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We Oppose Both Saddam Hussein and the U.S. War on Iraq

A call for a new, democratic U.S. foreign policy

Circulation began November, 2002.
Please sign on.

Please join Michael Albert, Medea Benjamin, Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Daniel Ellsberg, Janeane Garofalo, Robin D.G. Kelley, Mel King, Tony Kushner, Jesse Lemisch, John Leonard, Sue Leonard, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Nelson Lichtenstein, Ashkan Mojdehi, Toni Morrison, Ros Petchesky, Frances Fox Piven, Katha Pollitt, Barbara Ransby, Adolph Reed Jr., Matthew Rothschild, Arundhati Roy, Edward Said, Lydia Sargent, Saskia Sassen, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Richard Sennett, Stephen Shalom, Adam Shatz, Alix Kates Shulman, Alan Sokal, Art Spiegelman, Kurt Vonnegut, Immanuel Wallerstein, Naomi Weisstein, Cornel West, Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, and Howard Zinn in signing this anti-war statement from the Campaign for Peace and Democracy

If you have difficulty signing on, please send an email with your name and affiliation (for identification only) to:

Thank you,
Joanne Landy, Thomas Harrison, Jennifer Scarlott
Co-Directors, CPD

A call for a new, democratic U.S. foreign policy

Note: This statement was originally written in November 2002. We told everyone who signed the statement that we would update it once full-scale war broke out, and what follows is the revised version. Only minor changes have been made to reflect the altered situation, e.g. by deleting words like "impending" and "approaching" to describe the war and by eliminating the demand for lifting sanctions, now no longer relevant given the outbreak of the war.

We oppose the U.S.-led war on Iraq, which will inflict vast suffering and destruction, while exacerbating rather than resolving threats to regional and global peace. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who should be removed from power, both for the good of the Iraqi people and for the security of neighboring countries. However, it is up to the Iraqi people themselves to oust Saddam Hussein, dismantle his police state regime, and democratize their country. People in the United States can be of immense help in this effort -- not by supporting military intervention, but by building a strong peace movement and working to ensure that our government pursues a consistently democratic and just foreign policy.

We do not believe that the goal of the war against Iraq is to bring democracy to the Iraqis, nor that it will produce this result. Instead, the Bush Administration's aim is to expand and solidify U.S. predominance in the Middle East, at the cost of tens of thousands of civilian lives if necessary. This war is about U.S. political, military and economic power, about seizing control of oilfields and about strengthening the United States as the enforcer of an inhumane global status quo. That is why we are opposed to war against Iraq, whether or not it is waged unilaterally by Washington. Even if the attack had been endorsed by the UN Security Council, a body that is unaccountable to the General Assembly, this would only have been a result of bullying and bribery by the U.S.

The U.S. military may have the ability to destroy Saddam Hussein, but the United States cannot promote democracy in the Muslim world and peace in the Middle East, nor can it deal with the threat posed to all of us by terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda, and by weapons of mass destruction, by pursuing its current policies. Indeed, the U.S. could address these problems only by doing the opposite of what it is doing today -- that is, by:

  • Renouncing the use of military intervention to extend and consolidate U.S. imperial power, and withdrawing U.S. troops from the Middle East.
  • Ending its support for corrupt and authoritarian regimes, e.g. Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Egypt.
  • Opposing, and ending U.S. complicity in, all forms of terrorism worldwide -- not just by Al Qaeda, Palestinian suicide bombers and Chechen hostage takers, but also by Colombian paramilitaries, the Israeli military in the Occupied Territories and Russian counterinsurgency forces in Chechnya.
  • Supporting the right of national self-determination for all peoples in the Middle East, including the Kurds, Palestinians and Israeli Jews. Ending one-sided support for Israel in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
  • Taking unilateral steps toward renouncing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and vigorously promoting international disarmament treaties.
  • Abandoning IMF/World Bank economic policies that bring mass misery to people in large parts of the world. Initiating a major foreign aid program directed at popular rather than corporate needs.

A U.S. government that carried out these policies would be in a position to honestly and consistently foster democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere. It could encourage democratic forces (not unrepresentative cliques, but genuinely popular parties and movements) in Iraq, Iran and Syria, as well as Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Turkey. Some of these forces exist today, others have yet to arise, but all would flower if nurtured by a new U.S. foreign policy.

These initiatives, taken together, would constitute a truly democratic foreign policy. Only such a policy could begin to reverse the mistrust and outright hatred felt by so much of the world's population toward the U.S. At the same time, it would weaken the power of dictatorships and the appeal of terrorism and reactionary religious fundamentalism. Though nothing the United States can do would decisively undermine these elements right away, over time a new U.S. foreign policy would drastically undercut their power and influence.

