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YES! Magazine: 10 Questions Americans Are Asking

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 756 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... 10 QUESTIONS AMERICANS ARE ASKING As President Bush
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 10, 2002
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      As President Bush presses his case for a US attack on Iraq, Americans want
      answers to some basic questions. Here are some key facts relevant to 10
      basic questions, compiled by the staff of YES! magazine.

      You can find more details at <http://www.yesmagazine.org> along with a
      resource guide on actions you can take; statements by leading faith groups,
      veterans, and others; prayers and poems; and a visionary essay "From Empire
      to Earth Community" by David Korten, YES! magazine's board chair.

      Are these the sorts of questions you've been asking? If you find this
      message useful, please pass it on.


      1. Why go to war with Iraq now?
      2. Is Saddam Hussein a threat to the US or other countries?
      3. Will war with Iraq make us safer?
      4. What is the new Bush Doctrine?
      5. Does Saddam Hussein have links to Al Qaeda?
      6. What would war look like?
      7. Why aren't our allies standing with us on this war?
      8. What would it cost to go to war?
      9. What would we be fighting for?
      10. What alternatives are there to war?


      When asked at a Congressional Armed Services Committee hearing about what is
      now compelling the US to "take precipitous actions" against Iraq, Secretary
      of Defense Rumsfeld said, "What's different? What's different is 3,000
      people were killed." Is there a link to Al Qaeda and the events of 9/11? So
      far, the administration has produced no evidence (see question #5 on links
      to Al Qaeda).

      The administration also says Iraq every day is getting closer to having
      nuclear weapons. At a September 7 news conference, President Bush cited an
      International Atomic Energy Agency report as evidence that Hussein is only
      six months away from acquiring nuclear weapons. Later that month the IAEA
      stated that no such report exists. On October 4, the CIA released a report
      stating that Iraq does not possess nuclear weapons or the materials for
      making them, but could acquire nuclear weapons by 2010. The report also says
      that Iraq's ability to produce and store chemical weapons is probably less
      than it was before the Gulf War, but that its ability to produce biological
      weapons agents has grown in the last decade.

      Emerging from a meeting of members of the Senate Intelligence Committee with
      CIA Director George Tenet, Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill) said that the
      report does not tell the whole story and that some information that could
      weaken the Bush administration's case against Iraq remains classified.
      According to the Associated Press, Durbin commented, "It is troubling to
      have classified information which contradicts statements made by the

      READ MORE: http://www.YESMAGAZINE.ORG/iraq/morewhynow.htm


      Hussein has never attacked the United States, but has used weapons of mass
      destruction against Kurds within Iraq and against Iran during the Iran-Iraq
      war in the 1980s. He launched Scud missiles against Israel during the 1991
      Gulf War. He has not launched attacks against any nation since.

      Most observers believe that the threat is less than it was in 1991, when
      Iraq invaded Kuwait. The former head of the UN inspection team, Scott
      Ritter, states that 90 to 95 percent of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction
      were confirmed destroyed and that there is no evidence that Iraq retained
      any of its weapons or capacity for producing them. Because there have been
      no inspections since 1998, no one knows for sure just what Iraq has. Since
      1991, Iraq has not used weapons of mass destruction nor engaged in war with
      any other country. Due to 12 years of UN sanctions, Iraq is now an
      impoverished country, making a large-scale weapons program far less
      feasible, Ritter said.

      According to Brookings Institute analyst Michael O'Hanlon, Hussein has not
      funded Al Qaeda or other Islamic fundamentalist terrorists that target the
      US, but has given money to anti-Israeli terrorists. O'Hanlon said that
      Hussein has not passed weapons of mass destruction to those terrorists. The
      CIA report released October 4, 2002, says that Hussein has weapons that can
      target his neighbors, but none that can reach the US or Western Europe.

      READ MORE: http://www.YESMAGAZINE.ORG/iraq/moresaddamthreat.htm


      Will we be safer going to war and removing Saddam Hussein from power?
      General Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser to
      President Bush's father, warned that a war on Iraq could overwhelm US
      efforts to defeat global terror groups and risks a "conflagration in the
      Middle East."

      West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd warned that an Iraq war could result both
      in a civil war among Kurdish, Sunni, and Shiite factions in Iraq and in
      neighboring states. Faced with his removal from power and potential death,
      many observers believe Saddam Hussein might be pushed into using whatever
      weapons he may have at his disposal. Judging by his actions during the Gulf
      War, if attacked, Hussein is likely to attack Israel. Israeli leaders have
      said they would be less reluctant to retaliate, if attacked, and Israel is
      known to possess nuclear weapons.

