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
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
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
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.