Commentary on Bush's War Speech

Monday, 17 March 2003

My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision.

For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. That regime pledged to reveal and destroy all of its weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

Whether the efforts of the U.S. and other nations have been "patient and honorable" is a matter of debate. The U.S. has been accused of using weapons inspections as a pretense for spying on the Iraqi government, an accusation that doesn't seem to have been refuted. If inspectors were indeed spying on Iraq under the guise of weapons inspections, then they can hardly be said to have acted honorably.

The sanctions that the U.N. imposed on Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, many of them children, as a result of polluted water, destroyed infrastructure, depleted uranium shells, restricted access to medicine, and more. Once the effects of the sanctions were realized, the U.N. should have lifted or modified them, since they were affecting most adversely the Iraqi people rather than those in power. Since the deadly sanctions were not lifted, the U.N. cannot be said to have acted honorably in this regard.

"Weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs) are generally defined as including biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons systems. WMDs are a terrible blight on the world, and Saddam Hussein, who has used them on the Kurds and on the Iranians, should not be allowed to continue to possess such weapons. However, it is the height of hypocrisy for the U.S to call on Iraq to rid itself of these terrible weapons when the U.S. has hundreds of times more of them than Iraq has ever had. It is hypocritical for the U.S. to condemn Iraq for using chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War and not admit shared responsibility for providing Iraq--at the time our ally in the region--with the very weapons they used. It is hypocritical for the U.S. to condemn Iraq for lying about the weapons they might possess when the U.S. tried to cover up Iraq's use of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War, blaming the Iranians for using them. Finally, it is hypocritical for the U.S. to single out for condemnation Iraq's use of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War when the U.S. continues to use depleted uranium shells (the equivalent of thousands of tiny "dirty bombs"), landmines (banned by most civilized countries), and so-called "conventional weapons" whose killing capacity is at least as great as any of the weapons that Iraq might possess. Soldiers and civilians killed by a cruise missile or by the U.S.'s new 21,000 pound bunker buster are just as dead as those killed by a chemical weapon. Those maimed by U.S. weapons may suffer just as much as those maimed by Iraqi weapons. The world needs to redefine "weapons of mass destruction" to include any device designed to kill large numbers of people, regardless of whether it is biological, chemical, nuclear, or conventional. Once WMDs are redefined, the world needs to get serious about reducing their number, and eventually eliminating them altogether. And the countries with the most of these WMDs--the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France--should begin by reducing their own stockpiles of weapons.

Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy. We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq.

For the U.S. to say that "we" have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors is somewhat disingenuous when the current Bush administration, and to some extent the Clinton administration as well, misused or opposed inspections in many cases. In particular, the Bush II administration wanted to go to war with Iraq months ago, but the world community, through the U.N., forced the U.S.--grudgingly-- to allow inspectors to return to Iraq.

Our good faith has not been returned. The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament.

The U.S. is certainly expert at using "diplomacy" as a ploy. Most of the so-called "coalition of the willing" that purport to support the war on Iraq have been either bribed or threatened by the U.S. to go along. Those countries whose governments have gone along willingly (Britain, Spain, Australia) have done so in the face of the opposition of a majority of their citizens--not exactly a ringing endorsement of the democratic process. Turkey resisted enormous pressure, and a multi-billion dollar bribe attempt, to allow U.S. forces to stage in Turkey for an invasion of northern Iraq (Turkish leaders may yet cave in, despite the overwhelming opposition of more than 90% of the populace). It is evident that the Bush administration has been intent on waging war on Iraq all along and that they planned to do so regardless of the reports of the weapons inspectors. All their talk of diplomacy has been one-dimensional: to convince the rest of the world to go to war against Iraq.

The "summit" of the U.S., Britain, and Spain that was held in the Azores Islands over the past weekend was billed as a last chance for diplomacy, but since only countries that had already decided to back the U.S. war were invited, what kind of diplomacy was possible? The fact of the matter is that leaders of these countries met for about an hour and then announced that they were going to attack Iraq, already a foregone conclusion. The unbelievable audacity of claiming that the meeting involved diplomacy is staggering, and it makes one think of all the times over the past several months that the White House has said that the president had not yet made up his mind about attacking Iraq, when those statements were clearly false. The Bush White House has raised "disinformation" (i.e., lying) to a new high. If Clinton's lie about Monica Lewinsky merited an impeachment hearing, how much more should almost perpetual mendacity merit? Joseph Göbbels would be proud.

Over the years, U.N. weapons inspectors have been threatened by Iraqi officials, electronically bugged and systematically deceived. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraq regime have failed again and again because we are not dealing with peaceful men.