      Osama bin Laden cited US military presence in Saudi Arabia and support for
      various Arab regimes in his call for jihad against the US. A war against
      Iraq is likely to inflame anti-American sentiment among Arabs and other
      Muslims, according to a number of experts, including Scowcroft.

      A full-scale war against Iraq, ouster of Saddam Hussein, and occupation
      would allow the US to eliminate any weapons of mass destruction. Would the
      world be more secure? A number of the Iraqi opposition leaders mentioned as
      members of a post-Saddam government are accused of playing roles in Iraq's
      atrocities. Among them is Nizar al-Khazraji, the top commander of the Iraqi
      army from 1980 to 1991, who is currently under investigation by the Danish
      government for war crimes. He's accused of carrying out the 1988 poison-gas
      attacks that killed thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq. Gen. Mahdi
      al-Duleimi, who claimed to Newsweek that his proposal for toppling Saddam
      has won high marks from the Bush administration, is accused of carrying out
      chemical weapons attacks as a general during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.

      READ MORE: http://www.YESMAGAZINE.ORG/iraq/moresafety.htm


      On September 20, President Bush unveiled a new National Security Strategy
      that for the first time asserts the US right of "preemption" and "defensive
      intervention," even where no "imminent threat" exists. "We will not hesitate
      to act alone, if necessary" the strategy declares, and states that "the best
      defense is a good offense." General John Shalikashvili, in his introduction
      to the new plan, says that it is a necessary adjustment to the newly
      unpredictable world context.

      The new policy has met with criticism from US allies. "The only superpower
      wants to make all the rules," said an editorial in the Japanese daily Asahi
      Shimbun. Newspapers from Paris to Dublin compared the US stance to Roman

      While the strategy document affirms that "America must stand firmly for the
      nonnegotiable demands of human dignity and the rule of law," the doctrine
      actually breaks with five centuries of international law, violates the UN
      Charter, and threatens to escalate the level of global conflict, according
      to a wide range of legal, military, and public policy experts, including
      Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman and General Brent Scowcroft. A preemptive
      strike against Iraq would mark the first exercise of the new strategic

      READ MORE: http://www.YESMAGAZINE.ORG/iraq/morebushdoctrine.htm


      So far no evidence of such a link has been produced, although members of the
      Bush administration have stated that there are links. According to a State
      Department report earlier this year, Hussein has not been involved in any
      terrorist plots against the West since his alleged attempt to assassinate
      President Bush's father during his 1993 visit to Kuwait. Hussein's regime
      is secular, and Muslim fundamentalists represent a threat to his power.

      READ MORE: http://www.YESMAGAZINE.ORG/iraq/morelinkalqaeda.htm


      Many analysts say that a second invasion of Iraq will be much more difficult
      than the first one. During the 1991 Gulf War, the US military sought only to
      expel the Iraqi force from territory it had invaded. Achieving the goal of
      "regime change" would likely require intense fighting in Hussien's home
      territory of Baghdad.

      Fighting in Baghdad, Iraqi soldiers would blend in with civilians and use
      them as human shields, according to Sharif Ali bin Al Hussein, a
      spokesperson for the opposition Iraqi National Congress, and British Member
      of Parliament George Galloway, who recently met with Hussein. Such guerilla
      fighting would make thousands of American deaths likely, as well as high
      casualties among Iraqi civilians. On notice that their survival was at
      stake, Hussein's military would likely fight bitterly.

      In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, General Brent Scowcroft, national
      security advisor to President Bush senior during the Gulf War, predicted
      that an attack on Iraq would likely prompt Hussein to use whatever weapons
      of mass destruction he has against Israel, a nuclear power, which in turn
      could unleash nuclear weapons on Iraq. Scowcroft warned that an American
      invasion of Iraq could create an "Armageddon in the Middle East."

      READ MORE: http://www.YESMAGAZINE.ORG/iraq/morelookofwar.htm


      Britain's prime minister Tony Blair is the only national leader supporting
      US plans for an invasion of Iraq. Blair said "The threat is real," and urged
      action against Hussein. The lonely posture of the US and Britain stands in
      sharp contrast to the Gulf War, in which the US was part of a coalition of
      allies that provided military and diplomatic support and 80 percent of the
      funding for the war.

      In September 2002, Iraq acquiesced to calls from many world leaders,
      including the Bush administration, for renewed and unfettered UN
      inspections. Our allies welcomed this development and urged the US to wait
      for the outcome of the inspections. The Bush administration has dismissed
      the offer and renewed its calls for invasion.

