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Institute for Public Accuracy
915 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
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PM Sunday, September 15, 2002
A MESSAGE TO THE IRAQI NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FROM THE
HON. NICK RAHALL, MEMBER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
SEPTEMBER 15, 2002
I want to thank you for the traditional Iraqi hospitality that
delegation has received since coming to Baghdad.
We are all aware of the grave crisis presently facing our two
countries, the United States and Iraq. I am concerned about the effects
that a new war would have on both our countries. For that reason I come
an advocate of peace through dialogue.
Ours is a humanitarian mission. I come, not as the Secretary of
State, and not as a weapons inspector, but as a member of Congress
concerned with peace. Basically, I want America and Iraq to give peace a
A few days ago, the former head of the United Nations
program, Denis Halliday, commented on the independent American
of which I am a part. Mr. Halliday is a former UN Assistant Secretary
General. On September 12, he said: "Any dialogue between the U.S. and
is good and, with current and former lawmakers, it is even better." Mr.
Halliday added: "Open-minded dialogue would prove war to be
Instead of assuming that war must come, let us find ways to
discover how to prove that war is unnecessary.
A key to this terrible box that we're now locked in -- is
I would also like to quote Edward Peck, an American diplomat
is a former chief of mission to Iraq. Mr. Peck pointed out: "You lose
nothing when you talk, but the failure to do so in this case may cost us
Mr. Peck encouraged this delegation from the United States,
includes: former United States Senator James Abourezk; James Jennings,
president of Conscience International; and Norman Solomon, executive
director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.
We are here to try and help open doors. Doors to genuine
It is time and, in my opinion, far past time that American and
Iraqi officials talk to each other without threats.
We want to open doors to possibilities that will protect life
instead of maiming and killing.
Doors that will give peace a chance.
We've had far too much heated rhetoric between our two
Another war in this region would be greatly damaging. Any new war would
a war against public health, and also against the environment.
Iraq is the cradle of civilization. We do not wish to see
civilization strangled in its cradle.
Iraq was once the Garden of Eden. Humanity must not turn the
Garden of Eden into Hell.
The evidence from the last war is quite compelling:
-- degradation of the infrastructure;
-- a wrecked economy;
-- shocking escalation of infant mortality and
communicable disease, and many other negative health
for the entire population.
We do not wish to see this devastation repeated.
In this context, I am reminded of what Dwight Eisenhower, the
great U.S. general and president, once said: "Every gun and rocket that
fired, every warship launched, signifies, in a final sense, a theft from
those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not
The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat
its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
Our delegation does not want to see a new war in Iraq. We do
subscribe to the "Clash of Civilizations" thesis which foresees nothing
war between the predominantly Islamic countries and the West.
I hope that my colleagues in the United States Congress will
perceive that peaceful dialogue is a more fruitful avenue than the awful
road of perpetual warfare.
I must say, however, that I believe the first step to restoring
relationship of mutual friendship and respect must be for Iraq to fully
comply with United Nations mandates by allowing the return of weapons
inspectors. That step would at least give pause to the crisis that
threatens to engulf us.
Then, over the next weeks and months, the participation of the
international community may have an opportunity to succeed in defusing
crisis altogether. Perhaps this could be done by finding a combination
specific nations not directly involved in the dispute to serve as
brokers." Perhaps, for instance, Canada and South Africa.
But time is now terribly short to reverse the momentum toward
To make that reversal possible, Iraq must cooperate by giving UN weapons
inspectors unfettered access. And in that process, "honest brokers" and
UN as an institution must proceed differently than UNSCOM did, so that
time there will be no abuses, and there will be no misuse of UN
for espionage (as belatedly admitted by U.S. officials themselves and
authoritatively reported by The New York Times and other media outlets
early January of 1999). If this work proceeds properly, Iraq will be
to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Then the sanctions, which have done so much damage to your
economy, infrastructure, and health can once and for all be lifted.
The Middle East, and Iraq in particular, is a place of enduring
cultural richness. It is the home of the world's oldest civilizations.
has bequeathed to the world three great religious traditions Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam. This is our heritage, and the world's heritage.
The Christian scriptures say "Blessed are the peacemakers."
do not say "Blessed are the warmongers." I happen to believe that the
majority of the American people do not want to wage war, but would
Our delegation is here on behalf of peace. We believe that a
war is not only unnecessary, but wrong.
I must again emphasize, however, that in my view and in the
of many of my colleagues, the way to avoid war and to secure peace is to
allow UN inspectors into Iraq. The matter is urgent, and I therefore
your government to implement all relevant Security Council resolutions
Speaking personally, I will encourage my colleagues in the
Congress to enter into dialogue with the Iraq National Assembly for the
future benefit of both our nations.
-- signature .
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