Posted by Jeff from d53-237-236.try.wideopenwest.com (188.8.131.52) on Saturday, February 08, 2003 at 11:02AM :
Dear MoveOn member,
70 years ago, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his inaugural
address. It contained a phrase which has reverberated ever since: for
our nation, Roosevelt said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear
Times have changed. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Colin Powell
addressed the UN Security Council. Scripted to play well on the
evening news -- the presentation was more for the benefit of the
American public than for the Security Council -- Powell made a
forceful argument that Iraq is being deceitful about its weapons of
mass destruction. He had pictures. He had a vial of white powder.
He had diagrams showing links between various terrorist cells.
Powell looked like a rational man making a rational case. But by any
legal or scientific standards, the evidence was shaky and marginal.
Rather than relying on solid facts, Powell chose an emotional route:
he played to fear. Powell and Bush know that they can't win over the
American people on the merits of this war, because it just doesn't
make sense. But if folks are scared enough of Saddam, they'll back
Fear mongering is unacceptable. It's no way to lead a country.
Please write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper today,
explaining why you disagree with Powell's approach. We've included
some samples below. A flood of letters could help remind the
American public that there are alternatives to a policy of fear.
Nowhere is that policy more transparent than in Powell's and the Bush
Administration's repeated assertions that there are links between
Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.
Ever since September 11th, President Bush has been looking for a way
to link Iraq to those attacks. A link would allow the President to
direct the nation's fear of al-Qaeda against Iraq -- an easier target
for military action. But despite enormous efforts in the CIA and FBI,
not a shred of real evidence has emerged. In a recent article, the
New York Times reported that some CIA and FBI staffers have even made
complaints that sketchy intelligence was being employed for political
purposes. "'We've been looking at this hard for more than a year and
you know what, we just don't think it's there,' a government official
said." (The article is linked to below.)
President Bush and his administration are trying to manipulate us. They
are trying to use fear of terrorism and anger about September 11th to
strong-arm a war that has nothing to do with either. We will not let
And we will not let Colin Powell distract us from the possibility of a
peaceful resolution through continued strong inspections. In a speech
today, chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said "successful disarmament
of Iraq was possible without Baghdad's active cooperation, but it
would be faster with Iraq's help." (See below for the article about
this statement.) Even if Saddam continues to play games, in other words,
we can win this one without war.
An article by two of the nation's foremost foreign policy experts
affirms this point. In Foreign Policy magazine, John Mearsheimer
and Stephen Walt argue that Saddam can be contained. "Today, Iraq is
weakened, its pursuit of nuclear weapons has been frustrated, and any
regional ambitions it may once have cherished have been thwarted. We
should perpetuate this state of affairs by maintaining vigilant
containment, a policy the rest of the world regards as preferable and
effective. Saddam Hussein needs to remain in his box -- but we don't
need a war to keep him there." (Article linked to below.)
We know that Saddam Hussein is a terrible man. We know he plays
games. And it's possible that he has some bad weapons. But all that
was true in the mid-1990s, when inspectors destroyed nearly all of his
weapons and put an end to his nuclear development program. According
to most reports, 95% of Saddam's weaponry was destroyed at that time.
Then the inspectors were pulled out. Now inspectors are back in there.
Let's get that last 5%.
Our President and his cabinet have demonstrated that they are willing
to resort to demagoguery. In a rush to war, they are using deception,
omission, misinformation, and fear mongering. We will use the simple
truth. Inspections can disarm Saddam. The inspectors know it, other
countries know it, and history proves it.
Please write a letter to the editor today. You'll find samples below.
Fear is powerful, but hope is stronger. There is still real hope that
we can disarm Iraq without anyone dying.
International Campaigns Director
February 7th, 2003
LINKS TO ARTICLES MENTIONED
SPLIT AT C.I.A. AND F.B.I. ON IRAQI TIES TO AL QAEDA
By JAMES RISEN and DAVID JOHNSTON
The New York Times
February 2nd, 2003
BLIX SAYS IRAQ MAKING EFFORT, BUT WANTS MORE
February 7, 2003
AN UNNECESSARY WAR
By JOHN J. MEARSHEIMER and STEPHEN M. WALT
Foreign Policy Magazine
The key talking points we want to get across are:
- By playing to fear rather than facts, Powell failed to make the
case for war.
- The inspections are working. They can disarm Saddam.
- The President still has not made the case for war.
We provide example letters below. Feel free to mine them for good
points or to follow the general arguments of the letters, but we
strongly recommend that you use your own words. Make sure you
include your name and telephone contact information on the email
to your local paper. They won't publish the phone number, but
may want to call you to confirm that the letter has been submitted
by a local reader.
