October 16, 2002
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
The White House
Dear Mr. President,
As the United States course of action moves ever closer to war with Iraq, I write to communicate to you, and your administration, the Filipino youth’s gravest concerns over your remarks at the United Nations General Assembly. In your speech, you condemned Iraq for repeated defiance to the United Nations Security Council resolutions pertaining to the dismantling of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as consequences of the 1991 Gulf War. You indicated the willingness of the U.S. to confront, and even attack, Iraq, with or without the agreement of the U.N. and the international community, all for the alleged purpose of destroying Iraq’s stockpile of these weapons. I share your deep conviction that Iraq must not be allowed to possess nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Indeed, no nation, including the United States of America, should possess, deploy, or threaten to use any of these armaments of mass killing.
But to attack Iraq because its government might possess, or does possess, an arsenal of these weapons would violate the international law, which explicitly condemns any act of aggression committed by one state party against another. Further, a military strike against Iraq for the intention of removing Saddam Hussein from his dictatorial position would likely result in the deaths of perhaps hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, and a myriad of Iraqi and U.S. combatants. Mr. President, your country has the largest arsenal of these weapons anywhere on the planet. The United States alone has threatened other nations with the first strike use of nuclear weapons on numerous occasions since 1945. And while I condemn the past use of chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein, we should not forget that Iraqi chemical and biological weapons were supplied to his regime by Western corporations, including those in the USA. You have spoken about the threat of an Iraqi nuclear attack against the USA. But I implore you to consider, Mr. Bush, that only one nation-the United States of America-has actually used nuclear weapons against a civilian population in a war: not once, but twice. I need not even say those fateful events. I believe that it is immoral and hypocritical to threaten another nation with utter destruction for possibly possessing weapons that the United States has actually used itself.
Clearly, war against Iraq cannot end the threat that these weapons pose to humankind. Only global peace with real democracy and a collective commitment to justice can do that. Saddam Hussein may not be a peacemaker. But you can be one. And a war with Iraq would ignite the passions of millions of people around the world against America and make the resolution of deeper problems mush less likely to occur. A war with Iraq would turn America’s traditional allies into vocal opponents of U.S. policy, and traditional American adversaries into implacable enemies. In material terms, a war with Iraq would devastate the U.S. economy with the burden of new public war-related debt. But in immensely more important terms, such a war would increase the death, destruction, and misery suffered by the Iraqi people themselves. Not to mention, the effect of this war on the entire world.
On many occasions in the past, Mr. President, you have stated publicly your admiration for Martin Luther King, Jr. I urge you, and your administration, to consider his words: “An eye for an eye only leaves the whole world in blindness”. I pray that the massive power of the United States will turn away from the blind policies of retaliation and warfare and step into the light of reason and peace. The war you are planning would be extremely costly, but a commitment of the power of the United States of America to uplifting human rights and freedom from violence would be invaluable. The greatest arsenal that your nation commands, in the final analysis, is not the power of mass destruction, but the power of transformative nonviolence.
I urge you, in the name of humanity and peace, to use it.
Sincerely and in Peace,
A 3rd Year - BA Development Studies student of the University of the Philippines
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2002