Last Friday, President George W. Bush took the stage in
Stockton to show his support for Republican candidate for governor, Bill
Simon. “The president's speech, reported the
Chronicle, “was briefly interrupted by a woman
heckler who shouted ‘Mr. Bush: No war on Iraq.’ She was hustled out of
the auditorium by security as the crowd chanted ‘U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
U.S.A.!’" That woman was Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange.
The Chron report continued, “About 150 demonstrators
also picketed outside the airport fund-raiser.” Among the 150 was Kevin
Danaher, also a co-founder of Global Exchange.
The Call asked Benjamin and Danaher why they had gone to
Stockton. By way of a reply, they sent the following:
Top Ten Reasons Why the US Should Not Invade Iraq
The White House is planning to launch a war against
Iraq. Yet there has been no real public or congressional debate about
why an invasion is justified, no convincing explanation of why a war is
needed. The international community is virtually unanimous in its
opposition to an attack on Iraq, leaving the United States without
allies. A full-scale war against Iraq would isolate the US from the rest
of the world, undermine the effort against terrorism, and senselessly
kill tens of thousands of civilians. The Bush Administration is
determined to initiate an illegal and ill-considered invasion. We the
people must be just as determined to stop a war that threatens to tear
the world apart.
(1) There Is No Justification for Going to War.
What was Iraq’s act of aggression against us that
justifies war? There has been no attack on the US, no Iraqi threat of
war, no Iraqi connection to September 11.
War should be a last recourse of self-defense, a step to
be taken only when all other alternatives have been exhausted. What the
Bush Administration is planning is an act of aggression, not an act of
self-defense. The international coalition that fought the first Gulf War
was cemented by the principle that one country cannot invade another
without provocation. Now the White House is poised to dismiss the
coalition to launch an unprovoked invasion of Iraq. This would violate
the US’s historic policy against using force preemptively. We should not
go to war against a distant country that has not attacked us.
(2) Iraq Does Not Pose a Clear and Present Danger.
The White House says we should invade Iraq to prevent
Saddam Hussein from using weapons of mass destruction. But there is no
evidence that Iraq is still developing nuclear, chemical, or biological
weapons. During the 1990s, United Nations weapons inspectors dismantled
all of Iraq’s major weapons factories and destroyed nearly all of Iraq’s
weapons and long-range missiles. In terms of conventional arms, Iraq’s
military is now at one-third of its pre-Gulf War strength. According to
ex-Marine and former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, Iraq presents
“absolutely nothing” of a military threat. And given Hussein’s natural
desire for self-preservation, it is highly unlikely he would launch any
attack that would result in his destruction. Since deterrence is
working, why should the US start a bloody war that would undoubtedly
lead to massive human suffering?
(3) A Presidential War Would Violate the US
In order to protect against reckless and ill-considered
wars, the framers of the US Constitution gave war-making powers to the
Congress, not the President. Only Congress – the branch of government
closest to the people – can declare war and appropriate tax funds to pay
for a war. But the Bush Administration is already deep into war planning
without having even consulted Congress. Any military move against Iraq
should be put to a vote of Congress.
(4) An Invasion of Iraq Would Violate International Law.
An attack on Iraq would constitute an attack on the
Charter of the United Nations, which says that armed force may only be
used in self-defense, or with the approval of the UN Security Council.
That is what happened during the first Gulf War. This time around, the
US has refused to bring the matter before the UN because there are no
legal grounds that will convince the Security Council that force must be
used to make Iraq comply with UN resolutions. An unauthorized attack on
Iraq would make the US an international outlaw.
(5) When It Comes to Invading Iraq, the US Has Zero
All the countries of the Middle East – including Kuwait
– are opposed to a war with Iraq. Our allies in Europe think an invasion
is foolhardy. Only Great Britain’s Tony Blair has offered tepid support
for a US attack on Iraq, and his approval is tempered by widespread
opposition from the British public and his own Labour Party. An invasion
of Iraq would isolate the US from the rest of the world and shatter the
principles of international cooperation and mutual defense that are key
to US and global security.
(6) An Attack on Iraq Would Make Us Less Safe.
An isolated US is an unsafe country. An unprovoked
attack will ignite anti-American sentiment around the world, disrupting
efforts to weaken terrorist networks. Any attack would also further
destabilize a Middle East already inflamed by the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. While the benefits of invading Iraq are murky, the costs are
(7) Invading Iraq Would Be Difficult, Costly – and
Without a Clear Victory.
An invasion of Iraq will be not nearly as easy as
kicking the Taliban out of Kabul. Although Hussein’s army has been
weakened, Iraq’s forces remain large enough to put up a formidable
defense. And it is likely that Iraqi forces will be far more determined
to defend Baghdad than they were to defend Kuwait City, dragging US
forces into a bloody fight in heavily populated areas. It is estimated
that any full-scale invasion will cost at least $80 billion. During the
first Gulf War, allies like Japan covered 80 percent of the cost. It’s
doubtful that will happen again, leaving the US taxpayers – already
facing renewed budget deficits – to pick up the costs. And even if the
US does overthrow Hussein, what next? As the experience in Afghanistan
shows, throwing out a government is easier than putting a new one
together. An invasion without allies would leave the US to enforce a
peace in a chaotic country fractured by ethnic conflicts.
(8) A War Would Kill Thousands of People.
An assault on Baghdad would result in far more American
casualties than the war in Afghanistan. And the toll on Iraqis would be
far higher. Preliminary Pentagon estimates say that an invasion of Iraq
could lead to the deaths of 10,000 innocent civilians – or approximately
ten times the number of people killed during the US bombing of
(9) Other Options Besides War Are Available.
The best way to stop Iraq from resuming its pursuit of
weapons of mass destruction is to restart the UN inspections, which were
largely successful. The UN is currently trying to resume inspections,
but the Bush Administration is dismissing the effort out of hand. This
is foolish. The US should work with the UN to get the inspection program
back on track.
(10) Opposition to the War Is Growing.
Americans know deep down that this impending war makes
no sense. According to recent polls, one-third of Americans are against
a war with Iraq, and a strong majority thinks Congress should approve
Our task is to turn the public’s latent misgivings into
blatant opposition. If the citizens say loud and clear that we don’t
want a war against Iraq, it will be more difficult for the President to
go through with his scheme. We have to educate our fellow citizens about
why war with Iraq is wrong, and then hold our elected representatives
accountable to the will of the people.
Please call your Congressional Representatives today and
tell them you want don’t want the US to invade Iraq. The Capitol
switchboard is 202-224-3121. For information about what you can do to
stop the White House’s planned war against Iraq, contact Global Exchange
at 1-800-497-1994 or visit our website at