A LETTER 11.3.2003

Dear Bushmen

I'm against this war. Why, you may ask. There is a brutal dictator who, in possession of weapons of mass destruction, poses a threat to the democratic world.
Präsident Bush bei einer Rede vor dem Kongress
Präsident Bush bei einer Rede vor dem Kongress
Dear Bushmen,

I'm against this war. Why, you may ask. There is a brutal dictator who, in possession of weapons of mass destruction, poses a threat to the democratic world.
I’ll try to explain it from scratch. I want to outline some of the reasons why Europe is opposed to a war at the gulf. I'm not generally a pacifist and I do not claim to be morally superior in any way.
I for example supported the war on Yugoslavia in 1999. However it is my conviction that we cannot allow the Bush administration to degenerate and abandon what great American statesmen have built up in the past fifty years. Surely securing the oil supply (which is genuinely threatened by the weakness of the Saudi-regime) and stabilizing the "order" in the region are minor grounds for intervention. But I'm sure that the main objective is something different.

Law or war?

I am convinced that it is mainly used to enforce a new "world order” (hackneyed as it may sound) in which America is able to wage war against every country it suspects of being a threat. This will thoroughly weaken the UN and international cooperation in general. What the Bush administration aims at is making the United States an evermore influential player in global politics. This would not itself be illegal, not even morally reprehensible, since every country tries to enhance its influence. But the fact that Bush and his comrades want to turn back the wheel of time from multilateral cooperation towards bilateral agreements, is. This will in many cases mean exploitation of the "weaker" countries since they will just not find themselves in a position to compete with US economic and military power. We already got a foretaste of this with the rejection of the Kyoto protocol, the international criminal court, the nuclear test stop agreement or the anti-mines treaty. In all these cases American politicians did not agree since they knew that they would find themselves better off using the United States’ political weight in bilateral negotiations. I do not doubt that this is true and partially legitimate. But morally, I am sure, Americans know better than that.
Wasn't it the American people who once held that truth to "be self evident that all men are created equal”? Well, then they should be treated that way. And it is this system of equality and control of power that is put at stake by this war.

What the public gets to know…

American columnists often argue that Europe is just making matters too easy for itself. The same journalists produce arguments like the following: "Saddam is torturing his own people. His son Udai is raping pregnant women for fun…" and all the rest of it. "Thus we should not put our hands in our laps”. It is true that these evident violations of human rights would indeed legitimize international action against a sovereign state. But the problem is that this argument simply appeals to instinctive emotional reactions. "The firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand”. This philosophy already brought about the catastrophe for Macbeth. Considering a war we should weigh the consequences more thoroughly.
But what is most striking about this argument: it has never been used by the Bush administration. Bush preferred to scare the American public into approval of his policy by constantly reporting about dangerous weapons of mass destruction. These could however, not even if Hussein used them, reach American territory. Being picky about this and considering that Hussein has remained calm over the last couple of years one could even argue that President Bush looks a bit like a "rebel without a cause”.

…and why Europeans are "not convinced”.

Bush relentlessly tries to convince his allies that Iraq not only possesses weapons of mass destruction, but that it is also willing to use them. THIS, and nothing else, is what he officially considered to be worth fighting for. And THIS is what German secretary of state Joschka Fischer meant when he told Rumsfeld that he was "not convinced” at the Munich summit.
The Bush administration wants European states to participate in a war without outlining its intentions behind it. It has been proven more than once that US and UK institutions provide the media with manipulated, falsified or simply invented information to change public opinion. John le Carré nicely stressed this point in his recent essays on Iraq: "How Bush and his junta succeeded in deflecting America’s anger from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history. But they swung it. A recent poll tells us that one in two Americans now believe Saddam was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre.” Is that necessary if you have a legitimate, legal reason for attack?
In the same way some journalists miss the point when they explain that America can not be accused of exclusively pursuing its own interest in Iraq, for it has not done so in Yugoslavia. They were not pursuing their own interest then, I admit. But that was during the Clinton era. And Clinton was never accused of doing so!

"No blood for oil" is of course neither new, nor right. And "Fighting for peace is like f***ing for your virginity!" is what my parents wrote on their Anti-Vietnam posters.
But this is not a competition of creativity. It is not that I do not realize there are problems in the European argumentation as well. And there might well be reasons why the international community should intervene and free the Iraqi people. But this does not prevent me from opposing a war that is led for neither of those "acceptable” reasons.

