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Posted by Jeff from d53-237-236.try.wideopenwest.com ( on Thursday, January 30, 2003 at 3:53PM :

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Subject: They're selling and we still ain't buying.
Date: 30 Jan 2003 19:23:54 -0000
From: "Wes Boyd, MoveOn.org" <moveon-help@list.moveon.org>
To: "Jeff Atto" <jeff@attoz.com>

Dear MoveOn member,

On Tuesday, President Bush tried again to the make the case for
war with Iraq. Most observers expect a bump in support for war,
but we've been surprised and pleased to see that even many pundits
are not buying the administration's case anymore. Your message
has gotten through, and the ultra-hawks in the Bush administration
are becoming more and more isolated.

Our nation's allies around the world have come to view the
administration's stance as, at best, a strange and dangerous obsession.
This view, along with the clear skepticism of the American public, is
starting to filter into our media in a major way.

Please help reinforce this growing conventional wisdom by writing
a letter-to-the-editor today. With attention shifting to the United
Nations next week, now is the perfect time. The key talking points
we want to get across are:

- A war with Iraq will make America less safe and less secure.
- The inspections are working.
- The President simply 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 get a sense for how opinion is running against the administration,
even on the day after the State of the Union address, here is an
excerpt from yesterday's Washington Post, highlighting General Norman
Schwarzkopf's concerns about war in Iraq (full text link below):

"The general who commanded U.S. forces in the 1991 Gulf War says
he hasn't seen enough evidence to convince him that his old comrades
Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz are correct in moving
toward a new war now. He thinks U.N. inspections are still the proper
course to follow. He's worried about the cockiness of the U.S. war
plan, and even more by the potential human and financial costs of
occupying Iraq. And don't get him started on Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld."

And here's an excerpt from columnist Nicholas Kristof's piece yesterday,
reflecting a new skepticism in the media (full text link below):

"As the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace put it in a new
report on Iraq, the U.S. goal of preventing any attack by Iraq has
already been achieved.

'Saddam Hussein is effectively incarcerated and under watch by a
force that could respond immediately and devastatingly to any
aggression,' the report noted. 'Inside Iraq, the inspection teams
preclude any significant advance in [weapons of mass destruction]
capabilities. The status quo is safe for the American people.'


Will an invasion make us safer? That's the central question, and
while none of us know the answer, there is clearly a significant
risk that it will do just the opposite."

Let's keep the pressure on.

Thanks again for all you're doing,

- Carrie, Eli, Joan, Peter, Randall, Wes, Zack
The MoveOn Team
January 30, 2003


Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 28, 2003; Page C01

New York Times
Tuesday, January 28, 2003



To review an impressive group of letters, drafted by MoveOn volunteer
David Keppel, go to:


David even includes references to back these letters up.
This work is fantastic, but don't be intimidated. A few words
from the heart will do the job.

Here are some brief examples drawn from David's work:

To the Editor:

President Bush wants an early end to inspections -- when they have
just begun. The teams have only recently reached full staff and acquired
high-technology support and intelligence cooperation from the United
States. Unlike the previous round of inspections, they have gained
prompt access to sites. Even the earlier inspections succeeded in
disabling Iraq's nuclear program and destroying 95% of its chemical
and biological weapons. It is much too early to dismiss new, tougher
inspections even if Iraqi cooperation is grudging.

Mohamed Elbaradei told the Security Council that he has seen no
evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapons program, and he
explicitly asked for several months, which he called a "valuable
investment" that "could help us avoid war." Hans Blix has said
that his inspections of biological and chemical weapons disarmament
should take a year.

Iraq poses no threat while inspections are underway. Wouldn't it be
wiser to give inspectors a chance to find and destroy any weapons
than to rush into a war in which Saddam might use them --
potentially prompting the US or Israel to launch a nuclear strike?



To the Editor:

For months, the Administration has been embarrassed by the weakness
of its case for war. Inspectors have just begun their work. The
previous round of inspections -- with less strength than this one --
destroyed more Iraqi weapons than we destroyed in the 1991 war.

Wouldn't it be better to let inspectors destroy any possible weapons
than to risk having them used against our troops or civilians?

The weakest link in the war case has been any alleged connection
between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The CIA has repeatedly said they share
only distrust: Al Qaeda scorns Saddam's secularism, while Saddam
stresses tight control by the state and would transfer weapons only
under attack.

Now the Bush Administration plans to release "new evidence" of an
Al Qaeda link. A longtime senior member of the House Intelligence
Committee who now serves on the 9-11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, says
the Bush Administration "will look for any kind of evidence to
support their premise; I think we have to be skeptical about it."

I agree.



To the Editor:

Though UN weapons inspectors have found no clear evidence of weapons
of mass destruction in Iraq, the Bush Administration may attack
anyway, claiming that Saddam Hussein is hiding them. But while
President Bush cites the uncertainties of inspections, has he
considered the uncertainties of war?

What will be the cost in human life? Unlike the 1991 war, this war
would be fought in Iraq's densely populated cities. If Saddam
Hussein does have weapons of mass destruction, he will have every
incentive to use them, as CIA Director George Tenet warned Congress.
President Bush has threatened to retaliate to Iraqi chemical or
biological weapons use with a nuclear strike on Iraq. Israel also
has 200 nuclear weapons. A nuclear war would bring the deaths into
the millions. It would also create an explosion of shock and hate
that would recruit a new generation of anti-American terrorists.

And by breaking the post-Hiroshima taboo on nuclear attack, it would
encourage other nuclear wars, such as one between India and Pakistan.

What would be the future of Iraq and its neighbors? No one knows
whether Iraq would descend into civil war, with Kurds, Sunni and
Shiite Muslims, and numerous tribes fighting along religious and
ethnic lines. Such chaos would make occupation a nightmare for US
forces, not to mention Iraqis.

Before taking the risks of war, we must let the inspections work.



-- Jeff
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