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The Case Against War
And How We Can Convince Our Neighbors and Networks to Act

(created by Friends for a Non-Violent World)
3-14-03

Phil Steger, Executive Director,
Friends for a Non-Violent World
(Phone) 651-917-0383
(Fax) 651-917-0379
(Email)
www.fnvw.org

Friends,

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 eventually.

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 don’t 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… Over the 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 world’s 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 to act

Hi, my name is _______. I don’t represent any organization. I’m just your neighbor, and I’m 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. He’s said that there’s a connection between Al Qaida and Iraq. That’s may be true. But the Osama tape shows bin Laden calling Muslims to defend their brothers and sisters from “unjust war”, while denouncing Saddam’s “pagan government”, and seems to be using a war on Iraq as a tool of universal recruitment against America. What the president hasn’t 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. What’s 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 what’s necessary to prevent it.

I don’t think that the president has made his case. I don’t know what his real intentions are, but his actions don’t 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 me:

  • 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 Hussein’s past behavior.
    1. 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.
    2. Instead of punishing Iraq for using chemical weapons in its war against Iran, President Reagan sent Donald Rumsfeld to Baghdad to shake Hussein’s 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, 9/23/02).
    3. 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.
    4. 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 Iraq’s 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.
    5. 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 him.
    6. 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.
    7. Much has been made of Tenet’s 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 they’re supposed to prevent, killing both Americans whom President Bush orders into harm’s way, and Americans here at home.
    8. 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 world’s 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 Saddam’s government (New York Times (2/12/03, Neil MacFarquhar, A16).
      • iii. CONCLUSION Bin Laden doesn’t care if Saddam is killed. He’d like to see the regime fall. He’d like to see America do it. He is using America to recruit terrorists and to inflame Muslim anger against the US. He’s 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.
    1. 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 of sanctions.
    2. Clean water supply, sewage removal and treatment, food production and health care are all in a situation of near-complete dereliction.
    3. Infant mortality rates and child malnutrition are 2 ½ + times higher now than they were before the Gulf War.
    4. 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).
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    1. 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 Saddam’s 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 Iraq’s rivals and enemies, Iraq will seek weapons of mass destruction.
      • iii. This should stop. The Security Council resolution that calls for Iraq’s disarmament actually calls for the disarmament of the entire region.
    2. 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 Iraq.
      • 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 world’s 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 Hussein’s rule to begin to challenge it.
    3. 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.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 protests.
    4. 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.
    5. We should get ourselves and our friends out into the streets!
      • i. We can help! E-mail lists through FNVW, info@fnvw.org.
    6. 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 they’re based in emotion. The administration deliberately preys on people’s 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 you’ve organized and what you might need.
      • iii. We should let our neighborhood newspapers know about these meetings and the activities of neighbors organizing against war.
    7. 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.

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