Lutheran Peace Fellowship

Twelve Concerns About War with Iraq
Lutheran Peace Fellowship

What is the role of peacemaking now? We find it remarkable how many of the issues we raised before war began are still relevant. We feel it is crucial to continue to ask questions and seek solutions to concerns like these:

1. The Iraqi people have already suffered enough in more than two decades of war and hardship. Eleven years of US-backed sanctions alone have killed more than a million innocent civilians, half of them children (UNICEF). That's more than the number of people killed in all of history by weapons of mass destruction.

2. Military action is causing a great many more civilian casualties and the suffering of countless innocent people. This war may also seriously damage the environment and the US and world economies, the effects of which would fall most heavily on the most vulnerable.

3. Unilateral overthrow of another government heightens fears and concerns among other countries regarding American respect for international law and for the rights of other nations.

4. It is not in our nation's interest to take unilateral military action opposed by most of the world. We would be wise to reengage with UN programs to offer relief and aid, rebuild Iraq and control of weapons of mass destruction.

5. The preemptive use of military force by the US sets a dangerous precedent. Do we really want to legitimate preemptive strikes by other nations because of weapons of their neighbors, disputes over resources, or other grievances?

6. US military action could make us less not more safe. It is likely to spark more terrorism and further destabilize the region. Militants in other countries are likely to seize the opportunity to recruit more adherents and further incite people against the US and allied countries.

7. War on Iraq diverts attention from addressing the root causes of conflict and terrorism such as extreme poverty and hunger. It also distracts us from dealing with our economy, environment, schools, and other conflicts in the world.

8. War is likely to create serious humanitarian problems. Despite these challenges, the US military waited until late January 2003 to even establish an office for postwar planning.

9. War in Iraq could cost the United States as much as 1.9 trillion dollars over a decade (AAAS report, Dec. 2002). Pres. Bush waited until war began before sending a $75 billion request to Congress and it covers only 30 days of war and 6 months reconstruction, The Gulf War cost $61 billion; allies reimbursed all but $7 billion.

10. The US public has serious doubts about starting a war. Some wonder whether it's mostly about oil or political gain or arrogance. While polls do show support now, before it began a large majority of Americans opposed war without UN direction or without the support of allies and Arab nations.

11. Prejudice may well increase with war as people come to see Arabs and Muslims, Americans and Christians and as enemies; hostility towards those who are different may also deepen.

12. There are alternatives to war that are more effective, more ethical, and pose fewer risks. Those options range from diplomacy and non-violent sanctions to direct action -- strategies that were successful against many tyrants including the Marcos, Ceausescu, and apartheid regimes.

For information on Iraq: Education for Peace in Iraq Center Campaign Against Sanctions Voices in the Wilderness Office of the UN Iraq Program

On the underlying issues:

Contact LPF for resources and workshops on conflict transformation, Christian peacemaking, and nonviolent perspectives and strategies for confronting the conflicts in our lives, communities, and world. LPF's major programs include: peacemaking in the real world, youth training and empowerment, leadership training in peace-making, hunger and conflict, and peace advocacy. For more information, contact us at the address at the bottom of this page.

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