      Political leaders and press throughout the world have described the US
      stance as imperialist and a threat to world stability. US plans for
      unilateral action against Iraq "are introducing chaos in international
      affairs," said Nelson Mandela. (See question #4 on Bush doctrine). German
      Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has repeatedly said Germany would take no part
      in an invasion of Iraq. Many analysts have attributed Schoeder's recent
      election victory to his stance on Iraq. German Foreign Minister Joschka
      Fischer warned that a strike against Iraq would lead to a collapse of the
      anti-terror coalition and would be a violation of international law. Fischer
      is presently the most popular German politician.

      READ MORE: http://www.YESMAGAZINE.ORG/iraq/moreaboutallies.htm


      Officials at the Pentagon estimated the initial US military costs of a war
      with Iraq at $50 billion. The Democratic staff of the House Budget Committee
      estimates the war would cost between $48 and $93 billion. Lawrence Lindsey,
      Bush's chief economic advisor, told the Wall Street Journal in mid-September
      that the US might spend more than $100 billion to wage a war against Iraq.

      The proposed objectives for the war are the disarmament of Iraqi weapons of
      mass destruction and regime change, operations that military experts say
      would require hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops on the ground. Assuming
      US forces prevail, in the aftermath there would be peace-keeping and
      nation-building costs, estimated by Taxpayers for Common Sense as ranging
      from $10 to $20 billion per year.

      Operation Desert Storm, the 1991 war against Iraq led by US and Allied
      forces, cost $80 billion (in current US dollars) with 80 per cent of those
      costs paid by the Allies. So far there is no evidence that other nations are
      willing to share the financial burden of the current proposed assault on
      Iraq. In addition to financial costs, there are of course potentially
      significant costs in human life-military and civilian-and severe damage to
      the environment.

      READ MORE: http://www.YESMAGAZINE.ORG/iraq/morecostofwar.htm


      The Bush Administration says the Iraq regime is "actively developing weapons
      of mass destruction" and needs to be disarmed. Additionally, President Bush
      seeks "regime change" in Iraq.

      There is an enormous amount of speculation about other possible causes. Many
      American congressional leaders, former US military and civilian officials,
      veterans, civic groups, religious organizations and international
      policy-makers have suggested alternative motivations for war. These include
      access to oil in the region, the expansion of American power in the Middle
      East, the perceived financial benefits of war to US corporate interests, and
      ties between arms manufacturers and defense contractors to the Bush
      Administration, as well as the well-known links to energy companies.

      READ MORE: http://www.YESMAGAZINE.ORG/iraq/morefightingfor.htm



      Inspections have in the past successfully thwarted Iraq's use and
      development of weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein has not used
      biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons since these inspections were
      introduced following the 1991 Gulf War. Reintroduction of UN inspectors, led
      by neutral parties, offers the best hope for security, according to Scott
      Ritter, former head of the UN weapons inspection team. With a new and robust
      inspections system, the US could declare a victory without war, saving
      thousands of US and Iraqi lives, and promoting world perception of the US as
      tough but fair.

      The Rule of Law:

      In helping found the United Nations, the United States helped create a
      framework of international law to prevent aggression and promote peaceful
      cooperation among nations. "Great nations compete in peace instead of
      prepare for war," President Bush said in a speech in June of this year. The
      Bush administration's new military strategy emphasizes the danger of rogue
      states and terrorists. A number of international treaties for preventing
      terrorism, limiting weapons of mass destruction, and bringing international
      criminals to justice have been developed in recent years. These include the
      International Criminal Court, the International Convention on the
      Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, the International Convention for
      the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the
      Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and measures to strengthen the Biological
      Weapons Convention. So far the Bush administration has withdrawn from,
      refused to sign, or worked actively to undermine international support for
      all of these measures. What is needed is for the United States to build
      international support for the rule of law. The US, which is the world's
      largest exporter of weapons, could also take the lead in promoting controls
      on international trade in weapons. These steps could help eliminate weapons
      of mass destruction not just from Iraq but from the entire world.

      Promoting Peace:

      "I think the United States must be humble," Bush said during a televised
      presidential debate prior to the 2000 elections. "We must be proud and
      confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are
      figuring out how to chart their own course." Many leaders are now
      challenging the President to live up to those words. "Our great nation now
      has the opportunity to express leadership in the world by forging a foreign
      policy that seeks to reconcile and heal the world's divisions," said Frank
      Griswold, presiding bishop of the US Episcopal Church, as he expressed his
      church's opposition to unilateral war against Iraq. Rabbi Michael Lerner
      proposes a strategy for preventing terrorism that includes making "America
      the leading voice championing an ethos of generosity and caring for
      others-leading the world in ecological responsibility, social justice,
      open-hearted treatment of minorities, and rewarding people and corporations
      for social responsibility."

      READ MORE: http://www.YESMAGAZINE.ORG/iraq/morealternatives.htm

      For further information go to:


      YES! magazine
      PO Box 10818
      Bainbridge Island, WA 98110


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