December 17, 1998

"Iraqis Have Suffered Enough," An Editorial for "USA Today"


By John Dear

We should not have bombed Iraq (this past week). We should not kill Iraqi people in order to send a message to Saddam that he should not kill Iraqi people. There is no logic to such madness.

Indeed, killing people never solves anything. It only increases the hostility, hatred and spirit of vengeance. Armed military terror, initiated by the United States, escalates the spiral of violence in a region already drenched in blood and despair.

The children and people of Iraq are not our enemies. They have suffered too much already. They should not suffer anymore--whether from the Iraqi government or the United States government.

Already, according to the United Nations, more than one million Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the economic sanctions. Why do we keep making it worse?

In the season of Hanukkah, Ramadan and Christmas, bombing goes against all our cherished spiritual beliefs. These actions kill innocent human beings. They crush the possibility of constructive peace negotiations. They violate our best hopes for a nonviolent world.

People of faith and conscience around the country unequivocally condemn the renewed bombing of Iraq and call for nonviolent solutions to the crisis.

We oppose the administration's manipulation of the crisis as a pretext for deflecting attention from President Clinton's possible impeachment.

We call for the immediate lifting of the unjust economic sanctions, but not of all sanctions whatsoever. In the spirit of United Nations ideals, we advocate an embargo of arms transfers and sales to Iraq, Israel and all other nations of the Middle East, and we advocate the creation of a region free of all weapons of mass destruction. Further, we continue our ongoing call for the dismantling of U.S. weapons of mass destruction, including our thousands of nuclear weapons.

Creative nonviolence, in the tradition of Gandhi, Martin Luther King., Jr. and all the great religions, especially during this season of holy days, is the only way to resolve conflict with the Iraqi government, or anyone.

'Tis the season? Peace on earth? God bless us, everyone?

It is time to stop bombing people. We should send true season's greetings--not bombs, but the good news of peace.



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