Many of the this week’s critics of the Nonviolence Web are insisting that the U.S. needs to bomb Iraq in order to secure a future world of peace: “Are you an idiot? We needed to bomb them.
Otherwise, many more INNOCENT will eventually die at the hands of Saddam Hussein. Sometimes force is necessary in order to prevent much greater violence later.”
This is the logic that has brought us to most violent century in human existence. War is always fought for peace. Acts of violence are always justified with the argument that they’re preventing acts of violence later. We kill for peace. And they kill for peace. And as the death count rises we build even bigger and smarter bombs. And they build even bigger and smarter bombs.
The million-dollar cruise missiles going into Iraq aren’t go to hurt Saddam Hussein. He’s safely ensconced in one of his presidential palaces watching CNN (meanwhile, President Clinton sits in the White House watching CNN as well). All the cruise missiles in the U.S. Navy won’t bring Hussein from power.
It is the people of Iraq who feel the sting of these bombings. Just as it is them who have born the brunt of eight years of brutal sanctions. It is the mothers who suffer as they watch their children die because even the most basic medical supplies are non-existent. It is the little ones themselves suffering as yet another wave of bombs come raining down on their world from that abstract entity called the “U.S.”
American policy is wrong precisely because we are at war not with Saddam Hussein, but with the people of Iraq-the citizens, the poor and meek, the downtrodden and hurting.
The nation of Iraq will always have the technical know-how to build weapons of mass destruction. Because the fact is that we live in a world where every industrialized nation with a couple of smart chemistry Ph.D.‘s can build these bombs. India and Pakistan just a few months ago set off nuclear weapons, we know Israel has a stockpile. We can’t just bomb every country with a weapon of mass destruction or with the capacity to produce such a weapon.
We need to build a world of real peace, of peace between nations built on the rule of law, yes, but also on reconciliation. We need foreign policy that recognizes that it is the rulers and the policies of other nations with which we disagree. That recognizes that it is wrong to ever condemn a whole people for the excesses of their leaders.
A number of U.S. peace groups have called for today to be a day of National Mourning and Protest. Let us gather to remember that we stand together in solidarity with those suffering in Iraq. Let us vigil quietly and then yell out loudly that war to end war is wrong.
End the Sanctions. Stop the Bombing. Declare peace with the Iraqi People.