I was not impressed with President Bush’s recent speech or his arguments to justify a war on Iraq. The President did not present any compelling arguments for war, but capitalized on our fear of terrorism. He did not present feasible peaceful alternatives nor did he outline the risks in the form of intended and unintended consequences. I still oppose the war on Iraq because it is immoral and illegal, and because it will add more misery to an already miserable world and more uncertainty to an already frustrated and uncertain American public.
An unprovoked (pre-emptive) war on Iraq will be immoral, for we will be attacking a sovereign country simply because we do not like its leader. This will obviously be the first war of many to come because there are many leaders in this world whom we do not like and who do not like us. Most likely, there are other countries with whom our reputation as a nation with moral character has been severely tarnished and where our policies are looked upon with contempt and disgust. Contrary to our administration’s rationalization, these countries admire our democracy and liberties and look upon us, the people of the United States, with admiration and envy. They admire the principles on which this country was founded and which are embodied in our Constitution. However, they do look upon our government as arrogant, our foreign policies as imperialist, and some of our allies as ‘bad company’ from whose policies we should dissociate ourselves. Like their people, most of the leaders of such countries do not like us either, regardless of their diplomatic efforts to portray themselves and their feelings otherwise, because of our arrogance. The war on Iraq will be immoral because our leaders, the leaders of the greatest superpower that has existed on the face of this planet, have lied about their objective from launching this war. They claim that they will wage war to destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction while in fact they have imperial motives of economic, military and political nature unrelated to the stated objective.
An unprovoked war on Iraq will be illegal for it violates every principle of international law. The United Nations Organization was created with the objective of ending all armed international conflicts by negotiations and peaceful conflict resolution. If the United Nations authorizes an unprovoked war on Iraq, it will have defeated the purpose for which it was created. If the United Nations Organization is truly interested in peace, it would force Israel, our closest ally, to end its occupation of the land and people it conquered and which the UN has told it to vacate on several occasions, to no avail. If any country is in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, and should be forced to comply with them and with the UN Charter, it is the state of Israel. Why are we and the United Nations impotent in the face of Israel’s defiance?
The unprovoked war on Iraq will be the first in a series of steps, to be used by these United States, which will subordinate other countries and peoples to our economic, political and military interests, all for the sake of dominating the world through the establishment of the American Empire. Many of us or our fathers or our ancestors came to this country to escape the rule of what were invincible evil empires wreaking havoc on their imperial subjects through discrimination, genocide, persecution, empire-building and expansionism through intimidation and conquests. Many of us or our ancestors left the British Empire and the European colonial rule, the Ottoman Empire and its atrocities, and the evil communist Soviet empire and its totalitarian rule, to escape their evil imperial intentions and practices. We have strayed so far away from the principles which our founding fathers established for us in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Neither we the people, nor our friends, nor our enemies, see any resemblance of these principles in our present policies or our hidden objectives. We are being taken back to the era when nations took their armies to conquests to develop their economic interests. We the people, because of our indifference or silence, are in danger of becoming the conquistadors, the conquerors of peoples who have what we covet. Iraq, and the countries of the Arabian Gulf all have the resource that we do not have but which we are eager to own, even illegally. Iraq is only the first step in our imperial objective, and then come the other countries.
An unprovoked war on Iraq will add misery to the world through destruction of lives and property, ours and theirs. Further, we will, willingly or not, provide a cover for the Zionist expansionists in Israel to transfer the Palestinians out of their ancestral homes in Israel and in the West Bank and Gaza. While the world has been pre-occupied with the manufactured crisis in Iraq, the Israeli military has been busy setting a new record in committing atrocities through closures, house demolitions, separation and extended curfews. A war on Iraq and its people will provide further cover for the Israeli war monger, the butcher of Sabra and Shattilla, to commit new atrocities against the Palestinians.
An unprovoked war on Iraq will create more enemies for our people because of our newly found imperialist policies, further adding to our people’s frustration and confusion about the reasons why our people in these United States are becoming targets of hatred and terrorism.
Our new imperialist policies are tantamount to robbing nations of their sovereignty and will result in returning the community of nations to the rule of the jungle where ‘might makes right.’ Our arrogance has found no bounds, our ambition no moral or legal limits. Today it is Iraq, tomorrow it is the others. As the leader of the world, we may find it easy to start our hostility and belligerence; but once we start, will we ever see the end?
Michael S. Ladah is a Friends Boys School graduate (class of 1958). He is the author of “Quicksand, Oil and Dreams: The Story of One of Five Million Dispossessed Palestinians.”