The Bush Administration is planning a war on Iraq. Troop deployments indicate that it could come in October; a "surprise attack" could come even sooner. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding hearings this week to determine whether a military campaign to oust Saddam Hussein is necessary, but they appear to be a whitewash -- none of the people asked to testify are likely to argue against a war. Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other top officials continue to hone a war plan that will require up to a quarter million troops.
The Bush Administration contends that a war on Iraq is needed because Saddam Hussein possesses or is intent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction. But former Marine and UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter argues that the war is a product of domestic politics; along with other UN officials he maintains that Iraq's major weapons have been successfully eradicated. In response to questions about the basis for an Iraq campaign from our NATO allies, Secretary Rumsfeld replied that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." These are hardly solid grounds on which to wage a war that will likely:
* Cost thousands of American soldiers' lives;
* Kill many more Iraqi civilians, both through direct combat and through the eradication of crucial infrastructure;
* Further destabilize the Middle East;
* Alienate America's closest allies, almost all of whom (except Great Britain) oppose an attack;
* Commit the military to a three-to-five year stay while Iraq rebuilds; and
* Cost in the tens of billions in taxpayer dollars.
The Senate hearings may be the last public forum in which serious questions can be raised about this upcoming conflict. Please call your Senators at the numbers below. Make sure each staffer you talk to knows that you're a constituent, and that you understand the Senate has begun hearings on Iraq. State your deep concern and ask your questions. Ask if you will be receiving a written response from your Senator.
Here are some sample questions. Your own words are always best.
- What is the concrete evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction?
- How long will American troops be in Iraq? What's the objective? What's the plan to get out?
- Do the State Department and Secretary of State Colin Powell support this war? What about the top military brass?
- Why don't our allies support this war?
- If we attack, will Iraq find new allies in the region?
- How many Americans will die in such a war? Iraqis?
- How much money will such a war cost?
- Why is America now attacking without explicit provocation?
- President Bush is seen by people in other countries as pursuing a strange vendetta. Is the Bush administration pulling our country into a family grudge match?
You can reach your Senators
by calling the Capitol Switchboard at:
You can also call the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Their numbers are:
Chair Joseph Biden (D-DE) 202-224-5042
Ranking Member Jesse Helms (R-NC) 202-224-6342
Barbara Boxer (D-CA) 202-224-3553
Christopher Dodd (D-CT) 202-224-2823
Bill Nelson (D-FL) 202-224-5274
Richard Lugar (R-IN) 202-224-4814
Sam Brownback (R-KS) 202-224-6521
John Kerry (D-MA) 202-224-2742
Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) 202-224-4524
Paul Wellstone (D-MN) 202-224-5641
Chuck Hagel (R-NE) 202-224-4224
Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) 202-224-3224
Gordon Smith (R-OR) 202-224-3753
Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) 202-224-2921
Bill Frist (R-TN) 202-224-4944
George Allen (R-VA) 202-224-4024
Russ Feingold (D-WI) 202-224-5323
John Rockefeller (D-WV) 202-224-6472
Michael Enzi (R-WY) 202-224-3424
Once you've made your call, please let us know by going to:
Please call today. This week's hearings may be the last chance for a serious national conversation on the consequences of a war on Iraq.
July 30, 2002
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