The Administration's frantic and flagrantly dishonest efforts to portray Saddam Hussein as an imminent military threat to people in this country and to the inhabitants of other Middle Eastern countries lacked credibility. Saddam Hussein is a killer and serial aggressor who would doubtless have liked nothing better than to wreak vengeance on the U.S. and to dominate the Gulf Region. But there is no reason to believe he is suicidal or insane. Considerable evidence suggests that Saddam Hussein is much weaker militarily than he was before the Gulf War and that he is still some distance from being able to manufacture nuclear weapons. But most important, unlike Al Qaeda, he has a state and a position of power to protect; he knew that any Iraqi act of aggression against the U.S. or his neighbors would bring about his total destruction. As even CIA Director George Tenet has pointed out, it is precisely the certainty of a war to the finish against his regime that would provide Saddam Hussein with the incentive he has lacked until now to use whatever weapons he has against the U.S. and its allies.

Weapons of mass destruction endanger us all and must be eliminated. But a war against Iraq is not the answer. War threatens massive harm to Iraqi civilians, will add to the ranks of terrorists throughout the Muslim world, and will encourage international bullies to pursue further acts of aggression. Everyone is legitimately concerned about terrorism; however, the path to genuine security involves promoting democracy, social justice and respect for the right of self-determination, along with disarmament, weapons-free-zones, and inspections. Of all the countries in the world, the United States possesses by far the most powerful arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. If the U.S. were to initiate a democratic foreign policy and take serious steps toward disarmament, it would be able to encourage global disarmament as well as regional demilitarization in the Middle East.

The Bush Administration has used the alleged Iraqi military danger to justify an alarming new doctrine of preemptive war. In the National Security Strategy, publicly released on September 20, 2002, the Bush Administration asserted that the U.S. has the right to attack any country that might be a potential threat, not merely in response to an act of military aggression. Much of the world sees this doctrine for what it is: the proclamation of an undisguised U.S. global imperium.

Ordinary Iraqis, and people everywhere, need to know that there is another America, made up of those who both recognize the urgent need for democratic change in the Middle East and reject our government's militaristic and imperial foreign policy. By signing this statement we declare our intention to work for a new democratic U.S. foreign policy. That means helping to rein in the war-makers and building the most powerful antiwar movement possible, and at the same time forging links of solidarity and concrete support for democratic forces in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

War has come. But we declare our commitment to work with others in this country and abroad to end it immediately. And we will do all in our power to bring about a democratic and humane U.S. foreign policy.

Partial List of Signers

In addition to the names listed below, more than 5000 people have signed the statement. A list of these and additional names that come in will be posted and updated periodically on this website. All affiliations for identification only.

