May 21, 2013
Taking a Stand Against War
Posted on May 11, 2008
By Scott Ritter
“WHEREAS, An attack on Iran is likely to inflame hatred for the U.S. in the Middle East and elsewhere, inspire terrorism, and lessen the security of Americans in Chicago and worldwide.”
The reputation of the United States has been severely harmed by the irresponsible actions of the Bush administration in Iraq. Without condoning the actions of groups such as al-Qaida, it is important to understand that irresponsible American action abroad does manifest itself in a backlash, and that often this backlash comes in the form of terrorism. Any U.S. attack on Iran would only reinforce the opinions of those in the world already disposed against the United States, and draw many more into their ranks. The only way to truly win the war on terror is to identify the point at which an individual decides to embrace terror as a means of achieving an objective, along with the means for which such a decision was made, and then to take actions to prevent that point from ever being reached. To operate as if American policy and actions in Iraq, and the potential of similar actions and activities in Iran, do not influence this equation is simply to ignore reality and embrace ignorance.
“WHEREAS, The Iraq war and occupation has already cost the lives of over 4,000 American soldiers, the maiming and wounding of over 38,000 American soldiers, the death and maiming of over one million Iraqi civilians.”
The war in Iraq has already killed far too many people, American and Iraqi alike. This war is widely recognized as being unsustainable. The key question that must be answered by those who champion a “stay the course” approach is, “How big do you want the Iraqi War Memorial to be?” It is already 4,070-plus names too big. Expanding the conflict to include Iran would not only extend this unwinnable (and unjustified) war, but it would also expand the size of whatever memorial is eventually built to commemorate this national folly. And while America will probably never construct a memorial to the Iraqi people we are responsible for killing and wounding, it should be understood that these people will never be forgotten by their fellow Iraqis, and indeed the rest of the world. To extend this human suffering and tragedy into Iran would be to create a level of suffering for which America can never, and should never, be forgiven.
“WHEREAS, Any conflict with Iran is likely to incur far greater costs and divert more precious national resources away from critical human needs in Chicago and its 50 wards.”
As the American economy continues to suffer under the strains of the second most expensive war in U.S. history (after World War II), and as the Pentagon continues to consume national treasure which is sorely needed for domestic programs involving the health, education and general welfare of the people, it must be recognized that, in going to war against Iraq, President Bush actually declared war on the American people. Any military action against Iran would only magnify the economic consequences of this criminal folly.
“BE IT RESOLVED, That the City Council of the City of Chicago does hereby urge the Illinois Congressional delegation to clearly express the will of the people of Chicago in opposing any U.S. attack on Iran, and urging the Bush Administration to pursue diplomatic engagement with that nation, and
America claims to be the greatest functioning democracy in the world today. While our system is in reality a democratic republic, the will of the people is in fact expressed through those whom they elect to represent them in higher office. The resolution of the Chicago City Council opposing war on Iran is as strong a statement as can be made by a free people outside of an election. For this resolution to have any real meaning, it must be made clear to those in the Illinois congressional delegation, especially those representing the people of Chicago, that this resolution is not simply a collection of words, but rather a collection of political will, and that any representative who fails to act in a manner reflective of the serious intent of this resolution will be held to account. Such accountability is what completes the cycle of representative democracy, and if those whom the citizens of Chicago elect to represent them in Congress fail to respond to the collective resolve of their constituencies, then they must do so at their own political peril if this resolution is to have any meaning.
I am proud of the City Council members for standing up in defense of the ideals and values of not only the citizens of the great city of Chicago but also for setting an example that all cities, towns and villages across America should follow in the coming weeks so that the collective will of the people can resonate within the halls of Congress, and a senseless and illegal war with Iran can be averted. I have always believed that the true strength of America is best measured by the principled action of its people. Chicago is leading the way by taking a principled stand. It is now up to the rest of America to follow suit.
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