If Iraqi officials have surveiled and deceived weapons inspectors over the years--and no doubt they have--so, too, have some U.S. "inspectors" superseded their mandate in regard to gathering information on Iraq. Saddam Hussein is not a peaceful man. Neither is George W. Bush, nor are many others in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.

As noted above, the Bush administration has made such a habit of lying to its own people and to the U.N. concerning Iraq, that it's hard to know whether anything they say can be believed. They presented forged papers concerning Iraq's supposed attempt to buy uranium from Niger to the U.N. as "proof" of Saddam's wickedness (some in the U.S. Congress have called for an investigation into who exactly forged the papers). They continued to claim that aluminum tubes that Iraq tried to import were intended for use in making nuclear weapons, when the chief U.N. nuclear inspector, Mohamed ElBaradei, said they weren't suitable. They claimed that mobile biological weapons labs were traveling from site to site in Iraq--these "mobile labs" turned out to be delivery trucks. They identified a site in northern Iraq where chemical weapons were purported to be under construction--the site consisted of a number of run-down buildings with no chemical weapons activity present. They have claimed innumerable times that they had proof that Saddam Hussein continued to possess biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons--or was in the process of developing them--yet no information given to U.N. weapons inspectors resulted in them finding any evidence of such weapons. In light of these facts, how can U.S. claims regarding what it "knows" Saddam is up to be seriously considered?

The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends and it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of Al Qaeda. The danger is clear: Using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country or any other.

Iraq does have a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East, much of it while an ally of the U.S. After supporting Saddam Hussein for years, the U.S. turned on him when he invaded Kuwait--rightly so, even if previous U.S. support was morally questionable. The U.S. and its allies killed perhaps 100,000 Iraqis during the first Gulf War, and hundreds of thousands more have died in the aftermath and as a result of continued sanctions. If Iraqis hate Americans, is it any wonder?

It is certainly possible that Iraq supports terrorists. However, they apparently do not support Al Qaeda, the group responsible for the attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. In fact, Osama bin Laden is an acknowledged enemy of Saddam Hussein, because of the latter's secular government. The only thing that could drive two such disparate people as Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden together would be a shared hatred of the U.S., much of which is due to U.S. policy in the Middle East over the years.

The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat, but we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety.

No country deserves a terrorist attack, regardless of what it has done. The U.S. has made numerous missteps in the Middle East over the years, and its policies continue to fuel terrorist recruitment. Nevertheless, the attacks on September 11 were outrageous and without a scintilla of justification. An attack on Iraq at this time--when Saddam Hussein is a defeated shadow of his former self, when Iraq has not molested its neighbors for the past twelve years, when the people of Iraq are suffering cruelly at the hands of U.N. sanctions--is similarly outrageous and without justification. If the deaths of 3,000 on September 11 were tragic, how horrendous will be the deaths of tens or hundreds of thousands in the new war? Are Iraqi lives any less precious than American lives?

Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.

Terrorist attacks can certainly be described as horror, but so can the bombing of Baghdad and slaughter of innocents.

The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me as commander of chief by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep. Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq.

National sovereignty is a myth. No country has the right to attack another country without overt provocation. No country has the right to attack another at all without the sanction of the international community. The U.N. is not a perfect organization by any means, but it is the only international organization that currently exists that is capable of dealing with conflicts between nations. To claim authority over and above the U.N. is to arrogate to one's nation a right than no nation has, even a superpower. The president knows that Iraq, which has no missiles capable of reaching U.S. soil, is not a threat to the U.S., and his statements to the contrary are hollow, especially when considered in the light of recent activity by North Korea, which does have missiles that can reach U.S. soil, and nuclear warheads to go on them.

The U.S. Congress abrogated its responsibilty in giving in to the president's deamnd for carte blanche to use force against Iraq. Perhaps some thought that he would use the power judiciously, but Congress was still wrong to avoid its responsibility as an equal branch of the federal government.

America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations.

Sadly, both of these statements are false. The U.S. did not try to work with the U.N., it tried to bend the U.N. to its will. When the U.N. didn't go along, the U.S. decided to act alone. The Bush administration has a track record of ignoring the words of other nations, and ignoring the words of U.S. citizens who hold different opinions than the White House. A group of clergy, led by Sojourners' editor Jim Wallis, was denied a meeting with the president, even after they met with Tony Blair. When Bush promised not to be guided by the polls, the U.S. people didn't know that he meant that he wouldn't even listen to those who disagree with him.

