The Case Against War
And How We Can Convince Our Neighbors and Networks to Act
(created by Friends for a Non-Violent World)
Phil Steger, Executive Director,
Friends for a Non-Violent World
This is a script-guide to make the most powerful case against war that
we know how to make. It guides you through approaches to take; down to
the very tone you set when you begin your discussions. It provides facts,
figures and sources and ends with what we believe are the actions that
can have the most immediate impact on preventing war. Please use it. DO
NOT BE AFRAID. The only thing to fear is the loss of this opportunity
to prevent a true horror whose impacts, beyond the unimaginable fear,
grief and loss of ordinary Iraqis are certain to hit home for all of us
We suggest that you begin with those people who already belong to your
circle and/or network of friends, families or associates who you believe
to already have serious misgivings about war, or with people in your neighborhood
who, by way of lawn signs or other indications, you know to oppose war.
Begin small, in groups of 4 or 5, and begin immediately, within the next
4 or 5 days. Our guess is that if we dont prevent it, the order
will be given to begin the violence on March 3rd, the new moon. You will
find below the most immediate, high-impact actions we think you can make.
Get your networks to complete them with you.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke the following about the Vietnam War
at Riverside Church on April 4th, 1967, exactly one year before he was
assassinated. We have replaced Vietnam with Iraq.
May his words and the near-identical reality we face today fill you with
his strength, courage and spirit:
We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now
bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written
the pathetic words, Too late.
We still have a choice
today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.
We must find new ways to speak for peace in Iraq and justice throughout
the developing world a world that borders on our doors. If we do not
act we shall surely be drawn down the long dark and shameful corridors
of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might
without morality, and strength without sight.
Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and
bitter and beautiful struggle for a new world
Shall we say the
odds are too great? Shall we tell (the worlds poor) the struggle
is too hard? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope,
of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever
the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise
we must choose in this crucial moment of history.
- February 14, 2003
Network mobilization guide
The case against war and how we can convince our neighbors and networks
Hi, my name is _______. I dont represent any organization. Im
just your neighbor, and Im concerned about war. War impacts all
of us. Many of our relatives and friends will be fighting in it, and possibly
dying in it. The president has said Saddam Hussein is a threat. I can
see that. Hes said that theres a connection between Al Qaida
and Iraq. Thats may be true. But the Osama tape shows bin Laden
calling Muslims to defend their brothers and sisters from unjust
war, while denouncing Saddams pagan government,
and seems to be using a war on Iraq as a tool of universal recruitment
against America. What the president hasnt said is how war on Iraq
is going to solve the problem of Al Qaida or of weapons of mass destruction
in the Middle East. Whats certain is that tens of thousands of innocent
Iraqis will be killed, hundreds of thousands will face starvation and
millions will experience a kind of terror that only those who were in
New York City on 9/11 can imagine. Meanwhile, the CIA warned Congress
on October 7th that war will actually provoke chemical and biological
attacks on our troops and on us here in America that US intelligence believes
Saddam Hussein will be otherwise too scared to deliver. Many believe that
war will increase instability and anger and is almost certain to lead
to new and increased terror against us. Because of all this, I think that
we really need to get together as family, friends and neighbors to talk
about war, and to do whats necessary to prevent it.
I dont think that the president has made his case. I dont
know what his real intentions are, but his actions dont add up to
a real effort to keep America safe, or to make peace in the world. I wish
it were otherwise, but the following facts really present a problem for
- In US intelligence testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee
October 7th, CIA director George Tenet revealed the nearly unanimous
belief that Saddam Hussein will attack Americans, or help others to
do so, only if the US first attacks Iraq. They base this on Saddam Husseins
- When Saddam Hussein has invaded other countries or used chemical
weapons in the past, it was when he had the backing of the United
States and when his enemies were vulnerable or isolated, or when
he was at war with them.
- Instead of punishing Iraq for using chemical weapons in its war
against Iran, President Reagan sent Donald Rumsfeld to Baghdad to
shake Husseins hand, and give him a hand-written letter from
the president saying things were going to be fine, the US would
stand behind Saddam (How Saddam Happened, Newsweek,
- Saddam Hussein knows better than anybody that if he uses weapons
of mass destruction against the US, or if a terrorist does with
or without his backing the US will destroy him. Totally.
