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[casi] 1998 letter calling for an attack on Iraq

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Open Letter to the President

19 February 1998

Dear Mr. President,

Many of us were involved in organizing the Committee for Peace and Security
in the Gulf in 1990 to support President Bush's policy of expelling Saddam
Hussein from Kuwait. Seven years later, Saddam Hussein is still in power in
Baghdad. And despite his defeat in the Gulf War, continuing sanctions, and
the determined effort of UN inspectors to fetter out and destroy his weapons
of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein has been able to develop biological and
chemical munitions. To underscore the threat posed by these deadly devices,
the Secretaries of State and Defense have said that these weapons could be
used against our own people. And you have said that this issue is about "the
challenges of the 21st Century."

Iraq's position is unacceptable. While Iraq is not unique in possessing these
weapons, it is the only country which has used them -- not just against its
enemies, but its own people as well. We must assume that Saddam is prepared
to use them again. This poses a danger to our friends, our allies, and to our

It is clear that this danger cannot be eliminated as long as our objective is
simply "containment," and the means of achieving it are limited to sanctions
and exhortations. As the crisis of recent weeks has demonstrated, these
static policies are bound to erode, opening the way to Saddam's eventual
return to a position of power and influence in the region. Only a determined
program to change the regime in Baghdad will bring the Iraqi crisis to a
satisfactory conclusion.

For years, the United States has tried to remove Saddam by encouraging coups
and internal conspiracies. These attempts have all failed. Saddam is more
wily, brutal and conspiratorial than any likely conspiracy the United States
might mobilize against him. Saddam must be overpowered; he will not be
brought down by a coup d'etat. But Saddam has an Achilles' heel: lacking
popular support, he rules by terror. The same brutality which makes it
unlikely that any coups or conspiracies can succeed, makes him hated by his
own people and the rank and file of his military. Iraq today is ripe for a
broad-based insurrection. We must exploit this opportunity.

Saddam's long record of treaty violations, deception, and violence shows that
diplomacy and arms control will not constrain him. In the absence of a
broader strategy, even extensive air strikes would be ineffective in dealing
with Saddam and eliminating the threat his regime poses. We believe that the
problem is not only the specifics of Saddam's actions, but the continued
existence of the regime itself.

What is needed now is a comprehensive political and military strategy for
bringing down Saddam and his regime. It will not be easy -- and the course of
action we favor is not without its problems and perils. But we believe the
vital national interests of our country require the United States to:

Recognize a provisional government of Iraq based on the principles and
leaders of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) that is representative of all
the peoples of Iraq.

Restore and enhance the safe haven in northern Iraq to allow the provisional
government to extend its authority there and establish a zone in southern
Iraq from which Saddam's ground forces would also be excluded.

Lift sanctions in liberated areas. Sanctions are instruments of war against
Saddam's regime, but they should be quickly lifted on those who have freed
themselves from it. Also, the oil resources and products of the liberated
areas should help fund the provisional government's insurrection and
humanitarian relief for the people of liberated Iraq.

Release frozen Iraqi assets -- which amount to $1.6 billion in the United
States and Britain alone -- to the control of the provisional government to
fund its insurrection. This could be done gradually and so long as the
provisional government continues to promote a democratic Iraq.

Facilitate broadcasts from U.S. transmitters immediately and establish a
Radio Free Iraq.

Help expand liberated areas of Iraq by assisting the provisional government's
offensive against Saddam Hussein's regime logistically and through other

Remove any vestiges of Saddam's claim to "legitimacy" by, among other things,
bringing a war crimes indictment against the dictator and his lieutenants and
challenging Saddam's credentials to fill the Iraqi seat at the United

Launch a systematic air campaign against the pillars of his power -- the
Republican Guard divisions which prop him up and the military infrastructure
that sustains him.

Position U.S. ground force equipment in the region so that, as a last resort,
we have the capacity to protect and assist the anti-Saddam forces in the
northern and southern parts of Iraq.