The current U.S. administration most definitely does not believe in the mission of the U.N. They believe that the U.N. is there solely to provide support for policies that the U.S. unilaterally decides upon. When the U.S. doesn't get its way in the U.N., it acts on its own.

One reason the U.N. was founded after the Second World War was to confront aggressive dictators actively and early, before they can attack the innocent and destroy the peace.

In the case of Iraq, the Security Council did act in the early 1990s. Under Resolutions 678 and 687, both still in effect, the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will.

It is ridiculous for the U.S. to claim that it is a better interpreter of U.N. resolutions than the U.N. itself. That would be like the U.S. Supreme Court saying it was a better interpreter of Florida's voting laws than the Florida Supreme Court. . . . Well, at least the Bush administration is standing on good precedent.

Last September, I went to the U.N. General Assembly and urged the nations of the world to unite and bring an end to this danger. On November 8th, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, finding Iraq in material breach of its obligations and vowing serious consequences if Iraq did not fully and immediately disarm.

Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power.

Actually, many nations do claim that inspections have worked and that Iraq has been in the process of disarming. In response to Resolution 1441, Iraq did allow weapons inspectors back in the country, and it was disarming, even if grudgingly. No one in power likes to give it up, even if the international community demands it. Because Iraq is a weak country, Saddam Hussein will be forced to go along with the will of the international community. Because the U.S. is a strong country, Bush will not be forced to abide by the collected wisdom of the majority of the nations of the world. A blatant double standard exists.

For the last four and a half months, the United States and our allies have worked within the Security Council to enforce that council's longstanding demands. Yet some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced that they will veto any resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it.

The last statement is nothing short of slander. France, Germany, Russia, and others most emphatically do not share the U.S. government's assessment of the danger of Saddam Hussein, and they have shown great resolve in standing up to the immense pressure put on them by the biggest bully in the world, the U.S.

Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world.

This "broad coalition" consists primarily of the U.S., Britain, Australia, and a few other countries whose leaders have ignored the wishes of the majority of their citizens. The coalition of nations opposed to the war is much, much larger. The "just demands" of the world are to contain Saddam Hussein by peaceful means if at all possible, just as the U.N. has been doing for the past several years.

The use of the word "just" is interesting, because it is clearly an allusion to the Christian Just War theory. The Just War theory allows war under certain fairly restrictive circumstances, such as self-defense. With the shameful exception of the Southern Baptist Convention, the vast majority of other Christian groups that subscribe to the Just War theory have tried to tell the president that this unprovoked attack on Iraq does not meet the accepted criteria of the theory. Of course, Christian groups in the pacifist tradition also oppose the war, as do most groups representing other world religions.

The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours. In recent days, some governments in the Middle East have been doing their part. They have delivered public and private messages urging the dictator to leave Iraq so that disarmament can proceed peacefully.

He has thus far refused.

On the contrary, the U.N. Security Council has done exactly what it was designed to do. It has deliberated on an international crisis, and its nations have exercised their best judgment concerning whether or not to wage war. The answer of the world community is "NO." The U.S. just doesn't like the answer.

All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing.

The decades of Saddam Hussein's deceit and cruelty may well have reached an end, and few will mourn his passing. To believe that removing Saddam Hussein by force, without the cooperation of the world community, will result in a less volatile Middle East, is shortsighted and naive.

For their own safety, all foreign nationals, including journalists and inspectors, should leave Iraq immediately.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. would like journalists to leave Iraq so that they won't be able to document any setbacks suffered by the U.S. and its allies or record any atrocities (intentional or otherwise) perpetrated by soldiers. Of course, the U.S. government has little to fear from the majority of U.S. news outlets, which are basically mouthpieces for the government, and whose reports they will censor in any case. However, there's always the chance that some pesky reporter will see things that shouldn't be seen and let the world know about it. Whether U.S. citizens will ever hear about it is another story, since Freedom of the Press is sadly lacking in the U.S. these days.

Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them: If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you.

This is small comfort to people whose houses are being bombed.

As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free.

The U.S. has yet to make good on its promise to build a prosperous and free Afghanistan, despite its best efforts--or at least, some efforts. The people of Afghanistan are undoubtedly better off than they were under the Taliban, but in some cases, they are not that much better off. The same may be true in the post-Saddam Iraq. Promises such as the president is making are hard to keep.

In free Iraq there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms.

As noted above, Afghanistan is hardly free of suffering caused by corrupt leaders, and it is unlikely that Iraqis will be, either, after Saddam Hussein is gone, at least for a long while. Saddam Hussein is undoubtedly a disease on the Iraqi nation. The question is, is the cure proposed by the U.S. worse than the disease itself?

