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Tue, 01 Apr 2003 People of Iraq: Please Give Up

I just heard a commentator on the BBC speaking about how he believed the Iraqui perception that the war is going badly here in the U.S. may be giving them the impression that it will be possible to force the U.S. to abandon the war prior to fulfilling its objectives, and thus fighting with greater ferocity and dying in greater numbers.

They probably think that America lives in a democracy and that anti-war voices will sway the administration in the short run, and that if the war goes badly for us and appears to drag on, resulting in a lot of American troops dead, we'll lose our stomach for it and end this tragedy.

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth, at least until the next American election in 2004. That is far too long and far too many Iraquis could die. Therefore, I feel compelled to make the following statement, addressed to the people of Iraq:

People of Iraq,

Please, surrender. Show no signs of resistance; welcome the coalition forces, even if they commit atrocities against your people and your families; do not attack them, even if they have destroyed your homes and brought you starvation and terror; even if they have used weapons of mass destruction against you on the field of battle; don't fight; don't throw away your lives in suicide bombings; don't attack. Our forces are strong; there are more where they came from. They will kill without mercy; more will come. They are frightened; fear will make them lash out in violence. Act calmly around our soldiers. Move slowly. In this situation of anger and fear, many of you have already died, and more could die, due to a misunderstood gesture or action. We want as many of you as possible to continue to live. DO NOT FIGHT BECAUSE YOU BELIEVE THE AMERICAN PEACE MOVEMENT MAY BRING AN END TO THE WAR. This may happen, but it will not happen soon. We were not able to stop the war from happening. We will continue to try and bring an end to this madness, but we are not confident. Why?

We are rational, sensible American people who are opposed to killing for economic reasons and opposed to our own government's terrorist atrocities, and don't believe we should be fighting this war. But we have lost all control of our government. Let me repeat that: WE HAVE LOST ALL CONTROL OF OUR OWN GOVERNMENT, AND OUR MILITARY. Our President, whom we did not elect, is not acting in accordance with our wishes, and our elected representatives are doing nothing to respond to the voices of sanity here in America. The terrorists who attacked America on September 11th, 2001, have won; they've gotten their way; they innoculated America with terror, and that terror has spread and infected and metastatized like a cancer, and burst forth, and we are now spreading that terror elsewhere. America is a rogue state and a terrorist; possibly the biggest and most dangerous that world has ever known. It did not need to happen this way, but it has happened this way.

Our own Congress, the body that the wise men who wrote our constitution invested with the exclusive power to declare war, has executed its own "preemptive strike" and handed the president the authority to do anything he pleases with our military, all in the name of "the war on terror", and all out of fear. The administration has lied to us and convinced many of us that Iraq is an immediate danger to the security of the United States: so great a threat that the regime of a sovereign nation halfway around the world, who has not attacked us, is now an issue of the utmost importance. Never mind that most of the evidence to support the war is completely false; the lies have been told, and Americans have chosen to believe them. These are not the real reasons, but the coalition will still fight just as viciously. America is promoting a whole new military strategy, the pre-emptive, "preventive" war, as if using violence could prevent violence. We are in gross breach of international law, but America has no more respect for international law. Our contempt for the world will haunt us for decades to come, and it is hard to believe, but the war-mongering rhetoric of the first President Bush about "the rule of law" and "naked aggression will not stand" and "a new world order" now seems like a distant memory of a happier and saner time in comparison to these dark and vicious days. We are the naked aggressors; we follow no laws; our new world is disordered.

