Dear President George W. Bush,
Greetings! May Peace Be With YOU.
I, a Filipino College student from the University of the Philippines, have written this letter in goodwill concerning your current stand on waging a pre-emptive war against Iraq. Influencing the mind of the most powerful man in the United States of America is neither the purpose nor the capability of this letter. It is not my job to change what is in your mind, but addressing my sentiments on issues affecting man and his environment, I consider a duty.
Since that tragic 11th day of September 2002, your innumerable speeches and public addresses have been televised and published through our daily news programs and local newspapers. Watching you from the television, you undeniably exemplify the boldness of a conviction to make ‘terrorists’ pay a higher price. Declaring an all-out war against terrorism was far from being a reluctant step. And the Philippines, I must know, became one of the first countries who sympathized and offered support in this all-out war of yours. American forces have attacked Afghanistan, known to be the haven of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group led by Osama Bin Laden and now you are planning to topple Saddam Hussein in Iraq through the most preposterous means — a war.
If your arguments for war lie in suspecting Hussein of being a threat to international security because of his alleged acquisition of Weapons of Mass Destruction such as chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, then a war must also be directed against your very own country, the United States of America. Don’t your own defense forces develop and contain such Weapons of Mass Destruction? The Gulf War battlefield, in which the United States was a major force, remains to be radioactive and toxic. Depleted uranium (DU) ammunition used by the U.S. tanks, helicopters and planes to attack enemy forces preponderate in the battlefield causing deadly illnesses such as cancer and birth deformities to war veterans, Iraqis, and children exposed in nearby areas. Another war will only increase toxic contamination in the already dead battlefield. But if you neglect such environmental effects of wars as it is not your territory, at least care enough on the susceptibility of your very own U.S. soldiers.
Moreover, if this war will eventuate, ousting another powerful man in the person of Saddam wouldn’t be an easy job even for a super-advanced military force like yours. The utilization of every diabolical weapon in each armory will be constant from the deadliest to the most deadly, for neither side would wish to raise the white flag first. And when biological, chemical and nuclear weapons are employed, limiting it to a specific target would be far from possible. The wind and other biological agents would carry toxic contaminants to other countries not involve in such war. Furthermore, it may even destroy other surrounding territories to a massive extent not excluding your country and mine (Philippines).
Saddam Hussein may be a tyrant or human rights violator of his own people and if ‘freeing’ the Iraqi people under a repressive regime would justify the war you are going to wage, why is it that for the past 12 years, American forces have continuously bomb Baghdad causing senseless deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians — especially women and children. If you are a president who cares about the welfare of the people, then you will never resort to war, of course unless you are not.
Can you not see that this American aggression you are leading your countrymen into will open another saga of atrocities? That engaging in war is an outright violation of environmental laws, moreover infringement of the rights and sovereign of a country and its people. If the possession of diabolical weapons of Hussein utilized for terroristic activities is proven right, terrorism may be halted… but only temporarily. Waging another war will eventually breed terrorism itself. This will create new Osama Bin Ladens and Saddam Husseins as products of continued American aggression and more World Trade Center tragedies will happen in the future when you are no longer a president, when you no longer have the power to protect your people.
But if unmasking this ‘pre-emptive war’ would reveal dark interests of expansion of U.S. oil and gas industries, accumulation of profit from sale of military equipments and facilities, and assurance of continued hegemony over strategic areas such as Iraq’, I would say it straightforward that such would-be action deserves condemnation. The majority of the people of the world haven’t been critical of your sugarcoated imperialist moves even if history proves all these. And my fellow Filipinos are not exempted from this uncritical thinking as a good number of colonial-minded little brown brothers are still found in my country. And until now, they have been very hospitable to your own forces even if your government refuse to clean-up toxic wastes left in your bases in Clark and Subic, which, mind you, have adversely affected the lives of Filipino children.
I am fully aware that this letter wouldn’t, in any way, change your mind nor encumber your country’s imperialist aims that nurture backwardness in most underdeveloped countries such as the Philippines. Nor this letter would stop you from bombing Iraq or other countries next in your list. This letter just serves as a reminder of the costs of war which you, as a powerful man, can lead or halt. Your decision was not merely a choice of going into a war or not. I believe it was a choice made between war and peace. And which ever side o your coin may land, I plead that you bear in mind, it will greatly affect people’s lives.
Thank you for receiving this letter and may God continue to guide and bless you into leading your country for the good of your people and your fellowmen as well.
PEACE BE WITH YOU!
A Filipino Student
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