Thank you, Rep. Kucinich for inviting me to speak today. I do not believe that our world, our children, the people of the Middle East or the citizens of Israel will be safer by going to war against Iraq. I believe that going to war against Iraq would be a mistake. The cost would be heavy in lives lost, dollars wasted and it would squander the goodwill of our allies.
The serious question is when will the human race work towards peace, rather than war. As citizens of the most educated and financially well-off country in history, when will we decide to put our strength and our energy and our creativity behind peace rather than destruction.
It is true that Saddam Hussein is a dictator – he is a menace and the world would be better off without him. But, the world will also be better off if the United States works within the scope of international institutions instead of launching an unprovoked first-strike against Iraq. America’s greatest asset is our moral authority, not our military power. Attacking a sovereign country unprovoked forfeits that authority completely.
A war with Iraq will cost between $100-250 billion. Just think what we could do with that amount of money if we decided to invest in humanity rather than military hardware.
With $150 billion we could help developing countries in Africa by forgiving half of the continent’s debt, $112 billion would repair or rebuild all the public schools in the United States, and for only $12 million we could demine and replant the breadbasket of Afghanistan to help that nation recover from more than 20 years of continuous war.
We owe it to our children to exercise the full range of diplomatic options in Iraq, so we can prevent a war that will cost thousands of lives, and give a boost to our real enemies – the terrorists who planned September 11.
War represents a failure of national policy. It is a last resort. America’s strength is our commitment to moral action and a government based on the rule of law. That law must never be silent, and our moral sensibilities must never be intimidated by fear.
Dated: September 19, 2002 10:00 AM Cannon Terrace