US Labor Against the War
February 23, 2003
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing you as U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW), a coalition of unions with over 4.5 million members who have taken a stand on the war against Iraq. We are concerned by what we believe to be a rush to war on the part of your administration.
We are concerned that you have been advised by a small circle with narrow perspectives, and that you have been insulated from voices counseling patience, nonviolence, and respect for international law and institutions. Accordingly, we are writing to request a meeting with you personally, not with staff, as soon as possible, to discuss our views on a potential war with Iraq.
It should go without saying that we believe the regime of Saddam Hussein is exceptionally brutal and antithetical to the interests of the Iraqi people. Unfortunately, however, that does not make it unique. Nor does it provide cause for the United States to initiate a war against Iraq that is almost sure to inflict enormous suffering on the Iraqi people and especially their children.
We believe that there are no grounds for launching a preemptive attack against Iraq. There is no evidence that Iraq poses anything like an imminent threat to the United States.
We are firmly opposed to any unilateral military action by the United States against Iraq, or action that bypasses the UN Security Council. Where the exercise of force by states is necessary, if the twenty-first century is to be less marred by brutality than the twentieth, it is vital that military power be exercised with restraint and with authorization by legitimating international institutions.
In any case, there is no basis at this time for war with Iraq. The international inspections process is working. It should be given as much time as needed to succeed.
The United States should offer full support to the inspections process, not seek to undermine it by regularly asserting that inspections by definition cannot work. Your administration inappropriately works to de-legitimize the inspection process when it argues that, if inspectors fail to find evidence of weapons of mass destruction, then the inspections have failed. This pre-judgment of the outcome of the inspections — which implicitly insists there are grounds for attack against Iraq irrespective of what the inspectors discover, and irrespective of the Iraqi response to the inspectors’ conclusions — undermines the inspections’ efficacy, and suggests an inappropriate and immoral commitment to war, no matter what.
Finally, we note with deepest concern the prospect that the real risks to the United States rise sharply with war. Not only will our soldiers face real risks, but our homeland security will be seriously compromised. The CIA has projected increased risks of terrorist attacks against the United States in the event of war; common sense also suggests the risk, both from Iraq or its agents, and from terrorists with no connection to Iraq, will worsen.
War, then, is not only morally wrong, but a real threat to our national security. This threat to our national well being is a foreseeable consequence to war, for which we are certain you do not wish to be held accountable.
These are grave matters. Because the time table you have set for beginning this war, we hope to meet with you in the coming days to discuss them.
The U.S. Labor Against the War Continuations Committee