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[casi] Bush Fails To Make Case

Bush has failed to make case for Iraq attack: academics

November 2 2002

Minneapolis, Minnesota: More than 13,000 United States academics have signed an open letter 
opposing a US invasion of Iraq, arguing that President George Bush has failed to make his case for 

In the letter, on the internet at, the scholars say Mr Bush has failed to 
demonstrate a credible threat from Iraq's President Saddam Hussein, failed to mobilise an 
international coalition in support of its aims, and even failed to persuade some of its own 
supporters of the merit of such a step.

"The decision to go to war should have the clear support of the US Congress, the Secretary of 
State, and the commanding officers of the armed forces," they argue.

"The likelihood of a high cost in lives of both combatants and non-combatants is too great given 
the weak justifications that have been offered for an invasion."

Mr Bush last month received overwhelming support for invading Iraq from Congress, but several 
senior members - including some Republicans - have expressed reservations about the idea.

The signatories went on to suggest that the mooted invasion risked increasing regional and global 
instability by raising tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, boosting the popular appeal of 
radical Islamist movements, and increasing anti-US sentiment, among other things.

"As educators and scholars we hope our message sparks informed discussion on- and off-campus that 
reaches to Washington DC," they conclude.

The letter was the idea of a geology lecturer at the University of Minnesota who passed it around 
to a few colleagues and got it published on September 17 in the university paper, the Minnesota 
Daily. The letter was later posted on the internet by someone at the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology, and by Thursday contained nearly 30,000 signatures.

However, polls have consistently shown most Americans support Mr Bush in what he says is a 
disarmament effort, even to the point of launching a US attack to oust Saddam.

After six weeks of negotiations, the US and France on Thursday appeared on the brink of agreement 
on a United Nations resolution that would allow weapons inspectors to test Iraq's co-operation 
before any possible military action.

But diplomats said differences were still crucial enough for the Bush Administration to postpone 
calls for a vote until after Tuesday's congressional elections or run the risk of failure.

France's resistance to a provision in the US-British draft resolution that could trigger an attack 
on Iraq if it foils UN weapons inspectors is the biggest hurdle to an agreement, a US official said.

Along with the US and Britain, France, Russia and China have veto power on the 15-member Security 

The US and Britain want to threaten Iraq with "serious consequences" if it does not cooperate with 

The Secretary of State, Colin Powell, said the US was agreeable to holding talks in the Security 
Council immediately after inspectors met resistance.

But at any point along the way Mr Bush retained the authority to use force against Iraq, Mr Powell 

"There is nothing that we would propose in this resolution or we would find acceptable in a 
resolution that would handcuff the President of the United States in doing what he feels he must 

Iraq, which denies hiding weapons of mass destruction, said the "aggressive resolution distorts 
facts, imposes oppressive and impossible conditions and is a declaration of an imperialist war 
against Iraq".

It has agreed to allow arms inspectors to return after a four-year absence, and said it would give 
them unfettered access to suspected weapons sites. But the US has asked the inspectors to stay put 
while it seeks a tougher mandate.

~ Anai Rhoads

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