Name Affiliation or City or State
The Rev. Patricia Ackerman Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR)
Tanweer Akram Economist
Michael Albert ZNet/Z Magazine
Barbara Bader Aldave National Chair, Gray Panthers
Frederick, M. Anderson Ann Arbor, MI
Anthony Arnove Editor, Iraq Under Siege
Stanley Aronowitz Professional Staff Congress, AFT, NY
Mohammad Z. Babar Chemical Engineer
Ben H. Bagdikian
Dean Baker Center for Economic and Policy Research
Radhika Balakrishnan Marymount Manhattan College, New York
Jean E. Barker Peaceworkers
David Barsamian Alternative Radio
Rosalyn Baxandall SUNY at Old Westbury
Gary Benenson City College of New York
Medea Benjamin Founding Director, Global Exchange and Womens Peace Vigil
Phyllis Bennis Institute for Policy Studies
John Berendt New York
Marshall Berman City University of New York
Michael Berube Penn State Univ
Mel Bienenfeld NYC
Jean A. Blackwood Peace Awareness, Carthage, Missouri
Joel Bleifuss Editor & Publisher, In These Times
Rabbi Lewis E. Bogage DePauw Univ
Heather Booth Washington, DC
Paul Booth Washington, DC
Eileen Boris Univ of Calif, Santa Barbara
John Bosco Northampton, MA
Sam Bottone San Francisco
Lila Braine Barnard Coll, Columbia Univ
Jeremy Brecher West Cornwall, Connecticut
Judith Brody Washington, D.C.
Thomas Brody Washington DC
Richard J. Brown, MD Physicians for a National Health Program-NY
Preston & Ann Browning U. of Illinois/Chicago(Emeritus)
Mari Jo Buhle Brown Univ
Paul Buhle Brown Univ
Judith Butler Univ of Cal at Berkeley
Karisa Butler-Wall Students for Peace in Iraq Now
James S. Cannon
Ellen Cantarow Medford, Mass.
C. Carr Village Voice
Ramon Castellblanch SF State Univ
Patrick Cavanagh Harvard University
Dan Chambers Illinois Education Association
Charles S. Chapin
Paula & Steve Child
Noam Chomsky MIT
Dennis Clagett translator/editor, Switzerland
Joshua Cohen MIT, Boston Review
Lynda & Thomas Cowan
Margaret Crane The Write Formula
The Rev. Robert Warren Cromey Episcopal Priest
Amado & Maria Cruz
John B Curtin Vets for Peace, Oregon
Richard Deats Fellowship
Bogdan Denitch Transtions to Democracy
Patrick S. Diehl Vice-Chair, Sierra Club Glen Canyon Group
Manuela Dobos Brooklyn Parents for Peace
Andrew, E. Doe U.C. Santa Cruz
Ariel Dorfman writer
Ann Douglas Prof. Of English, Columbia Univ., NYC
Melinda Downey New Politics
Laura Lee Downs Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences
Melvyn Dubofsky Binghamton University, SUNY
Karen Durbin writer
Barbara Ehrenreich writer
Carolyn Eisenberg Hofstra University
Carolyn Ekeberg Loveland, Colorado
Stuart C. Elliott Kansas Workbeat
Daniel Ellsberg
Said Elnashaie AU, USA
Olga Emmel Wellesley College Centers for Women
Carlos R. Espinosa architect
Gertrude Ezorksy New Politics
Sam Farber Brooklyn Coll, CUNY
A.W. Farnsworth Minister, Disciples of Christ, Holla
Dawn Farrington SW Colorado Peace & Justice Coalition, Durango, CO
Liza Featherstone journalist, New York, NY
Andrew Feffer Union College
John Feffer writer
Peter T. Ferenbach Exec Dir, Calif Peace Action
Mike Ferro Oakland, CA
Barry Finger New Politics
John Fischbach New Orleans, LA
David L. Fleiss Washington DC
Marilyn French
David Friedman Berkeley, CA
Robert Gabe Gabrielsky Green Party of NJ
Janeane Garofalo North Hollywood, CA
Barbara Garson Author Money Makes the World Go Around
Jack Gerson Oakland,CA
Joseph Gerson American Friends Service Committee - New England Region
Frances Geteles NYC
Mary Gibson Rutgers Univ.
Daryl Glenney Gaithersburg, MD
Sherna Gluck Professor
Malcolm Wofsy Gordon New York City
Vivian Gornick
Robert M. Gould Physicians for Social Resp, SF-Bay Area
Christopher & Coleen Gowans Astoria, NY
Susan Griffin writer
Brett Gurewitz Epitaph Records, LA, Calif
Mina Hamilton
LaDonna Harris Santa Ana Pueblo
Leah Ida Harris Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel, Wash, DC
Thomas Harrison Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Rev. Mark C. Harvey Grace United Methodist Church, St. Louis
Howie Hawkins Green Party, Green Alliance
Barbara M. and
Herbert M. Hazelkorn
Judith Hempfling Yellow Springs, Ohio
William F. Henning, Jr. Vice Pres, CWA Local 1180
Doug Henwood Left Business Observer
Edward S. Herman Wharton School, Univ of PA
Michael Hirsch New Politics
Pearl Hirshfield artist-activist
Martin Hittelman California Federation of Teachers Vice President
Adam Hochschild
Nancy Holmstrom Rutgers Univ, Newark
Niels Hooper Publisher, Verso
Jerry Howett New York City
John Hyland Professional Staff Cong, CUNY, AFT
Doug Ireland journalist
Marianne Jackson Rescue Health Care NY
Julius & Phyllis Jacobson New Politics
Marty Jezer Brattleboro, Vermont
