Stop the bombing -- Stop the war

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2003-03-28

Dear Editor [Highland Park IL News],

Forbidding pre-emptive war as a tool of foreign policy is the centerpiece of almost every international agreement, not to mention the Preamble to the UN Charter and the Charter itself -- to which the United States has been a signatory for over 50 years.

The frenzied violation of the principles of this Charter -- second in enormity only to the atrocity of the war campaign itself -- is what the US government has committed and continues to commit against a poor country ruled by a tyrant whom we placed into power, and who for more than 25 years we have continued to richly and actively support in full knowledge of the oppression by him of his people -- until, suddenly, for public consumption he was morphed into a "Hitler" by our government spokesmen and had to be removed by bloody invasion which could not await the completion of the work of the UN inspections.

"Shock and awe" cruise missile night-and-day bombardment of a densely located, fearful and pitiable civilian population, the placing of our own youth into harm's way, the wanton destruction of ancient cities, the callous bankrupting of our country's badly needed resources for years to come in the pursuit of this war and its aftermath, etc., etc. -- and the government's rationale for all of it -- that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction -- shown to be empty of evidence and, in fact, orchestrated deception.

So what do we say to those government spokesmen and even some Democratic Party pundits who tell us that now that the war IS, we should stop criticizing it and just "support our troops"?

We say that, in the words of one stout-hearted columnist, "By what logic, moral or otherwise, is a war that millions thought to be unjustified and immoral even before it occurred now made justified and moral by the fact that it is occurring? Does the fact of a conflict-in-progress nullify all questions about that conflict's legitimacy?"

We believe that we in the Peace Movement are more supportive of our troops than the pro-war group because we want them OUT of harm's way and never wanted them to be placed there in the first place.

We in this country who oppose this abomination, but could not prevent it, can and will continue to make our opposition to its immorality known, as do and will the many millions of people of conscience around the world.

That among the other hypocrisies we see our government commit which we feel the need to speak out against, we will also actively continue to try to prevent allowing our country to become accustomed to pre-emptive war as a natural instrument of foreign policy. The sanity, the very future of the world depend on it.

And now we say: Stop the bombing -- Stop the war -- as we said during an earlier era of the Vietnam War -- Bring our troops home and out of harm's way. Because the only response to atrocity committed in our name is a principled one. And in this we also join with the pope.