|This documentation appears in the March 28, 2003 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
World, U.S. Opponents
Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 20 issued the strongest of scores of statements by France, Germany and many other nations:
Of Iraq War Speak Out
"Let me stress from the outset, that these military actions are being carried out contrary to world public opinion, and contrary to the principles and norms of international law and the UN Charter. Nothing can justify this military actionneither the accusation that Iraq supports international terrorism (we have never had and do not have information of this kind), nor the desire to change the political regime in that country, which is in direct contradiction to international law....
"And, finally, there was no need to launch military action in order to answer the main question posed by the international community: namely, are there, or are there not weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? ... Moreover, at the time of launching this operation, Iraq posed no danger either to neighboring countries, or to other countries and regions of the world, sinceparticularly after the decade-long blockadeit was a weak country, both militarily and economically....
"The military action against Iraq is a big political mistake. I have already referred to the humanitarian aspect. But the threat of the disintegration of the existing system of international security is no less cause for concern. If we allow international law to be replaced by 'the law of the fist,' according to which the strong is always right, and has the right to do anything he please, with no restriction on his choice of means to achieve his goals, then one of the basic principles of international law will be called into questionthat is the principle of the inviolable sovereignty of nation-states. And then no one, not one country in the world, will feel secure. And the vast area of instability that has emerged will expand, causing negative consequences in other regions of the world."
John Brady Kiesling, 20-year State Department officer who was serving in Athens, left office on March 7. From his letter of resignation:
"... But until this Administration it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my President I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer.
"The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security....
"We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners. Even where our aims were not in question, our consistency is at issue. The model of Afghanistan is little comfort to allies wondering on what basis we plan to rebuild the Middle East, and in whose image and interests. Have we indeed become blind, as Russia is blind in Chechnya, as Israel is blind in the Occupied Territories, to our own advice, that overwhelming military power is not the answer to terrorism? ...
"...Why does our President condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this Administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials. Has 'oderint dum metuant' ['Let them hate us, so long as they fear us'] really become our motto? ..."
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Senate speech, March 13:
"I am concerned that as we rush to war with Iraq, we are becoming more divided at home and more isolated in the world community.... The Administration by its harsh rhetoric is driving the wedge deeper. Never before, even in the Vietnam War, has America taken such bold military action with so little international support.... The Bush Administration was wrong to allow the anti-Iraq zealots in its ranks to exploit the 9/11 tragedy by using it to make war against Iraq a higher priority than the war against terrorism."
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senate speech, March 13:
Leahy referred to the words of Gen. Brent Scowcroft (ret.), former National Security Advisor and current chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), who described the Administration's "coalition of the willing" as "fundamentally, fatally flawed ... [by projecting] an image of arrogance and unilateralism. If we get to the point that everyone secretly hopes the United States gets a black eye because we're so obnoxious, then we'll ... be like Gulliver with the Lilliputians."
Leahy also introduced into the Congressional Record, the letter of resignation of diplomat John Brady Kiesling, saying that "he echoed General Scowcroft's concerns about the practical harm to U.S. interests," and that Kiesling's letter "expresses the concerns of some other American diplomats who are representing the United States in our embassies and missions around the world."
Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.), Senate speech, March 13:
"In a few moments, we will vote to consider nomination of Miguel Estrada to the second highest court; we've spent over 100 hours on the Senate floor on this nomination. Compare that 100 hours on one judicial appointment with the number of hours we've spent this year discussing and debating a Declaration of War before commencing a war. Zero. Not one hour. Not one minute.
"With this nation poised on the brink of wara war which the United States is instigating without direct provocation. Without imminent threat to our national security. The first war of pre-emptionwe've claimed the right to attack another country because they might become a future threat. The first war in which the United States is perceived in the eyes of the world as the provocateur, as the threat to world peace...."
Former U.S. Rep. Robert F. Drinan (D-Mass.), statement issued at a press conference at the National Press Club, March 14, where a letter was also released by 74 former members of Congress, opposing the Iraq war:
"Seldom if ever has the United States prepared for a war opposed by virtually every religious group in the country. The Catholic Bishops, the National Council of Churches, and virtually all other major denominations have strongly opposed the war in Iraq. They have agreed that such a conflict does not fulfill the requirements of the 'just war' theory....
"We as former members of Congress have come together to proclaim in every way available to us our opposition to a war rejected by America's closest allies in the world. The proposed war could bring unthinkable tragedies to the world. It could alienate the Muslim communities in the 48 Islamic nations. It could create countless refugees, destabilize parts of the Middle East, and further alienate millions of people and scores of nations from the United States.
"The opposition of the former members of Congress here is based on moral, religious, and strategic reasons. It is the wrong war at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons...."
After having been rebuffed in attempts to meet with President Bush on the war and other matters, members of the Congressional Black Caucus took to the House floor on March 18 to plead for a diplomatic solution.
Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.):
"We are opening a door to an era which de-emphasizes diplomacy and devalues peaceful solutions through negotiations. Before we risk the lives of young men and women in uniform, as well as countless civilians in both the Middle East and our own country, shouldn't we do everything in our power to find a peaceful solution to the situation in Iraq?"
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.):
"We are worried that the war on terrorism is taking a back seat to a pre-emptive strike on Saddam Hussein. Yes, every country should be able to defend itself, but we're in no danger from Iraq. Striking Saddam is not fighting terrorism."
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.), "Today, I Weep for My Country," March 19:
"... No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper.... Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned.
"We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance. After war has ended, the United States will have to rebuild much more than the country of Iraq. We will have to rebuild America's image around the globe....
"The case this Administration tries to make to justify its fixation with war, is tainted by charges of falsified documents and circumstantial evidence.... There is no credible information to connect Saddam Hussein to 9/11.... We cannot convince the world of the necessity of this war for a simple reason. This is a war of choice. Instead of isolating Saddam Hussein, we seem to have isolated ourselves.
"A pall has fallen over the Senate chamber. We avoid our solemn duty to debate the one topic on the minds of all Americans, even while scores of thousands of our sons and daughters faithfully do their duty in Iraq...."