A Canadian Response
The following letter was set to members of Parliament in Canada on March 7, 2003. - a sample response below
The end of civilization is NOT inevitable
The Pope warns that the planned U.S. war against Iraq would be a "defeat for humanity." Others call it a suicidal adventure that would effect the whole world. I am proud to recognize that Canada stands once again on the side of peace, sovereignty, and justice. For this I am grateful.
I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to you, as I do to every member of the Parliament of Canada, for the efforts that were made to enable Canada to stand on the side of peace. I am thankful that Canada is taking that position that invariably protects our friends and neighbors in the U.S. from falling into a suicidal trap that men with misguided zeal are vulnerable to.
Please keep up the good work, and many thanks. I am proud to be a Canadian, thanks to what you have accomplished for Canada and for humanity, in our House of Parliament.
Agape: In Search of Universal Love
Dear Rolf Witzsche,
Thank you for your letter concerning Canada’s role in a potential war against Iraq.
In 1998, and in violation of several United Nations Security Council resolutions, the Government of Iraq refused to allow weapons inspectors to continue their work in Iraq. This raised international concerns over the possibility that Iraq had, or was continuing to develop, weapons of mass destruction.
On September 16th, 2002 Iraq agreed to allow weapons inspectors to return to continue their inspections without condition. Shortly after, members of the United Nations Security Council began drafting a resolution that included a timetable Iraq would have to follow, in order for weapons inspectors to return to Iraq and complete their work as soon as possible.
Resolution 1441 has returned inspectors to Iraq, strengthening their hand and giving them new tools. Resolution 1441 with its clear statement of serious consequences of non-compliance, together with a credible threat of force, has compelled the measure of Iraqi compliance we have seen to date. Resolution 1441 lays out a process by which the council will receive reports from the inspectors and then consider the appropriate course of action, which might well involve another resolution.
On February 14, 2003 the United Nations received the second updates of Dr. Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, and Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Both reports agreed that Iraq had begun to cooperate on several fronts, including allowing for interview of scientists without Iraqi government supervision. They asked for more time to continue their inspections.
Canada’s position, as articulated by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Affairs Minister, has been principled and clear. The Prime Minister’s speech in Chicago elucidated Canada’s strong commitment to the United Nations process. Canada will not commit to the use of military force before all the evidence is in or before the United Nations process has had the opportunity to reach a conclusion. We will not ignore our duties as a member of the United Nations and abandon the United Nations at the very point when inspectors have asked for more time and concerted international pressure may bring about Iraqi cooperation.
Canada subscribes to the principle of multilateralism as embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, and is in agreement with Security Council Resolution 1441. Indeed, over 90 per cent of Canadians, and 80 per cent of Europeans, approve of the current United Nations process, and are opposed to any unilateral action by the United States.
As a sovereign nation it is obvious that Canada will formulate its own foreign policy based on Canadian values and principles. Being neighbours and allies does not mean that our government will always “walk in lock step” with the United States. Our foreign policies on Vietnam and Cuba are past examples of this.
I believe if the United States pursues military action against Iraq, without irrefutable evidence, proving that Iraq presents a clear and imminent danger to global security, a dangerous precedence would be set that could allow any one nation, without justification or international approval, to launch a pre-emptive military strike. Such a precedent presents a very serious threat to international security. What then would prevent India from launching a strike against Pakistan, or Pakistan against India, or Russia against Georgia or China against any of its neighbours? The United Nations was set up to create a multinational forum that could provide checks and balances against such eventualities. Moreover, it seems illogical that the United States seeks war against Iraq in order to force disarmament while North Korea continues to make real and vocal threats to global security.
There are many questions that one needs to ask before embarking on war against Iraq. What will war accomplish? It will certainly not rid the world of Saddam Hussein, whom we must acknowledge as a virulent human rights violator.
Bombing Afghanistan did not destroy the Al Queada network or Osama bin Laden. We should not be naïve enough to expect Hussein to wait for bombs. He will escape-but the already decimated Iraqi people will suffer the consequences. Since Desert Storm in 1991 and 12 years of sanctions, one million Iraqi’s have died, 60% of whom are children under 7. UNICEF and the WHO have reported that 4500 children per month die in Iraq of starvation and water borne diseases, since Iraqi water systems were destroyed in 1991. So what sense does it make to destroy vulnerable, innocent civilians?
We need to seek ways to effectively disarm Iraq, and eventually, all nations, who harbour weapons of mass destruction. There can be no double standards or exceptions to disarmament. Some nations have suggested that ground troops in Iraq may support inspectors and achieve disarmament with minimal damage to civilians. Is this an option to consider?
With regard to human rights violations, the International Criminal Court presents a real process for bringing international criminals to justice. Canada was instrumental in bringing about this instrument, as a means of ensuring “rule of law.”
The aftermath of a strike against Iraq must be considered. Will it lead to further terrorist activity? Will it bring about long-term disarmament and security? These questions must be considered before we use war as a solution.
I believe that war should always be the solution of last resort. At times, however, war or armed conflict cannot be avoided. In such cases, it is our responsibility as a nation which values the rule of law and multinational co-operation, to carefully consider our options with the international community, and to pursue any military action based on a multinational consensus. This consensus should be determined through the Security Council of the United Nations.
If, at the end of this process, the United Nations Security Council believes that Iraq presents an “imminent threat” to global security, it may see fit to sanction a unilateral strike. Canada will then assess its options.
The Hon. Hedy Fry P.C., M.P.