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imperialism & war

Can you help ask the hard questions?

The Bush Administration appears determined to launch a war on Iraq. We have to convince Senators to be more vocal. Many of them are concerned that if they speak out on these issues, they'll be labeled 'unpatriotic.' As a constituent, you can help to convince them to ask the hard questions. We're setting up meetings between all 100 Senators and constituents who are concerned about the war juggernaut. Would you be willing to come?
The Bush Administration appears determined to launch a war on Iraq, regardless of the information presented at last week's hearings. According to The Guardian , a British newspaper, "senior US officials have said that a war against Iraq is now inevitable." This news comes despite the evidence raised at last week's hearings -- that a war in Iraq will be very expensive, in lives and in money; that it will take years, thousands of troops, and billions of dollars to reconstruct the country; that a war could spark regional conflict. Although many members of the Administration itself don't support attacking Iraq any more, the hawks at the helm have blinders on.

That's why we have to convince Senators to be more vocal. Many of them are concerned that if they speak out on these issues, they'll be labeled 'unpatriotic.' Nothing could be farther from the truth, of course: with our troops, our money, and our nation's reputation on the line, a true patriot would be very reticent to engage in a massive and bloody war based on so little evidence and such half-baked theory. As a constituent, you can help to convince them to ask the hard questions.

We're setting up meetings between all 100 Senators and constituents who are concerned about the war juggernaut. For you, the meetings will likely take place in your state capitol, during the last week of August. They'll only last about half an hour, but such meetings can have a major impact on a Senator's policy outlook.

Would you be willing to come?

Fill out this survey to let us know:

__I'm willing to join with other folks from MoveOn and meet with my Senator about Iraq.
__I'm interested, but I may not be able to make it.
__I can't do it.

__I'm willing to coordinate my group.
__I'm willing to serve as PR liaison for my group.
__I'm willing to serve as head spokesperson for my group.


For more information and the online form, go to:  http://www.moveon.org/iraq_meetings.html

If you've indicated that you're up for the meetings, we'll get back to you soon with more details on how they'll be structured and how to prepare.

Thanks for your help. These meetings can make a real difference, but they won't happen without people like you.

Sincerely,

--Eli Pariser
International Campaigns Director
MoveOn.org
Thursday, August 8, 2002


BACKGROUND ON A POSSIBLE WAR WITH IRAQ:


The Bush Administration is planning a war on Iraq. Troop deployments indicate that it could come in October; a "surprise attack" could come even sooner. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other top officials are honing a war plan that will require up to a quarter million troops.

The Bush Administration contends that a war on Iraq is needed because Saddam Hussein possesses or is intent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction. But no evidence of development of these weapons or the weapons themselves has been made public, or even offered to our allies in NATO.

Bush labeled Iraq a part of the "axis of evil," states which supposedly back terrorism. But there is no evidence at all that Iraq was behind the September 11th attacks or any other recent terrorist activity against the United States.

Even the top U.S. generals are counseling restraint. They're concerned that there will be lots of urban fighting and a probability that if Saddam does have weapons of mass destruction, he'll use them against U.S. troops or Israel. In the State Department, Colin Powell and other senior officials have urged a more diplomatic route -- they don't support a war right now either.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held hearings last week to determine whether a military campaign to oust Saddam Hussein is necessary, but they were a whitewash -- none of the people asked to testify were likely to argue against a war. And even those experts argued that a war would be costly, long, and difficult.

According to military and Middle East experts, a war in Iraq will likely cost hundreds, if not thousands, of American soldiers' lives ; kill many more Iraqi civilians, both through direct combat and through the eradication of crucial infrastructure; further destabilize the Middle East; alienate America's closest allies, almost all of whom (except Great Britain) oppose an attack; commit the military to a three-to-five year stay while Iraq rebuilds; and cost in the range of $60-100 billion in taxpayer dollars.

For the amount that a war with Iraq will cost ($60-100 billion), the U.S. could double humanitarian aid to poor countries, double K-12 education funding, increase federal funding for clean energy and energy efficiency, reduce debts of impoverished nations, renovate public schools over 10 years, offer health insurance to all uninsured American kids, fully fund Head Start, provide public financing of federal elections -- and we'd likely have billions left over.

Despite the lack of a strong case for war, Senators are nervous about asking hard questions because they don't want to be branded "weak on terrorism." But if they don't push the Bush Administration for answers soon, the nation could embark on a war that it will deeply regret. A former National Security Advisor, Brent Scrowcroft, noted that there's no quicker way to lose the War on Terrorism than to attack Iraq.

homepage: homepage: http://www.moveon.org/iraq_meetings.html