Green Party Calls Senate Hearings on Iraq a 'Sham.'
Greens demand that critics of Bush's intended invasion be included in hearings, especially UN weapons inspectors.
WASHINGTON, DC -- Warning that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would violate international law, candidates and other members of the Green Party of the United States called on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to reopen hearings on President Bush's planned war against Iraq. Greens demanded that the hearings be open to dissenting voices, including former U.N. weapons inspectors who could provide an adequate analysis of the security threat posed by Iraq.
"Sen. Joe Biden [D.-Del., chair of the hearing] excluded anyone who opposes Bush's policy on Iraq, or who might have offered a realistic assessment of Iraq's military and chemical weapons capability or the human costs of an invasion," said Holly Hart, Green Party candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Iowa. "Instead, we heard Caspar Weinberger, a pardoned criminal, repeat the Bush line. Americans deserve to hear a real debate before we sacrifice lives on both sides in a military venture that could cause a shock to the U.S. and world economy, destabilize the region, and flare up into a greater war involving dozens of nations."
Jennifer Daniels, Green candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York, said that "[Bush's] strategy places the U.S. in the position of becoming the very threat it opposes. The present U.S. strategy makes us all less safe."
Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who spent seven years investigating Iraq's weapons program before resigning in protest over U.S.-led economic sanctions, has repeatedly stated that Iraq neither possesses weapons of mass destruction nor maintains ties to international terrorism. NATO asked Ritter (who is Republican) to testify shortly after Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld asserted that Iraq posed a security threat. After Ritter's presentation, 16 of the 19 NATO nations wrote letters of complaint to the U.S. government about Rumsfeld's comments and about Bush's justification for war.
"We're not only concerned about massive U.S. casualties in our armed forces, but about the slaughter of Iraqi civilians," said Rahul Mahajan, Green candidate for Governor of Texas. "6, 000 Iraqi children a month are already dying from the economic sanctions, according to the U.N. Children's Fund. Two years ago the Pentagon estimated that about 10,000 Iraqi civilians could be killed in such a war. Destruction of Iraq's water supplies, medical care, electricity, and other infrastructure could lead to hundreds of thousands of additional deaths, especially among children and the elderly."
"A unilateral invasion would violate international law and the U.N. charter, as well as the U.S.'s constitutional limit on the use of armed forces for defense," said Steve Greenfield, New York Green candidate for the 22nd Congressional District. "It has no support among our European allies. Secretary of State Colin Powell, CIA chief George Tenet, and numerous military officials and experts are skeptical. There's no credible evidence of a threat to American security. Such a war would further destabilize the Middle East, could lead to the overthrow of other governments in the area, and is unlikely to promote democracy in Iraq or its neighbors."
"This war is being launched for political reasons, and without Congress's required approval," added Margart Lewis, Green candidate for Congress in the New York's 20th District. "Only Congress has the constitutional power to declare war, regardless of earlier 'blank checks.' Bush is furthermore using the invasion as an excuse to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Once a White House-mandated invasion is justified, all sorts of destructive policy can and will be enacted, and with minimal public debate."
Greens note that, if the relatively short Persian Gulf War cost $80 billion, then the invasion, extended occupation, and rebuilding of Iraq would likely cost the U.S. far more, further diverting taxpayer money from needed domestic investment in schools, health care, and the environment.
"Our Arab allies, already encountering strong anti-American sentiment at home because of U.S. support for Israel, not only fear domestic rebellions, but will demand huge pay-offs from the U.S.," explained Tim Harthans, Iowa Green candidate for the U.S. Senate. "Jordan says that it wants the U.S. to help make up for the loss it would suffer if the discount-price oil it gets from Iraq is cut off. The cost of the Gulf War and the resulting rise in oil prices led to an economic recession. An invasion of Iraq will have even a worse effect on the troubled U.S. economy."
"The Bush Administration is planning this invasion with no exit strategy," said Dick Kaiser, who is seeking a House seat in Wisconsin's 8th District . "Saddam's successor is likely to be military strong man with the same kind of bloody past and disregard for law and life. We didn't see democracy, human rights, or equality for women in Kuwait after the Persian Gulf War, either."
"Even Britain, America's staunchest ally, does not support war for the sake of 'regime change,'" said Dr. Jonathan Farley, a Tennessee Green candidate for Congress currently visiting England on a Fulbright scholarship. "This war is illegal and immoral, and I'm against it."
"The Senate needs to protect the interests of the American people and the world community, not provide political cover to President Bush," added Pennsylvania Green activist Carl Romanelli. "It's not enough to call Saddam Hussein evil incarnate."