Urban Politics #139: The Pending War In Iraq


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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.

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Letter To Our Senators

Monday morning at the Council’s Briefing Meeting I asked City Councilmembers to join me in sending a letter to Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell requesting that they oppose the Administration’s resolution, authorizing the use of American military might against Iraq. It is critical that our Senators receive this message as soon as possible since they may have to vote on it in the next 10 days.

A copy of the no-war letter is below. All Councilmembers, have signed the letter with the exception of Councilmember Margaret Pageler who had previously sent a letter of her own to the Senators making the same request.

I have asked Mayor Greg Nickels to consider sending a letter and he is currently reviewing ours. I also sent the letter to some County Councilmembers asking that they consider sending one to our Senators. As many public officials as possible should let their voices be heard on this critical Congressional vote.

Cities Santa Cruz and Oakland in California have passed similar resolutions, as has the Washington State Democratic Party.

Bush’s call for a war with Iraq must be resisted. We risk the lives of American personnel in a costly and protracted conflict that would inflame the anti-US extremism in the region. Even in the best case of a speedy military resolution, we risk many subsequent years of political and economic upheaval in the Middle East.

Instead, I believe we must encourage our nation’s leaders to work with the United Nations and our traditional allies in Europe and in the Mideast to pursue a workable and effective solution based on diplomacy not military intervention.

Seattle Councilmembers Letter to Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell:

We are gravely concerned that the United States is about to go to war with Iraq. If it does, it most likely will result in both high U.S. military personnel and foreign civilian casualties. Our nation must not rush to judgment in brushing aside the use of weapons-inspectors within Iraq instead of sending in our military.

As Senator Robert C. Byrd has said: “We must not be hell-bent on an invasion until we have exhausted every other possible option to assess and eliminate Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction program. We must not act alone. We must have the support of the world.”

We have not seen that support to date. Neither has the administration, in the judgment of the United Nations and the clear majority of our European allies, provided convincing evidence that Iraq presents an immediate nuclear or chemical threat to other nations, including the U.S. If the U.S. embarks on a path of unilateralism by undertaking a preemptive military invasion of Iraq, we believe it will undermine the foreign partnerships and world support necessary to successfully eliminate the threat of terrorism within our country.

We strongly ask you to oppose the Administration’s resolution, which may go before the Senate this week authorizing the use of American military might against Iraq. The President requests approval for using “all means he determines to be appropriate.” Senator Robert C. Byrd is right on the mark when he says, “Congress must not hand this Administration — or any Administration — a blank check for military action.”

Thank you in advance for standing up for our democracy and doing the right thing on the most important decision our nation faces.

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