Please let us know about your letter-to-the-editor at
We'd like to keep a count and we'd love a copy of your letter.
To the Editor:
In his speech at the UN on Wednesday, Secretary of State Colin
Powell once again asserted that Saddam Hussein had ties to
al Qaeda. Yet even intelligence operatives in the FBI and
CIA argue that such ties don't exist.
It appears that the President and Secretary Powell are using
American's sorrow and fear about September 11th to sell a
war on Iraq -- even though the two don't have anything to
do with each other. If the President has a case for war
against Iraq, he should make it on the basis of facts, not
To the Editor:
In his speech to the United Nations on Wednesday, Colin
Powell produced a lot of evidence to show that Saddam
Hussein is a bad man who may have bad weapons. Powell
and the President hope to use this evidence to rally the
nation to war.
We know Saddam is bad. But he was just as bad in the
mid-1990s, when an aggressive series of weapons
inspections resulted in the destruction of an enormous
portion of his weapons capability. History shows that
inspections can disarm Iraq. Let's push for a tough
inspections regime and win this one without war.
More sample letters are on our website at:
Dear VoteNoWar member:
The response to the call to action for a week of anti-war
resistance February 13-21 has been amazing. We have heard
from people all around the country who are planning to
participate in demonstrations, rallies, student walk-outs
and teach-ins. The VoteNoWar People's Anti-War Referendum is
an integral part of the activities planned for this
week-long mobilization. (See below, to list your local
On February 15th and 16th there will be demonstrations
throughout the world in response to the appeal made by the
European peace movement. From San Francisco and Los Angeles
to Chicago to New York City and in dozens of other cities
around the U.S. there will be large protests. Coming on the
heels of the January 18 demonstrations of 500,000 in
Washington and 200,000 in San Francisco it is clear that the
anti-war movement is gaining momentum and growing stronger.
As George W. Bush makes his pronouncement that "the game is
over," and demands that the U.N. issue support for him to
bomb, invade, and occupy Iraq, it is incumbent upon all of
us to do all we can to stop this madness. The growing
anti-war sentiment in the U.S. and around the world can hold
back the war machine.
More and more People's Anti-War Referendums arrive every
day on-line and in the mail -- from envelopes to big boxes
--as new voices register their opposition to a war of
aggression against Iraq. VoteNoWar members have collected
signatures at peace rallies, in their places of worship, on
campuses and in highs schools. Participants in the Global
People's Anti-War Referendum have come from all fifty states,
the District of Columbia, and countries spanning the world
including the Philippines, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia,
Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Colombia, Canada, Thailand,
Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Nigeria, Korea, China,
Russia, Morocco, Guatemala, El Salvador, Iceland, Puerto
Rico, Australia, Costa Rica, India, Pakistan, Nicaragua,
every state in Mexico and every country in Europe. Recently
we received thousands collected by students from Atlanta and
from New York, thousands more from a church in Chicago. A
special thank you to the Japanese peace activists who have
just sent in seventeen thousand signatures that were
collected in conjunction with peace demonstrations in Japan
on January 18.
We are happy to announce that we are almost at the 800,000
mark. So far, 790,000 people have participated in the
VoteNoWar campaign. We know that many organizations and
people still have boxes of signatures in their offices and
homes and we encourage you to send them in to the People's
Anti-War Referendum, 1247 E. Street, SE, Washington, DC
Nearing the One Million Mark
During the week of February 13-21 many groups are planning
to focus on building the VoteNoWar campaign. By working hard
during the next days and weeks, we are confident that we can
reach the one million mark by February 21. We know that for
the million people that participate in the campaign, there
are tens of millions more who support our efforts for peace.
The VoteNoWar campaign has also been a catalyst to bring the
anti-war message into thousands of communities and has in
turn stimulated the growing anti-war protests sweeping the
country and the world. To download a pdf version of the
People's Anti-War Referendum suitable for copying and
distributing, visit http://www.VoteNoWar.org/referendum_rev1.
pdf . To tell up to five friends about the website with an
automatic email inviting them to join the campaign, go to
the VoteNoWar home page. Or, visit http://www.VoteNoWar.
org/add_link.html to add a graphic button link to the
referendum on your or your organization's web site.
Tell us about your activities for the week of anti-war
resistance, February 13-21, by filling out our local
activity web-based form so we can be sure they are listed
and others in your community can learn about and attend the
events. We are encouraging everyone who can travel to one of
the major protests near you, including New York City, San
Francisco, and Los Angeles to do so. We know that many
cannot travel and are already organizing local protests on
February 15 or 16. To download a color pdf flyer for the
week of resistance, visit http://www.votenowar.org/feb15.pdf
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