow. I’m afraid this has all been a tragic mistake, but I believe that we do still have a choice, to stop now! It is not a choice the Bush administration will make without a great deal of pressure, but you have a powerful voice as their only real ally and a partnership between Britain, the Democratic Party in the U.S. and the international community can achieve it if you all come together and unite around a policy to stop the war and put the U.N. back in the driver’s seat.

“At the very moment (in history) that the United States has perfected the science of killing, it has become an impractical instrument of political domination”
- Richard Barnet, Institute for Policy Studies, 1972

Yours sincerely