To the Editor:
No proof has been provided that Iraq has nuclear weapons mounted on launchers aimed at the United States or troops massed on its borders or has developed deliverable weapons of mass destruction. No case can be made that a war against Iraq is justified for the self-defense of the United States. The question of weapons inspection non-compliance should be a matter for the United Nations.
A pre-emptive war represents a major and dangerous change in U.S. foreign policy. It also sets a terrible precedent for other nations. Pre-emptive war cannot become a universalized principle lest disaster and chaos result. There are questions yet to be asked and answered about many matters including the potential loss of life on all sides, the financial cost of a war and its aftermath, and consequences for the future of Iraq.
Presumably, Baghdad, a huge city filled with innocent civilians, must be a major objective of attack. Accidentally or not, we have seen the deaths of too many noncombatants in Afghanistan in recent months as the result of poor targeting and decision-making. How many more civilians will die? What is the reasonable chance of success in this war? How long would it take to rebuild destroyed areas? Can the United States effectively carry out regime change?
A war against Iraq would be illegal, immoral, and wrong. I urge the editors to work to bring these questions and the voices of those opposed to the war to the American people so that they may know more than the line being promoted by certain elements in the administration.