- Saddam Hussein is a thoroughly secular, Arab nationalist leader
who has violently purged Iraq of fundamentalist Islamic opposition
of the Al Qaida/ Osama bin Laden variety. After Iraqs invasion
of Kuwait, before the Gulf War, Osama bin Laden pushed the Saudi
Arabian king for the opportunity to deal with Hussein himself, instead
of letting the US and its allies do it. I cannot believe, nor does
the CIA, that Saddam would let Osama bin Laden, Al Qaida, or anybody
outside his regime control his weapons of mass destruction.
- Hussein is neither stupid, nor suicidal. He loves power, and rose
to be the supreme ruler of one of the wealthiest nations on Earth.
And that wealth belongs to him, so long as he lives. He would not
jeopardize his wealth or his life, simply for the sake of striking
out against America. Unless the president orders US troops to unseat
- The CIA and other US intelligence fully expect that if US forces
seem about to topple his rule, then Hussein will unload his arsenal
on those troops and to kill as many Americans as he can. They also
expect him to destroy his oil wells, to try to destroy Saudi oil
wells, to attack Israel and put biological and chemical weapons
into the hands of terrorists for the purpose of killing Americans
here on home soil.
- Much has been made of Tenets recent, apparent backing of
Bush administration claims with CIA intelligence ("Top US Officials
Tell Lawmakers of Iraq-Qaeda Ties: CIA Chief, in Most Explicit Statement
Yet, Says He Has Evidence of Connection", by David Johnston,
The New York Times, 2/12/03, pg. A1.), A simple reading of his actual
statements show that he has merely said that there do exist connections,
though none of them direct, between Al Qaida and Iraq "Words
of CIA and FBI Chief: Dangers America Faces from Al Qaeda,"
transcripts of Senate select intelligence committee testimony ran
on page A16 of 2/12 New York Times. NOTHING he has said recently,
amends his October conclusions: namely, that bombing and invading
Iraq will provoke the terror and mass destruction attacks theyre
supposed to prevent, killing both Americans whom President Bush
orders into harms way, and Americans here at home.
- The president and the press are saying that the Osama bin Laden
tape demonstrates an alliance between Al Qaida and Iraq. In fact,
it demonstrates almost the opposite.
- i. The tape calls for the worlds Muslims to defend the
Muslims in Iraq from an unjust war.
- ii. It calls Hussein and his government, ignorant,
pagan, a socialist infidel, and warns
those who would fight to defend Iraq, not to defend Saddams
government (New York Times (2/12/03, Neil MacFarquhar, A16).
- iii. CONCLUSION Bin Laden doesnt care if Saddam is killed.
Hed like to see the regime fall. Hed like to see
America do it. He is using America to recruit terrorists and
to inflame Muslim anger against the US. Hes trying to
show America to be not just an enemy of Al Qaida, but an enemy
of Muslims everywhere (ibid).
- The humanitarian impact on the Iraqi people will not just be harsh,
it will be catastrophic.
- Iraqis are badly weakened from the impact of the 10-year war with
Iran, the 100-day devastation of the Gulf War and the deprivations
- Clean water supply, sewage removal and treatment, food production
and health care are all in a situation of near-complete dereliction.
- Infant mortality rates and child malnutrition are 2 ½ +
times higher now than they were before the Gulf War.
- The UN estimates that American bombing will kill or critically
injure 500,000 civilians, create 900,000 refugees, and force 4½
to 9 million people, mostly pregnant and nursing mothers and children,
into famine conditions ("U.N. Sees 500,000 Iraqi Casualties
at Start of War", Irwin Arieff, January 7, 2003, Reuters).
- The Pentagon plan for invasion is built around an operation they
call, Shock and Awe. This calls for dropping 3000 bombs
and missiles, over 800,000 tons worth, on Baghdad alone in
two days (CBS Evening News, January 27, 2003). This will be more
than all the bombs dropped on all of Iraq during the 100 days of
the Gulf War, and more than all of the bombs dropped during all
of World War II.
- How can the terror, the fire, the ceaseless, ear-drum splitting
shrieks and explosions of 3000 missiles and bombs exploding on a
city of 4 million, the death of hundreds of thousands, the starvation
of hundreds of thousands more stabilize Iraq, make it more peaceful,
more democratic? How can these catastrophes stabilize the Middle
East, and pave the way to peace and security for the US, the region
and the world?