Adventure trip to Iraq with G.I.-Tours; all (risks) inclusive

Adding to this, there are risks incorporated that cannot yet be evaluated. This should not necessarily mean that action should not be taken, but they should at least be thoroughly considered. In my opinion, this is not done by people like Cheney or Rumsfeld.
One of these risks is the "threat to the stability of the region". Very vague, I admit. But still real in a way, I think. In worst case scenarios a war would trigger of another war in the region that is not controlled by the US and can thus not be ended in a month. Or it could happen that the US war on Iraq itself is not ended within a
month and that the American military will pay a high price; paid in blood.
And even if the military part of the campaign is successful there still is widespread doubt whether or not the Iraqi people or the Arab world would accept long lasting occupation and foreign rule.

These things however should not be of to much concern for us. We will only get to feel this earthquake as a matter of minor importance. The price for petrol might rise and one or two of our friends might become unemployed.
But even if you care that little about what is going on in the world, you might find yourself personally affected by the consequences of this war sooner than you like it.
"For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind" it says in the bible.
Well, I am not a Christian but this is true in my opinion. A war on Iraq and another demonstration of US superpower means another humiliation for the Arab world. They already have great problems with their current role. Those who once were superior to the western civilization are now the world's underdogs. Slowest growth and hardly any potential for change that is what the Arab world is facing. With such dreary prospects there are a lot of people that feel they have nothing to lose.
In a way this is something that explains Bush’s ambition to give the region a new order. In his inauguration speech Bush alluded to the angel in the whirlwind leading America. "I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you.” says God. But he only promises to do so if we:”listen carefully to what he [my angel] says and do all that I say.” If we base our action on HIS word, can war be the way the angel leads us?
Mr. Bush should be pretty sure at least for God also says: "Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since My Name is in him.”

Wasn’t there something, like international terrorism, we were fighting initially?

The unemployment rate among the youth of Saudi Arabia is 40%.
These people will not sit around and twist their thumbs. Terrorism will intensify on a massive scale. As Ken Livingston, London’s mayor, put it: "In the event of war further terrorist attacks will be inevitable”. And Wesley Clark (NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe 1997-2000) said: "If we go in unilaterally, or without the full weight of international organizations behind us, if we go in with a
very sparse number of allies, if we go in without an effective information operation ... we're liable to supercharge recruiting for Al-Qaida". And this WILL affect us. It will not just worsen the already alarmingly low business confidence, putting the markets under further pressure; it will presumably be the end of the internationally coordinated "War on Terrorism” which was quite successful up to now. And an increased possibility of fundamentalist bombs going off in central London, San Francisco, Dallas or Madrid will bring the terrorist threat right up to the doorstep of your home.

I am not suggesting that we should open ourselves to blackmail. We shall not be afraid of terrorism in a way that cripples our foreign policy which defends our common ideals and our way of life throughout the world. Tough action has to be taken where necessary. But is this war with its diverse causes and the inscrutable motivations behind it really necessary? That is the question!

All the best,

Hannes Klöpper
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Artikel vom 11. März 2003

Weiterführende Links
- Ein Austauschforum erzkonservativer Amerikaner: http://www.freerepublic.com/
- Eine andere Meinung
- Die humorvolle Art sich mit dem gegenwärtigen amerikanischen Demokratiedefizit auseinander zu setzen: www.democracymeansyou.com

- Gut recherchierte Übersicht: Anatomie einer Krise

Kommentare über A Letter

Deborah am 17.12.2005:
It's good to know what others around the world think. I am an American that was never tricked by Bush and his gang. I didn't think the evidence was strong enough for the invasion of Iraq; the weapons inspector's reports and reports from other experts were compelling enough for me. Osama is in Afghanistan, not Iraq. My son is a National Guard soldier currently serving in Iraq. We and he are against the war in Iraq. I don't believe the media, I believe my son; he's boots on the ground. It's also ironic that Bush hid from the Vietnam war in the National Guard, but he sends our National Guard to fight and die in this farce. The National Guard was intended for NATIONAL use--natural diseasters, etc.--not to serve while the majority of career military enjoy safety far from the fighting.

C.Carroll am 17.12.2005:
Excellent article!

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