--United Methodist Social Principles, ¶165(C), Discipline (2000).
Bush's preemptive war against Iraq doesn't even purport to preempt a physical attack. It purports to preempt a threat that is neither issued nor posed.
Iraq is not issuing threats of attack against the United States. It is only the United States that threatens war.
There has been no evidence that Iraq is capable of an attack on the U.S., let alone possessing the intention of carrying out such an attack.
The U.N. Charter requires international disputes or situations that might lead to a breach of peace to be resolved by peaceful means. (Article 1 and Chapter VI) In other words, a nation may not wage war based on the claim that it seeks to prevent war. A nation may use force uni-laterally in self-defense only "if an armed attack occurs" against it. (Article 51)
The U.N. Charter has been ratified by the United States, and the Congress may not take actions--including wars of aggression--in violation of the Charter.
Wars of aggression, and even the making of the threat of a war of aggression, violates the international humanitarian law to which all nations are bound.
Neither Congress nor the President has the right to engage the U.S. in a war of aggression and any vote of endorse-ment, far from legalizing or legitimizing global war plans, serves only as ratifica-tion of war crimes.
The October 11, 2002, New York Times revealed the true plans of the United States: "The White House is developing a detailed plan, modeled on the postwar occupation of Japan, to install an American-led military government in Iraq if the United States topples Saddam Hussein, senior administration officials said today.…
In the initial phase, Iraq would be governed by an American military commander--perhaps Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander of the United States forces in the Persian Gulf, or one of his subordinates–who would assume the role that Gen. Douglas MacArthur served in Japan after its sur-render in 1945." ("U.S. has a plan to occupy Iraq, officials report") The true intention of the U.S. government is to recolonize Iraq. Prior to the 1960s, U.S. corporations made 50 percent of their foreign profits from investments in oil from this region. The Bush administration wants Iraq to denation-alize its oil wealth–10% of the world's supply. This war is an attempt to reconquer Iraq and all of its natural resources. The Bush administration wants to reshuffle the deck in the Middle East and undo all of the achievements of the national liberation movements from the last sixty years. They want to eliminate independence for all countries in the region and assert their domination and control--not in the interest of the vast majority of people--but for access to oil.
Desert Storm destroyed, according to U.N. weapons inspectors, 80% of Iraq's weaponry. As part of the inspections that followed, 90% of Iraq's remaining military capability was destroyed.
Iraq has been paying indemnities to Kuwait and U.S. oil corporations since 1991 and has not had the financial capacity to build another arsenal.
In addition, there has not been a threat by Iraq of any kind against any other country.
The next day, on December 16, the U.S. unleashed Operation Desert Fox, which included dropping 1,100 bombs and Cruise missiles on Iraq.
After the bombing campaign, a Washington Post report confirmed the assertions of Iraq that the inspections were intelligence-gathering exercises conducted on the orders of the Defense Intelligence Agency. The Pentagon used the information collected from the so-called inspections to set up coordinates for its bombing operations. After this revelation, the Iraqi government quite understandably did not let the inspectors back in.
"UNICEF confirms that five to six
thousand Iraqi children are dying unnec-essarily every month due to the impact of
the sanctions, and that figure is probably
modest," Denis Halliday told a Congressional hearing in October 1998.
Halliday, who had just resigned his post
as U.N. Assistant Secretary General and
head of the U.N. humanitarian mission
in Iraq, spoke of the "tragic incompatibil-ity of sanctions with the U.N. Charter
and the Convention on Human Rights."
Myth # 8
The UN allows U.S. and U.K. planes to bomb the "No Fly Zones" The United States agreed to a ceasefire with Iraq in February 1991. The no-flight zones over two-thirds of Iraq were imposed by the U.S., Britain and France 18 months after the Gulf War. The United Nations has never sanctioned the no-flight zones.
France has since condemned them. The so-called no-flight zones are in violation of international law.
Iraq has every right under international law and all known laws in the world to defend itself in these U.S.-declared no-flight zones. According to Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, Iraq has the right of self-defense in all of its country, including these "no-flight zones."
Normally there is wide support for a president who is about to launch a war. Instead, Congressional offices report overwhelming constituent opposition to a unilateral war on Iraq.
