Statement on U.S. War in Iraq
The Social Action Committee of the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations, CSJO, consisting of affiliate groups in the United States and Canada, opposed the decision of the Bush administration to go to war with Iraq, because there was never conclusive evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat to the United States and the war was not authorized by the United Nations.
Since the invasion of Iraq, none of the justifications put forth by the Bush administration have proven to be true. No weapons of mass destruction have been found, indicating that the UN inspection program and sanctions had, indeed, been working. No connections have been discovered that link Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda or to terrorist activities against the United States. On the contrary, al-Qaeda-linked insurgents began to operate in Iraq after the overthrow of the Saddam regime due to the porous borders and the invasion, which led to an increased radicalization of the Moslem world against the United States. The war in Iraq has also drained our military resources resulting in a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and the re-emergence of Taliban control in many areas. (There are currently 138,000 US troops in Iraq, compared to only 20,000 in Afghanistan!).
While we certainly do not mourn the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime, the claim that one of the primary reasons for the invasion was to “liberate” the Iraqi people from a dictatorial regime, rings false and hypocritical. Many of the abuses carried out by Saddam Hussein against his people – the torture and murder of opposition members, the use of poison gas against the Kurds – occurred in the 1980s when the United States supplied him with military assistance in his war against Iran.
Unfortunately, the war with Iraq has had grave, undesirable consequences. More than twice as many American men and women have lost their lives in the war since President Bush declared, “mission accomplished.” Although fulfilling the military objective of toppling the Saddam regime occurred with lightening speed, we are ill-prepared to accomplish the political objective of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. We have become bogged down in a quagmire. We were horrified by the graphic portrayals of American soldiers carrying out inhumane acts against Iraqi prisoners that abrogated international treaties. Not coincidentally, our acts of inhumanity were followed by barbaric treatment of American soldiers and aid workers by the Iraqi opposition.
We call for full disclosure of events that led up to the invasion of Iraq. We also call on the American people to hold accountable those who led us into this debacle. No matter what the outcome, a war based on false premises is not good for America and democratic values throughout the world.