Rational debate has all but evaporated now in the frenzy of television coverage for the war. American public opinion actually seems to support the war now, although I believe that much of this support is "soft" and will dry up as the war progresses and people come to the realization that a war, especially an illegal war, cannot be won without horrific bloodshed. But please make no mistake: THIS WILL NOT STOP OUR ADMINISTRATION. They are far beyond the reach of such moral appeals. They are committing war crimes, but there is no court that will ever try them. People of conscience and compassion are marching in our cities to protest this heartbreaking war, but they are called "sympathizers" with your tyrant, Saddam Hussein. Many more feel in their hearts that what America is doing is not right. Let me make that point again: WHAT AMERICA IS DOING IS NOT RIGHT, IT IS NOT MORAL, AND IT IS NOT LEGAL. But America will continue doing it for the forseeable future; for your own safety, please get out of the way. Let them do what they have come to do; they will tire of it; they have short attention spans. We can't even remember to rebuild Afghanistan after destroying it yet again; we can't remember to provide the humanitarian aid that we promised, and as our own administration has said, we have no real interest in "nation-building." We are on a mission of destruction, not reconstruction. It will not last forever.

American intellectuals are, for the most part, going unheard. We're talking, but mostly to each other. No one else will listen to us. Please listen: our president is out of control. He has been badly duped and deceived by cynical pro-war hawks who have been planning a kind of coup since the Reagan adminstration; they actually believe that America single-handedly destroyed the former Soviet Union and that after this success it is our duty to use our military might to do whatever we please, anywhere in the world. We did not elect these people. They have views that are strange to us; they bring together the worst parts of unquestioned support for the Israeli regime, support for the merchants of international arms that profit from suffering, and support for the companies that paid to bring George W. Bush, their puppet and pawn, into office. They may even believe that it is their task to help bring about the end of the world. They speak with the language of religion, but they are godless and lawless. These rogues are the power behind the throne. They answer to no one. Their delusions regarding the power of military intervention to bring about peace and justice are clearly nonsensical, but they know no bounds, as if a lie grown monstrous could someday aspire to truth. President Bush is a fool who does not understand history or politics, but yet he is in charge of nuclear weapons, depleted uranium, fuel-air explosives, cluster bombs, chemical agents, and other weapons of mass destruction. He believes that the tyrant Saddam Hussein is a kind of Hitler, but he is too stupid to understand that he himself has become an agent of all that is darkest and cynical and violent.

If this was not bad enough, he himself actually believes that God has chosen him to be his agent on earth, and that God is on the side of the aggressor. This has never been true, but he believes it is true, and that is all that counts. His language is the language of Jihad. He believes that to invade Iraq at this historical moment and express America's vengeance will be his glorious legacy. To do so he is sacrificing money for schools, for veterans, for the poor. What little is left has been promised to cut our taxes, but these cuts will mostly help the very rich. He does not know what it is that he is doing. America is not asking for this. America is exploding with impotent rage and fear and our government has bottled up that fear, and poured it back down our throats, until we have come to believe that revenge is the path of righteousness, even revenge against the wrong people. And at the same time that we lash out at the world, as we realize that we cannot dominate, terrorize, and control the entire world, our fear is turning inward. Americans are losing many of the glorious freedoms that we cherish in a free and open society. We are beginning to live in fear of what our own government is going to do next; we wake up every day in fear of our own newscasts, because we know that this is not the nation that we loved and we can no longer trust our leaders to do anything but hasten the rot and profit from the suffering.

Our only hope is that intellectuals, rational people, and peace-loving people will be able to get rid of our president and his mercenary crew of thieves at the next election, at the end of 2004. We have less than two years left. I hope that our victory will be decisive, and I hope that America will have a better leader to offer the world. I hope that God will see fit to forgive our president for what he has done and what he has allowed to happen in his name. I hope that George W. Bush will get down on his knees and beg the forgiveness of the God in whose name he has brought about this horror. I hope that we can undo the damage that this adminstration has done and continues to do to the name and reputation of the United States of America in the world. Today, I am ashamed to be a patriotic American. I hope that one day soon I will no longer be ashamed of America's actions. But until then, despite our street protests, our marches, our letters, our rage and sadness and disgust and nausea at what is being done in our name, there is not much we can achieve in the face of a country gone mad with blood lust and greed. Please save yourselves and pray with us for a better and saner time.

Lay down your weapons; help us to end this insane war as we are, by showing no support for it, and by refusing to participate in it. My heart fills with profound feelings of solidarity for all who would chose the path of peace.

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