Bush's statement that there will be "no more execution of dissidents" is ironic in light of the fact that as governor of Texas, he presided over many, many more executions than any other U.S. governor. The rest of the civilized world abhors judicial executions, and countries are not even allowed to join the European Union unless they renounce capital punishment. In hanging on to an outmoded and uncivilized method of punishment, the U.S. is in company with such other countries as Iran, North Korea, China, and even Iraq.

The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.

The tyrant Saddam Hussein may soon be gone. Other tyrants, including those who self-righteousnessly sit in judgment on others, will still remain.

It is too late for Saddam Hussein to remain in power. It is not too late for the Iraq military to act with honor and protect your country, by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attack and destroyed.

I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services: If war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life.

These comments seem to have been added to make it appear that the U.S. is a compassionate country. Since they will probably begin the war by dropping thousands of tons of bombs on Baghdad and other cities, their compassion is exposed for what it is: a pretense.

And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning: In any conflict, your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders." Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war and every measure will be taken to win it.

Naturally the Bush administration, which is led by oilmen, doesn't want oil wells destroyed. The oil may belong to the Iraqi people, but it will be Halliburton and other U.S. and British companies who pump it out of post-Saddam Iraq.

It is ironic that Bush is concerned with war crimes, when the current U.S. administration has opposed the International Criminal Court, which was set up specifically to deal with war crimes. As with so many other Bush policies, the rules apply to other nations, but not to the U.S. Iraqis might be tried for war crimes (but not, presumably in the International Criminal Court), but U.S. soldiers who "follow orders" to use depleted uranium shells or drop bombs on cities populated by innocent civilians are of course exempt from war crimes trials, as are their leaders.

Americans understand the costs of conflict because we have paid them in the past. War has no certainty except the certainty of sacrifice.

In this particular war, the U.S. will sacrifice much. It will sacrifice the lives of young men and women--disproportionately people of color--who serve in the armed forces. It will sacrifice what few remnants of goodwill exist among other nations as a result of the U.S.'s positive contributions under past administrations, both Democratic and Republican. It will sacrifice any pretense of moral superiority to the very worst dictators that the U.S. has opposed over the years. It will sacrifice the effectiveness of the U.N. itself, which despite its imperfections has managed to prevent World War III from happening up till now.

Yet the only way to reduce the harm and duration of war is to apply the full force and might of our military, and we are prepared to do so.

This is an application of the principle that "might makes right," apparently the mantra of the current administration.

If Saddam Hussein attempts to cling to power, he will remain a deadly foe until the end.

In desperation, he and terrorist groups might try to conduct terrorist operations against the American people and our friends. These attacks are not inevitable. They are, however, possible.

Finally, something that people on all sides of this issue can agree on! Attacking Iraq won't guarantee terrorist attacks on American soil, but it will certainly increase the chances. That's why the U.S. government has raised the terror alert status from yellow to orange as a result of the president's speech. But wait--isn't the war against Iraq designed to improve homeland security?

And this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail. The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed. Our government is on heightened watch against these dangers. Just as we are preparing to ensure victory in Iraq, we are taking further actions to protect our homeland.

The terrorist threat to the U.S. might be diminished if Osama bin Laden were captured, but deposing or killing Saddam Hussein is more likely to increase the threat of terrorism in the U.S. and around the world. By the way, what ever happened to the president's promise to capture Saddam Hussein "dead or alive"? Or his promise to capture the person responsible for sending anthrax spores through the mail?

In recent days, American authorities have expelled from the country certain individuals with ties to Iraqi intelligence services.

Xenophobia and other forms of prejudice are sure to rise as a result of the administration's policies. If the U.S. is expelling people with ties to Iraqi intelligence services, it is also pursuing foreign students who dare to give voice to opinions contrary to that mandated by the government.

Among other measures, I have directed additional security at our airports and increased Coast Guard patrols of major seaports. The Department of Homeland Security is working closely with the nation's governors to increase armed security at critical facilities across America.

These are certainly prudent measures, but it's more or less equivalent to knocking a hornet's nest off a tree with a stick and then stationing a couple of extra people with flyswatters around the yard to keep the person with the stick from being stung.

Should enemies strike our country, they would be attempting to shift our attention with panic and weaken our morale with fear. In this, they would fail.

To people opposed to this unjust and immoral war, it's hard to imagine morale getting any lower than it is now, but terrorist attacks on this country just might do it. Or they might bring people to their senses--it's hard to say.

No act of theirs can alter the course or shake the resolve of this country. We are a peaceful people, yet we are not a fragile people. And we will not be intimidated by thugs and killers.