Worldwide, the opposition is even bigger. While British Prime Minister Tony Blair is a vocal acolyte of Bush, few in Britain support a war on Iraq. Already, a march against war of 400,000 was held in London.
Similar demonstrations have been held in Rome and Madrid. The general sentiment in Europe was summed up by the Greek Development Minister who said, "We are totally opposed to any military conflict ... even if there is a UN Resolution."
Around the world, the sentiment is no different. New Zealand's government opposes the war. No country in the Middle East supports a war on Iraq. Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all oppose a war. As do France, Russia and China.
International A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
The United States seems headed toward war against Iraq. But military action against Iraq could bring dire consequences for hungry and poor people—not only in Iraq, but around the world. As peacemakers and justice-seekers, Christians have a responsibility to weigh the ethical concerns raised by this impending war and make a faithful response.
War Causes Hunger
The developing world--already devastated by the global economic downturn, falling commodity prices, and the inability of governments to invest in education and health—cannot afford the costs and disruption of war. More than a billion people do not have access to clean drinking water, and about 2.5 billion people lack proper toilets or sewage systems. More than 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and there are 14 million AIDS orphans under the age of 14. Hunger daily stalks nearly 800 million people in the developing world. Every day 31,000 people die from preventable causes, half of them hunger-related. Terrorist attacks convinced President Bush that reducing poverty in the world is important to U.S. national security, and he has called for an increase in international development assistance. But the cost of war will make it more difficult for the president to live up to his new commitment to international development.
The U.S. economy is mired in a significant slump. Over the past two years, the stock market dropped sharply and unemployment rose steadily. In just over a year, the federal budget slid from a $236 billion surplus to a $165 billion deficit. A war against Iraq would add to the U.S. budget deficit and crowd out funding for programs that help hungry and poor people. Already, pressure is now increasing to cut programs that help hungry and poor people. Cash-strapped states are cutting social services. Emergency food pantries are reporting increases in the numbers of people seeking food, 40 percent of them from working families.
Even before the first bomb is dropped, the rush to war has hurt families who struggle with hunger and poverty. The only two appropriations bills that Congress approved in 2002 were for military spending. Committees in both houses agreed to increase development assistance, but the bill was not finalized. The U.S government does not even have sufficient funding to move available food to avert famine in southern Africa. Congress and the president also failed to finish their work on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reauthorization, the most important domestic hunger policy issue on their agenda in 2002. Congress and the president have been preoccupied with war and security. They are not paying attention to what's happening to poor people.
Hungry and poor people are being pushed aside in the rush to war. Where is the sense of urgency about their increased suffering?
If the United States goes to war, the cost could easily exceed the $60 billion incurred during the Gulf War, when U.S. allies footed two-thirds of the bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that a war against Iraq would cost at least $9 billion the first month and $8 billion each month thereafter. If the United States devoted each year the cost equivalent of just one month of a war against Iraq to debt relief for poor countries and to programs that improve health, education, agriculture, water, roads and sanitation, the lives of hungry and poor people around the world could be vastly improved.
--excerpted from Bread for the World newsletter, December 2002. (The full article, including action suggestions is posted on-line at www.bread.org ).
* In the Lehigh Valley: LEPOCO (Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern), 313 W. 4th St. , Bethlehem, PA 18015 www.lepoco.org 610-691-8730. LEPOCO is non-sectarian, but many church-related folks work with LEPOCO. LEPOCO has a monthly newsletter (not available by Email.)
* In the central Pennsylvania area there is a new Peace and Justice calendar, distributed monthly by e-mail. To receive the email calendar, send your request to Valerie Weaver-Zercher (firstname.lastname@example.org).
* National Council of Churches web site includes a schedule of New York area and national events:
Rev. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the NCCC, is an ordained United Methodist elder and former Pennsylvania Congressman.
* United for Peace -- web site includes national and state calendar of events related to stopping war with Iraq.
* Other Peace resources, including liturgy: www.ppjr.org/peace/
* For more information about the United Methodist involvement in war and peace issues, see the GBCS website, www.umc-gbcs.org or contact the Church and Society Work Team: Bob Walden, 610-861-0653, email@example.com
For Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, see the Iraq discussion on EPA webpage: www.epaumc.org.