Once you make it unambiguously clear that we are serious about eliminating
the threat posed by Saddam, and are not just engaged in tactical bombing
attacks unrelated to a larger strategy designed to topple the regime, we
believe that such countries as Kuwait, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, whose
cooperation would be important for the implementation of this strategy, will
give us the political and logistical support to succeed.

In the present climate in Washington, some may misunderstand and misinterpret
strong American action against Iraq as having ulterior political motives. We
believe, on the contrary, that strong American action against Saddam is
overwhelmingly in the national interest, that it must be supported, and that
it must succeed. Saddam must not become the beneficiary of an American
domestic political controversy.

We are confident that were you to launch an initiative along these line, the
Congress and the country would see it as a timely and justifiable response to
Iraq's continued intransigence. We urge you to provide the leadership
necessary to save ourselves and the world from the scourge of Saddam and the
weapons of mass destruction that he refuses to relinquish.


Hon. Stephen Solarz
Former Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

Hon. Richard Perle
Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Former Assistant Secretary of

Hon. Elliot Abrams
President, Ethics & Public Policy Center; Former Assistant Secretary of State

Richard V. Allen
Former National Security Advisor

Hon. Richard Armitage
President, Armitage Associates, L.C.; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense

Jeffrey T. Bergner
President, Bergner, Bockorny, Clough & Brain; Former Staff Director, Senate
Foreign Relations Committee

Hon. John Bolton
Senior Vice President, American Enterprise Institute; Former Assistant
Secretary of State

Stephen Bryen
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Hon. Richard Burt
Chairman, IEP Advisors, Inc.; Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany; Former
Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs

Hon. Frank Carlucci
Former Secretary of Defense

Hon. Judge William Clark
Former National Security Advisor

Paula J. Dobriansky
Vice President, Director of Washington Office, Council on Foreign Relations;
Former Member, National Security Council

Doug Feith
Managing Attorney, Feith & Zell P.C.; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of
Defense for Negotiations Policy

Frank Gaffney
Director, Center for Security Policy; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of
Defense for Nuclear Forces

Jeffrey Gedmin
Executive Director, New Atlantic Initiative; Research Fellow, American
Enterprise Institute

Hon. Fred C. Ikle
Former Undersecretary of Defense

Robert Kagan
Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Zalmay M. Khalilzad
Director, Strategy and Doctrine, RAND Corporation

Sven F. Kraemer
Former Director of Arms Control, National Security Council

William Kristol
Editor, The Weekly Standard

Michael Ledeen
Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; Former Special Advisor to
the Secretary of State

Bernard Lewis
Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern and Ottoman Studies, Princeton

R. Admiral Frederick L. Lewis
U.S. Navy, Retired

Maj. Gen. Jarvis Lynch
U.S. Marine Corps, Retired

Hon. Robert C. McFarlane
Former National Security Advisor

Joshua Muravchik
Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Robert A. Pastor
Former Special Assistant to President Carter for Inter-American Affairs

Martin Peretz
Editor-in-Chief, The New Republic

Roger Robinson
Former Senior Director of International Economic Affairs, National Security

Peter Rodman
Director of National Security Programs, Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom;
Former Director, Policy Planning Staff, U.S. Department of State

Hon. Peter Rosenblatt
Former Ambassador to the Trust Territories of the Pacific

Hon. Donald Rumsfeld
Former Secretary of Defense

Gary Schmitt
Executive Director, Project for the New American Century; Former Executive
Director, President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

Max Singer
President, The Potomac Organization; Former President, The Hudson Institute

Hon. Helmut Sonnenfeldt
Guest Scholar, The Brookings Institution; Former Counsellor, U.S. Department
of State

Hon. Caspar Weinberger
Former Secretary of Defense

Leon Wienseltier
Literary Editor, The New Republic

Hon. Paul Wolfowitz
Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS; Former Undersecretary of Defense

David Wurmser
Director, Middle East Program, AEI; Research Fellow, American Enterprise

Dov S. Zakheim
Former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense

Organization affiliations given for identification purposes only. Views
reflected in the letter are endorsed by the individual, not the institution.

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