- There are other ways to resolve this crisis with Iraq that minimize
the losses, and maximize the possibilities of positive outcomes.
- We must stop selling arms to Middle Eastern dictators.
- i. So long as Iraq has oil, and its neighbors have arms, Iraqi
rulers and leaders will seek weapons of mass destruction as
a deterrent against invasion, whether Saddams in power,
or someone else is.
- ii. So long as the US, our allies and other permanent members
of the Security Council continue to sell weapons of mass destruction
and other arms to Iraqs rivals and enemies, Iraq will
seek weapons of mass destruction.
- iii. This should stop. The Security Council resolution that
calls for Iraqs disarmament actually calls for the disarmament
of the entire region.
- We must lift the economic sanctions on Iraq.
- i. While enforcing a military and arms embargo, the US must
move the Security Council to lift the economic sanctions on
- ii. UNICEF, in its 2002 report on The Situation of Children
in Iraq, reports that the past decade has seen the emergence
of a large body of stunted, wasted and impoverished children
in violation of their rights to life and survival, and
urged the international community to, review the contribution
of sanctions to de-development in Iraq, so as to ensure that
the United Nations is not supporting a violation of the human
rights of the Iraqi people.
- iii. Nothing has contributed to American alienation from the
rest of the world as much as our support for sanctions, which
evidence gathered by UNICEF and other UN agencies as well as
the worlds most respected non-governmental humanitarian
organizations overwhelming conclude have caused unimagined hardship
and death for the Iraqi people.
- iv. According to the UN Secretary General, the effects of
sanctions and embargos on dictatorships like Iraq invariably
increase the dictators power over their subjects, by increasing
their control over information and the media, and by their control
of illegal markets. Did the Prohibition eliminate alcohol consumption
and sales? No. It created the Mob and organized crime.
- v. Lifting sanctions would enable the 24 million people in
Iraq who gain no benefit from Husseins rule to begin to
- We must provide long-term attention to and support for the Iraqi
people, and apply meaningful, international, nonviolent pressures
upon the Iraqi government to respect human rights.
- i.The historical record shows that where people have the backing
of the international community, and where dictators reprisals
against them are exposed and condemned, the people find the
room and power to overthrow their rulers this has happened recently
in Chile, the Philippines and Yugoslavia, against dictators
as brutal and repressive as Saddam Hussein.
- ii. In other words, if we impose an arms embargo, and lift
sanctions, we must not then abandon the Iraqi people. Their
liberty and our security depends upon it.
- We must prevent President Bush from starting this war.
- We should call the White House daily to promise that we
will spare no efforts to peacefully depose him in 2004 should he
order our troops to war and their possible, mass death and cause
the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis. (202)
456-1111, or (202) 456-1414.
- We should call our congressmembers, especially Sen. Norm Coleman
(651) 645-0766 weekly, if not daily, to let them know
of this and to pressure them to oppose him.
- We should call an immediate meeting of four or five friends or
family members who we know are very uneasy about war, but who are
not acting against it and, with the above information, bring them
to join us in making calls, putting up signs and attending and promoting
- We should put out Say No to War signs in our
yards and windows indicating our opposition to war, thereby helping
create the space for our neighbors to do so, too.
- We should get ourselves and our friends out into the streets!
- i. We can help! E-mail lists through FNVW, email@example.com.
- We should organize those in our neighborhoods and networks whom
we know who oppose the war
- i. Look for those in your area who have Say No to
War , or other indicating signs. Go to their houses,
apartments or rooms directly and invite them to work with you
on canvassing the rest of your neighborhood, apartment building
and dorm. Set up a meeting that will give, neighbor-to-neighbor,
the facts. Avoid rhetorical or provocative symbols or language.
Speak from concern and compassion. Build your case on facts
and respect disagreements, especially when theyre based
in emotion. The administration deliberately preys on peoples
fear. Have compassion for those on whom this is working. For
those who attend and who agree, move them to immediate action.
- ii. FNVW can help to you. Let us know what youve organized
and what you might need.
- iii. We should let our neighborhood newspapers know about
these meetings and the activities of neighbors organizing against
- We should hold our major media outlets accountable to their responsibility
to provide accurate representation of the Iraq threat, the costs
of war, and the nonviolent options at our disposal, as well as of
true scale and diversity of the opposition to war, by calling, faxing
and mailing them our letters and opinions of their coverage.
Member Opinion "Peaces"