After attacking a country that has done us no harm (though they have certainly harmed their neighbors), we will not be able to say truthfully that we are a peaceful people. Perhaps we already can't say it, but it will be even more difficult to say it with a straight face after the war on Iraq.

If our enemies dare to strike us, they and all who have aided them will face fearful consequences.

And if our enemies don't dare to strike us, well, that's too bad, because they'll still face fearful consequences.

We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over. With these capabilities, Saddam Hussein and his terrorist allies could choose the moment of deadly conflict when they are strongest. We choose to meet that threat now where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities.

The risk of inaction is indeed great, but diplomacy--a word foreign to the current Bush administration--is not inaction. Diplomacy, carrying on actual conversations (as opposed to diatribes) with other countries, attempting to resolve difficult and complex situations, is a great work, and it can accomplish tremendous things. Through diplomacy Jimmy Carter was able to get the dictators of Haiti to flee their country and ward off armed attack. Through diplomacy India and Pakistan were able to avoid nuclear war with one another. Through diplomacy South Africa had a peaceful transition from minority to majority rule. Threats met by diplomacy are dealt with much more effectively than threats dealt with by force.

The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th century, some chose to appease murderous dictators whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war.

This obvious allusion to Hitler is tired and inapt. Saddam Hussein is no Hitler. Hitler was only in power for six years before he launched his campaign to take over Europe. Saddam Hussein has been in power for many, many more years, and he has been unable to take over any other country.

Another problem with the president's statement is that the U.S. did nothing to prevent the rise of Hitler in the 1930s. In fact, many Americans thought Hitler was an effective leader--in much the same way as many in previous administrations thought of Saddam Hussein as a key figure for keeping Iran in check in the Middle East.

In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth. Terrorists and terrorist states do not reveal these threats with fair notice in formal declarations.

The idea of "fair notice" is about as realistic as the idea of a "fair fight." Clearly Iraq is no match militarily for the U.S., so it's not a fair fight, but that fact won't keep the U.S. government from waging its war.

Attacking Iraq won't reduce the threat of terrorism. However, there are two measures that the U.S. could take to greatly reduce that threat. (1) The U.S. could immediately change many of its policies in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world, that are so abhorrent to people around the world. For example, it could start treating Palestinians as though they were of equal importance to Israelis. It could stop its shortsighted attempts to influence the internal policies of Latin American countries. It could stand for human rights instead of commercial interests. It could forgive the debt of the thirty poorest countries in the world. It could act as an equal partner in the community of nations, not the class bully. (2) The U.S. could lead the world in reducing its arsenal of weapons. It could get rid of all of its biological and chemical weapons, and it could begin to dismantle all of its nuclear weapons. It could begin to reduce its immense arsenal of conventional weapons. It could stop supplying the rest of the world with the planes, ships, and arms other countries use to fight their wars. It could reduce its military spending so that instead of spending as much on the military as the next twenty countries combined it would only spend as much as the next three combined.

If the U.S. would adopt these policies, then it would truly become a nation worthy of respect and admiration. It would be seen as a nation that cooperates with other nations, that does not consider itself above international law, that is concerned about the welfare of the globe, not just the U.S. The U.S. could again be a great nation in the eyes of the rest of the world, but it will first have to give up its arrogance and greed.

And responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self defense. It is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now.

No, the definition of self-defense is defending oneself from attack, not from the threat of attack. And of course, there is no credible threat of attack, either, from Iraq.

As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country. Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty, and when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.

Again, Bush is speaking of the demands of the U.S. rather than the demands of the world. He just doesn't understand that the two are not always the same. Hopefully the Iraqi people will create a representative democracy that will be an inspiration to the region. If they do, they will be the first country in the region to do it. If the U.S. is successful in Iraq, perhaps the next move will be to overthrow the governments of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Egypt, etc., and install democracies in those countries as well.

The United States with other countries will work to advance liberty and peace in that region. Our goal will not be achieved overnight, but it can come over time. The power and appeal of human liberty is felt in every life and every land, and the greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace. That is the future we choose.

"We choose peace by choosing war." That bit of doublespeak sounds like it's taken straight from Orwell's 1984.

Free nations have a duty to defend our people by uniting against the violent, and tonight, as we have done before, America and our allies accept that responsibility.

Equating self-defense with a brazen attack on another country is more consistent with the actions of Hitler against Czechoslovakia and Poland than of the America of the past century.

Good night, and may God continue to bless America.

May God forgive America, and may God bless the nations of the world who stand for peace and justice.

© Copyright 2003, Progressive Theology

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