Basalt must take stand on Iraq
December 9, 2002
(This letter was originally written to the Basalt Board of Trustees.)
I am writing to urge you to pass a resolution concerning unilateral U.S. military action against Iraq.
Ordinarily I don’t consider it appropriate for local governments to weigh in on matters of national policy. However, this is one of those rare cases where, I believe, you have not only a right but a duty to speak your conscience ? whether you oppose or support military action.
In my opinion, going to war against Iraq at this time, without allies and without a specific United Nations mandate to do so, would not achieve its stated aims. On the contrary, it would only incite more hatred against America and more terrorist acts against Americans. I speak as someone who has spent a lot of time in Asia and has a feel for the very deep resentment toward the United States that is out there, of which terrorism is but a symptom.
Removing Saddam Hussein may eventually be necessary, but to do so unilaterally would put a match to a region that is already a tinderbox; no one can predict what would happen, but the possible apocalyptic outcomes far outnumber the rosy ones.
It is a reckless gamble of the United States’ security and standing in the world, not to mention the lives of millions of soldiers and innocent civilians, along with many billions of taxpayer dollars.
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The most charitable explanation for the Bush administration’s eagerness to do so is filial revenge, although I think we all know in our hearts that the real reason probably has to do with oil.
Some will say that a local resolution against (or for) war on Iraq is only a symbolic statement. That is absolutely true. But now is a time when we need to be making symbolic statements.
Military action against Iraq was not debated adequately in Congress. The White House doesn’t seem to have any intention of debating the matter further. The only way to engage in any kind of democratic debate at this point is to do so at the community level.