Alan Johnson New Politics
Virginia Kay Black Radical Congress
Wells Keddie Rutgers Univ
Robin D.G. Kelley NYU
Jean Kemble psychotherapist
Mujeeb Khan DePaul University
Mel King Rainbow Coal. Party, MA
Barbara Kingsolver writer
Alexander Kramer Cellist, Charlotte Symphony
Merle Krause
Tony Kushner playwright
Saul Landau Institute for Policy Studies
Joanne Landy Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Greg Laynor New Jersey Organizer, Sierra Student Coalition
Jesse Lemisch John Jay Coll
John Leonard NYC
Sue Leonard NYC
Rabbi Michael Lerner TIKKUN
Richard Levins Harvard School of Public Health
Mark Levitan Hoboken, N.J.
Hal R. Leyshon President Washington-Orange Central Labor Council (VT)
Nelson Lichtenstein UC Santa Barbara
Mary Lines Coupeville, WA
Arthur Lipow Alameda Peace Action Network
Gretchen M. Lipow Peace & Justice Caucus, NEA
Martha Livingston SUNY College at Old Westbury
David L. Mandel Jewish Voices for Peace
Betty Reid Mandell Bridgewater State Coll
Marvin Mandell Curry Coll
Al A. Mangan Peace & Justice ActionLeague Spokane
Selma Marks NYC
Kevin Martin Exec Dir, Peace Action
Timothy Patrick McCarthy Harvard Univ
John McMillian Harvard University
Jo Ann McNamara Hunter College, emerita
David McReynolds Socialist Party
Carol Miller Public Health Activist
John M. Miller War Resisters League
Mark Crispin Miller New York University
Ashkan Mojdehi Students for Peace and Freedom in Palestine
Kim Moody Labor Notes Policy Committee
Rosario Morales writer
Toni Morrison
Shams-Tabraiz Muzaffar Dallas, TX
Ken Nakayama Harvard University
Robert Nichols
David Oakford NYC
Christopher Oleskey Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Grace Paley
Mitul Patel Pres, Political ActivistClub,Piano WSr HS, TX
Ed Pearl Free Pacifica Neighborhood Network
Ros Petchesky WEDO (Womens Environment & Development Org)
Rima Phillips Port Townsend Peace Movement, WA
Frances Fox Piven Graduate School, CUNY
Katha Pollitt The Nation
Gina M. Portelli Citizens Standing Against War, KY
Omar Qureshi NYC
Janet E. Rafferty Chair, Green Party of Mississippi
Barbara Ransby Dept of African American Studies, Univ of Ill at Chgo
Marcus Rediker Univ of Pittsburgh
Adolph Reed, Jr. New School Univ
Adrienne Rich
Sonia Jaffe Robbins Network of East-West Women
Leonard Rodberg Queens Coll
David Roediger Univ of Illinois
Nancy Romer Brooklyn Coll
Linda Rosenberg NYC
Matthew Rothschild The Progressive
Arundhati Roy SIN(Sweethearts InternationalNetwork
Edward Said Columbia Univ
George Saliba Columbia Univ
Lydia Sargent Z Magazine
Saskia Sassen Univ of Chicago
Max B. Sawicky Senior Economist, Economic Policy Institute; National Executive
Charles Scarlott Tucson, AZ
Jennifer Scarlott Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Jay Schaffner Treasurer, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy & Socialism
Andre Schiffrin The New Press
Juliet Schor Boston Coll
Ellen Schrecker Yeshiva Univ
Jason Schulman co-editor, Democratic Left
Joel Schwartz Pres, CSEA Local 446, Staten Island, NY
Lynne Sharon Schwartz New York City
Peter Schwartz Berkeley, CA
Timothy Sears Democratic Socialists of America
Philip Selznick UC Berkeley
Richard Sennett NYU
Rabbi Gerald Serotta Temple Shalom, Chevy Chase, MD
Stephen R. Shalom William Paterson Univ
Adam Shatz journalist
Alix Kates Shulman writer
Tanya, G. Smith Oakland, CA
Ann Snitow Network of East-West Women
Sandy Socolar NYC
Sid Socolar NYC
Alan Sokal NYU
Art Spiegelman cartoonist
Vernon M Stevens Veterans for Peace
Cheryl Stevenson Boulder, CO
Elizabeth Stinson Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County
Mark Sweitzer Colorado Campaign Against War in Iraq
Bernard Tuchman NYC
Robert Vandivier Minister, United Church of Christ
Kurt Vonnegut
Alan M. Wald English Dept., U of Michigan
Robert Waldrop Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House, Oklahoma City
Immanuel Wallerstein Yale University
Judith Podore Ward NYC
Lois Weiner New Jersey City Univ
James Weinstein Founding editor, In These Times
Cora Weiss Hague Appeal for Peace
Peter Weiss Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy
Thomas Weisskopf
Susan Weissman Saint Mary s College of CA
Naomi Weisstein SUNY at Buffalo
Cornel West Princeton Univ
Dorie Wilsnack
Reginald Wilson Am Council on Education
Barbara Winslow School of Education and Womens Studies, Brooklyn, NY
Arnold Jacob Wolf Rabbi Emeritus, K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Cong, Chgo
Ira J. Woodward Reed Student Peace Action Network (RSPAN)
Kent Worcester Marymount Manhattan Coll
Michael Wreszin NYC
Anne Zill Center for Ethics in Action
Howard Zinn historian