...on the record...
Haven't been paying attention to the misinformation spread by the United States government. Haven't been paying to the plagiarized British intelligence dossier on Iraq, taken from three academic articles, on written by a graduate student, two of which were based on information from 1991, the dossier that Secretary of State Colin Powell announced was a "fine report."
Haven't been paying attention to the documents the United States used to allege that Hussein was buying Uranium from Niger, documents that were forged, so badly forged that no one suspects U.S. intelligence of forging them because surely such a well funded organization could come up with more believable forgeries.
Haven't been paying attention to the claims made by Colin Powell and President George W. Bush that Iraq was purchasing aluminum tubes with specifications that suggested they were being used for uranium enrichment, a claim that International Atomic Energy Inspectors hotly dispute, saying that these particular tubes have incredibly bad specifications for uranium enrichment and couldn't be used for such a purpose without substantial modification.
Haven't been paying attention to the fact that the validity of this war is questioned by retired General Norman Schwarzkopf and retired General Anthony Zinni. Or that it is opposed by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, former Vice President Al Gore, former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, former U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler, current U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, former CIA analyst and leaker of the Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, Pope John Paul II, Bishop Desmond Tutu, former South African President Nelson Mandela, and forty-one Nobel laureates.
Haven't paid attention to the fact that this war is not only opposed by a majority of the people of France and Germany, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Portugal, but also the majorities of the people in coalition members Spain and Britain.
Haven't paid attention to the fact that we are not stopping Turkey from sending troops into Northern Iraq to prevent a Kurdish uprising that may spread to the greatly oppressed Kurdish population in southeastern Turkey. Or that we were willing to give enormous aid in return for the use of military bases to a country (Turkey) that brutalizes Kurds as badly as Iraq does.
Haven't remembered that after President George H. W. Bush encouraged Iraqi citizens to revolt in 1991, they did -- and were slaughtered by the tens of thousands while we did nothing to aid them as forced Iraq out of Kuwait.
Haven't been paying attention to the continuing turmoil and setbacks in the newly "liberated" Afghanistan, nor that our President, after promising to "liberate" and "rebuild" that nation as a shining example of freedom, failed to budget one dollar this year to go toward that purpose.
I oppose a policy of preemption that sets the bar of "potential threat" so low that it virtually allows us to invade any country at will with no justification. Such a policy will one day, if it isn't already, be used to justify an invasion with a purpose that is far from noble or righteous. Such as an invasion of Venezuela (holder of the fourth largest oil reserves on the planet). The policy of preemption would justify an Indian invasion of Pakistan, a Russian invasion of Chechnya, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, a British invasion of Ireland, an Arab invasion of Israel, an Israeli invasion of any Arab country, and a United States invasion of any country capable of acquiring box cutters and airline tickets. Such a policy will most definitely be used at some point -- again, if not now -- for the purposes of aggressive and immoral domination.
I oppose this attempt to "liberate" the Iraqi people. As Bishop Desmond Tutu said, when the oppressed in South Africa wanted support against apartheid, they did not ask anyone to bomb them. It is immoral and wrong for us to decide exactly how many Iraqis should die for their independence and freedom. That is something for the Iraqi people to decide. I do hope that they achieve liberty, and when they rise up against their dictator, we should support them -- militarily, if necessary -- as we should have when they revolted in 1991. Should have but didn't.
The United States is a fine country with many moral and just people in it. But precious few of those people are well enough acquainted with the realities of the Middle East that we alone should be deciding who lives or dies in matters that do not directly affect us. Far too many have died in the modern world because the ignorant and over-eager felt a desire to impose their will on a people they did not know and did not understand.
I oppose this war on practical grounds. I oppose this war on moral grounds. And I admonish those of my fellow Americans that have been reading the headlines, but not the stories; listening to the rhetoric, but not the facts; and waving the flag, but failing to observe the principles of self-determination in government that led to that flag's very existence. I admonish my fellow Americans for not paying attention, and for thinking that they can rule the world -- and rule it fairly -- without paying attention.
Now that war is upon us, I can only hope and pray that U.S. soldiers return home safely and alive, that innocent Iraqi civilians survive the ordeal and do one day thrive in a free society, and that one day the world can forgive us this great transgression.