Washington, D.C. - U.S. Reps. David Bonior, D-Mich., Jim McDermott, D-Wash., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., leave today for a five-day trip to Iraq to see first-hand the toll that war and economic sanctions have taken on the country.
The trip is aimed at gaining insight into the humanitarian challenges another war on Iraq would have on innocent Iraqis and the dangerous implications of a unilateral, preemptive strike on U.S. national security.
McDermott, Bonior and Thompson will be part of a delegation organized by the Interfaith Network of Concern for the People of Iraq, a project of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, and LIFE for Relief and Development, a Michigan charity organization licensed by the United States and the United Nations to administer aid in Iraq.
"I tend to think there are other ways to deal with the disarmament of Iraq, and we should exhaust every single possibility to do that before the United States takes the absolutely unprecedented step of a preemptive strike," McDermott said. "The day the United States starts saying, 'We don't like this leader; we're going to take him out no matter what the human cost is,' we have crossed a major line in international behavior. And I am very worried about that."
Bonior said a better understanding of the humanitarian problem in Iraq and its national security implications are crucial to the United States' decision whether to launch another war.
"We continue to rattle sabers and pound war drums, and yet we have very little idea of challenges we could face afterwards. What happens to our standing on the world stage if we act alone? Will our men and women in the military be required to occupy Iraq and for how long?" Bonior said. "The question is do we want to put our military personnel and Iraqi civilians in harm's way in an action that is dangerous to our national security priority - the war against terror? We have assembled an important coalition to fight the terrorism of Al Qaeda and this war will threaten that."
The group will leave today and arrive in Baghdad on Friday. They will visit many sites, including a hospital, a water filtration plant and an oil-for-food distribution site. The group will return on Tuesday.
Thompson said gaining firsthand knowledge about Iraq will better help him and Congress work with our regional allies to address the humanitarian challenges faced by Iraqi citizens who may not be responsible for their leaders' actions.
"The classified briefings Congress has been presented to date have fallen short of bridging the current chasm between a rush to war and evidence of an immediate threat," Thompson said. "The more we can learn, the better our ability will be to bring long-term stability to this region."
America want to go to war not to destroy Saddam, rather to control the OIL, plus give a boost to Israel to control better the Middle East...
bear in mind this will never happen, I know the Arab and Muslim governments are weak but not the People !!!
from a muslim to the last drop of blood
Thank you very much for being so kind. I wish you all a safe journey and hope to receive some good news on your return. Bon Voyage!!
I am proud of you all in your venture to visit Iraq. As the saying goes seeing is blieving. Thank you once again.
mm nisar md.
It is hoped their facts findings may reverse public opinion in USA. What Sadam did was very wrong. He could be asked to join the main stream of world society to bring democracy to Iraq as it could be asked other dictators to do so.
I was rewatching the speeches of Blair and Bush before attack on Afghnistan- the promises to settle the issues in the middle east but what I see today in Palestine is morally deplorable and humanly unacceptable.
It is also shame on the muslim world- dictators and imppotent as they are.
War should be avoided till the last effort has been exhausted to solve the problem. Bloodshed is not the solution but start of a bigger problem. Isreal has tried it for the last fifty years without success and we have tried it in Vietnam in 60's and USSR tried it in Afganistan by changing the regimn.
Please cool down and play by the rule of law. The real victory comes with winning of hearts not the land.