Open Letter Opposing War in Iraq


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We the undersigned reject President Bush's argument for the necessity of a preemptive military strike against Iraq. We contend that the proposed war against Iraq is unwise, illegitimate, and unjust for the following reasons:

Military action to depose Saddam Hussein is not in the best interests of the United States, the Middle East, or the world.

An invasion of Iraq will likely lead to political instability in Iraq and the wider Middle East region. Iraq's neighbors such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan and even Kuwait have opposed a U.S. invasion. Were the U.S. to invade Iraq, we would likely see intensified conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, increased popular appeal of radical Islamic movements, and growing anti-Americanism worldwide. Far from insuring international security, a U.S. invasion of Iraq promises to make both the region and the world much less safe for the foreseeable future.

The Bush administration has not produced credible evidence that the Iraqi government has any links with Al Qaeda or international terrorism.

Osama Bin Laden himself has derisively called Saddam Hussein "an apostate and an infidel." It is highly unlikely that Hussein's secular Baathist regime, which has suppressed radical Islamist groups in Iraq, would maintain ties with Osama Bin Laden or Al Qaeda. The U.S. State Department's annual study found no act of international terrorism connected to the government of Iraq.

There is no credible evidence that Iraq poses a significant nuclear or biochemical weapons threat.

In 1998 the International Atomic Energy Agency declared Iraq's nuclear program completely dismantled. Iraq's military forces have been severely reduced since the Gulf War. The recently published report by the British Joint Intelligence Agency concluded that "while sanctions remain effective, Iraq would not be able to produce a nuclear weapon." And, even if sanctions were ended immediately "it would take Iraq at least five years to produce sufficient fissile material for a weapon."

The US insistence on the right to a preemptive, unilateral attack is in clear violation of international legal agreements and undermines the principle of collective international security.

International law expressly prohibits military action that is not undertaken in self-defense or in response to a clearly imminent attack. The Iraqi case does not meet either condition. A preemptive U.S. invasion of Iraq, then, goes against the core principles of international law and sets a dangerous precedent for future conflicts.

War against Iraq will exact enormous human costs.

Invasion means US forces would march on Baghdad, a city of 5 million people, and face bitter house-to-house fighting. Bombing such a densely populated area will likely result in horrifying numbers of civilian casualties.

A war against Iraq may advance the interests of U.S. oil companies and distract the American public from the economic and social ills that beset the nation, but it will not produce security for the people of the United States, the Middle East, and the world. Patriotism requires us to hold our government accountable, to stand up, speak out, and voice our opposition.

We call on all members of the community to make their voices heard and join us in opposing war against Iraq.

Richard Alba, Department of Sociology
Donna Armstrong, Department of Epidemiology
Judith E. Barlow,Department of English
G.J. Barker-Benfield, Department of History
Sylvia Barnard, Department of Classics
Iris Berger, Department of History
Ronald Berger, Department of History
Bret Benjamin, Department of English
Jim Bilik
Christine Bose, Department of Sociology
Peter D. Breiner, Department of Political Science
Alice Brody
Angie Chung, Department of Sociology
Jim Collins, Department of Anthropology
François Cooren, Department of Communications
Nancy Denton, Department of Sociology
Helen R. Desfosses, Department of Public Administration and Social Policy
Julie Elson
Judith Fetterley, Department of English
Helen Ghiradella, Department of Biology
Liliana R. Goldin, Department of Anthropology
Gwen Guillet
Richard Hamm, Department of History
Rosemary Hennessy, Department of English
David Hess, Social Scientist
Janell C. Hobson, Women's Studies
Pamela Howell
Shirley J. Jones, School of Social Welfare
Brian Keough, Department of Special Collections and Archives
Richard W. Lachmann, Department of Sociology
Lyn Miller-Lachmann
John Logan, Department of Sociology
Scott M. Lyon
Bruce L. Miroff, Department of Political Science
Sandra Nathan
Vivien W. Ng, Women's Studies
John Pipkin, Department of Geography and Planning
Lawrence Raffalovich, Department of Sociolgy
Lou Rose
Morton Schoolman, Department of Political Science
Steven Seidman, Department of Sociology
John Serio
Glenna Spitze, Department of Sociology
Leon Van Dyke, Africana Studies
James Wessman, Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Matt Willemain
Lawrence S. Wittner, Department of History
Gerald Zahavi, Department of History
James Zetka, Department of Sociology

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