Modern war is essentially immoral. The lethality of modern weapons of mass destruction creates a situation in which war will inevitably kill innocent civilians, old and young. Modern war destroys ecology and hurts generations that are yet to be born.
Modern warfare is fought at too high a price, creating unavoidable collateral damage, including so-called "friendly fire".
In addition to these general repercussions, the proposal to wage war on Iraq suffers from several other problems:
1. The justifications offered to wage this war contain lapses in reason and are both internally inconsistent and present a double standard relative to other regimes in the world. The announced justification for this war, repeated ad infinitum, is to rid Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction. All Americans agree that ridding anyone of these terrible weapons, especially reckless dictators, is highly desirable. However, no convincing evidence has been offered that indicates with any certainty that such weapons exist in Iraq. Everyone from media personnel to former weapons inspectors to several elected officials have visited these sites and testified that claims that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction are unsubstantiated. We believe that an extensive inspection program, one that aims genuinely to discover weapons and disarm Hussein and not to conduct covert operations, will abrogate the need for military invasion. Such an invasion would in fact encourage Saddam to use any stored weapons that may have been in a preparatory stage.
2. Ridding Iraq of its dictator, Saddam Hussein, is offered as a second justification for war. MPAC would like to stress that such an undertaking is noble, and we stand today as we have always stood unequivocally against dictatorship and oppression. However, this responsibility remains that of the Iraqi people and any international non-violent intervention. The United States has dealt with past dictatorships in Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland and even the Soviet Empire without the need for military invasion.
3. The third stated reason is that Iraq must be forced to comply with United Nations resolutions. This reason has been criticized for its obvious hypocrisy the world over, and can not be taken seriously while our administration continues to reduce the stature of the United Nations by declaring openly that the United States will act unilaterally with or without United Nations approval. Furthermore, the sheer number of UN resolutions Israel has simply ignored with impunity with the express help of the United States adds to the hypocrisy of this claim.
4. The fourth reason offered is that Iraq represents a threat to its neighbors. However, these very same neighbors have registered their strong opposition to war against Iraq, in total contrast to the circumstances surrounding the first Gulf war.
Given the paucity of evidence that war in Iraq is morally justifiable or necessary for the security of the American people (in fact, much evidence points to the fact that the opposite might be true), we offer the following reasons to oppose war in Iraq.
1. This war will increase the already unbearable suffering of the people of Iraq. The same people who suffer at the hands of their dictator have had their misery compounded by the senseless, unproductive sanctions programs enforced by the United States and the Untied Kingdom. These same innocents will be turned to "collateral damage" as a result of this war.
2. War will put American soldiers in harms way for unjustified reasons.
3. War will increase the already dangerous levels of anti-American sentiment in not only the Middle East, but in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere. This anti-Americanism will sew yet more seeds of extremism and terrorism against our people.
4. War will further tax our ailing economy at a time when our country must address issues of homelessness, health care, poverty, substandard inner city schools, social security, election reform, and other very important domestic issues.
5. We have learned from history that when we unleash violence abroad, an upsurge of domestic violence results. The tragic story of husbands murdering their wives upon returning from Afghanistan offers one such example. Gang violence, murders and rapes as well as drug related crimes and domestic violence consistently increases after times of war.
Dr. Maher Hathout is the Senior Advisor of the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the spokesperson of the Islamic Center of Southern California
MPAC calls on peace-loving citizens to join hands, hearts and minds to reverse this rush towards war. MPAC believes that empowering the Iraqi people by lifting sanctions, offering nutritional and medical aid and increasing access to accurate information in that country is the best way to encourage the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
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