War Is Still Not the Answer
March 20, 2003
War is still not the answer to Saddam Hussein, terrorism, or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Yet now the bombs are falling, and the U.S.-led military invasion of Iraq will begin soon.
As members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), we are called to witness to God's love for every human being; to respect the human dignity of each person; to promote equality and justice; to oppose violence and war; and to work for a peaceful world. We call upon the President and Congress to halt this inhumane, unjust, unnecessary, provocative war.
We pray for the peoples of Iraq, now suffering from both Saddam Hussein's oppressive rule and the unjustified U.S.-led military attack. We pray for the men and women in the U.S. armed forces, needlessly sent into harm's way and for their families. We pray that our government leaders will come to recognize the arrogance of power that is reflected in their policies and actions and that they will seek instead peaceful alternatives to war based on international cooperation and law. We pray for President Bush and Saddam Hussein, that their hearts may be turned from war to peacemaking. We pray that our country will recognize its historic complicity in creating the circumstances we now face.
Over the past year, increasing millions of people across this country have labored with Congress and the Administration to prevent this war and to promote peaceful alternatives. Strong majorities of like-minded citizens and governments around the world united in this call for peace with justice.
Yet, the voices of the people have been ignored. Instead, we have watched in anguish as our government squandered the international good will for the U.S. that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001. We have seen the rhetoric of "security" used to justify the erosion of civil liberties and human rights and the rejection of the United Nations and international law. We have watched as federal budget priorities were shifted further away from addressing unmet human needs toward building global military dominance and pursuing an ever-expanding "war on terror."
By launching a preemptive war against Iraq, the U.S. government is needlessly putting at risk the lives of U.S. military personnel and the Iraqi people, spreading the seeds of hatred, and increasing the chance that violence will spread far beyond the bounds of the current conflict. The community of nations is being torn apart. International law, the UN Charter, and the principles of cooperation for peace and security are being undermined. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is accelerating in North Korea and elsewhere in the fear that, following the war in Iraq, the U.S. will attack other countries or that others will follow the U.S. example by launching preemptive wars of their own to resolve historic disputes.
True security arises not from the exertion of military power and control, but from respect for international law and the lifting up of our common hopes, aspirations, and humanity. We join with all those who seek to build a society that respects the dignity of each person, resolves conflicts peacefully, promotes freedom, justice, and democracy, and preserves the natural environment. We call upon the President, Congress, Friends and all people of good will to help end this war now, to heal the deep wounds from this conflict, to prevent further bloodshed, and to build a world in which all people may enjoy true security, free of war and the threat of war.