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Peace and Justice Network

West Virginia Patriots for Peace

An organization dedicated to mobilizing West Virginians
to reclaim and defend American values
of peace, justice and democracy at home and abroad.

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A Declaration and Call To Action By West Virginia Patriots For Peace
Sept 23, 2002:

Eleven years after the Gulf War, our nation is once again on the brink of waging war against Iraq.

President Bush has made a strong appeal to the United Nations to reinitiate weapons inspections in Iraq.

Saddam Hussein has responded by agreeing to allow weapons inspectors back into Iraq.

The United Nations has indicated that it is ready to restart the inspection process in order to assure the world that Iraq does not possess weapons of mass destruction.

Despite this response, President Bush has now gone to Congress in order to seek congressional approval to use whatever force is necessary to defeat Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. He has indicated that the United States will wage war even if the United Nations refuses to support a war against Iraq.

President Bush is moving rapidly in his efforts to seek Congressional approval for a war with Iraq. The American people, still reeling from the violence perpetrated on our nation last year, and confused about the implications and consequences of a "war on terrorism," are being rushed into a war without having an opportunity to register their apprehension and opposition.

We, as people of faith and people of conscience, are mindful of the fact that a unilateral, preemptive military strike would result in enormous suffering and death, and would further destabilize an already war-torn world. We, therefore, oppose a United States military attack on Iraq.

The Iraqi people have already suffered greatly through more than two decades of war and severe economic sanctions. Military action against the government of Saddam Hussein could very well result in a large number of civilians being killed or wounded, as well as increasing the suffering of multitudes of innocent people.

We believe it to be detrimental to U.S. interests to take unilateral military action when there continues to be strong multilateral support for a new weapons inspection program, and when many countries around the world are opposed to military action. It is important for the U.S. to cooperate with international efforts to control Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and to work toward the eradication of all weapons of mass destruction in the entire region.

The preemptive use of military force by the United States establishes a dangerous precedent, particularly for other nations that feel threatened by the military power of their neighbors. A war with Iraq would offer justification for more military action between enemies in the region, and fuel more acts of terror by militants seeking reprisal. Furthermore, unilaterally overthrowing enemy governments is a violation of U. S. law, international law, and is a clear violation of Article 41 and 42 of the United Nations Charter.

War waged at this time will delay and obstruct efforts to address the serious social and economic issues which threaten the peace and security of our nation as well as other nations around the world.

We applaud the efforts of Senators Byrd and Rockefeller as they have continued to ask the hard questions and have challenged the rush to war by President Bush, and we praise Congressman Rahall for having gone to Iraq in pursuit of peace rather than war. We call for all of our elected officials to join with us in this plea for a peaceful resolution to this crisis rather than wagging war.

We are aware that some people are reluctant to speak out against war with Iraq for fear of being called unpatriotic. We want to declare that we are patriotic by seeking the way of peace rather than war.

Therefore we stand, in order to be counted, and we call on others to stand with us as we speak out in opposition to war with Iraq.

We believe that central to the heart and soul of the United States is the conviction that justice and peace are achievable without exercising hatred and revenge.

We call on people of faith and people of conscience, along with religious and civic organizations, to join us by taking the following steps:

  • Add your name to this Declaration and Call to Action so that it can be placed as an ad in both Charleston newspapers and forwarded on to President Bush and members of Congress. You can do this by signing your name as you would like it listed.
  • Attend daily silent vigils from 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM in front of the Robert C. Byrd Federal Building in Charleston.
  • Participate in an upcoming town hall meeting where this issue will be discussed.
  • Contact Senators Byrd and Rockefeller and your congressperson and let them know you support this Declaration and Call to Action and that you are opposed to war with Iraq.
  • Take this Declaration and Call to Action to your place of worship, school, neighborhood, and organizations in which you are a member so that we can get more signatures and more support.
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WV Patriots for Peace, P. O. Box 3482, Charleston, WV 25334