The inspectors have found no evidence of any weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. Not only is there no “smoking gun,” there’s no gun at all. Even with some of Washington’s intelligence, supposedly proving the presence of WMD programs, provided to the UN inspectors, they have not found any evidence. The U.S. refuses to turn over all the intelligence information it claims it has to the UN.
The Bush administration’s claim that aluminum tubes imported by Iraq “prove” evidence of a nuclear weapons program turns out to be false. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report said that the tubes are much more consistent with a conventional rocket program than with nuclear weapons.
International support for war is lower than ever. Both Britain and France have asserted that the inspection process is proceeding and is not close to being finished. Turkey has pulled back from its earlier hints that it would allow U.S. troops full access to its territory and bases.
Getting support from the UN is more difficult than ever. Security Council members are still angry over the U.S. seizure of the Iraqi arms declaration, resulting in only a heavily edited version being made available to the 10 elected members, and the exclusion of all references to U.S. and allied corporations involved in supporting Iraq’s WMD programs in the past.
It is possible that the U.S. will be unable to get the necessary 9 positive Council votes supporting a war. There could be as many as seven abstentions (possibly including France, Russia, China, Angola, Chile, Germany, Pakistan, Cameroon, Guinea).
The North Korea nuclear crisis is one more piece of evidence that this war against Iraq is not about weapons of mass destruction; if it was, North Korea (which is much further along with nuclear weapons, is making direct threats against the U.S., and has thrown out the UN inspectors) would be a much more immediate target than Iraq (which has NO nuclear weapons or capacity, is not threatening the U.S. and is welcoming in the UN inspectors).
U.S. military leaders, who went public with their cautions during the spring and summer but disappeared since the fall of 2002, have reemerged with their hesitations. The commanders of the Army and the Marine Corps have recently stated that war with Iraq will not be an easy victory, and that the U.S. military will pay a bloody price.
UN humanitarian agencies recently said that 500,000 Iraqis would be injured in the early stage of a U.S. war, that up to 9.5 million Iraqis would immediately become dependent on aid agencies for basic food. UN planning anticipates providing emergency food only to about half of those in need – up to 4.5 million people; of those in need of food, the UN estimates that about 3 million will face “dire malnutrition.” Less than half the population would retain access to clean water. The UN describes a U.S. war in Iraq resulting in a crippled nation with shattered infrastructure, an electricity grid badly damaged, and facing major damage to the oil industry, with overall civilian damage anticipated at levels far beyond that of the 1991 Gulf War.
Even if evidence of a WMD program is found, there is no basis for war. We cannot accept the legitimacy of killing potentially hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to prevent a speculative future threat. We reject going to war on spec.