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Saturday, January 25, 2003

Alternatives to War: As you know from reading the blog, I am dead set against war in Iraq. But it is certainly difficult to argue that Saddam Hussein is not a tyrant who would be extremely dangerous if he did in fact have nuclear weapons. This is in part because it is most likely true, and in part because Americans have been brainwashed for 12 1/2 years to believe it. We could counter that countries like Pakistan, North Korea and Israel already have nuclear weapons and have leaders who probably shouldn't be trusted with them (the US too, but that argument doesn't win with lots of Americans), but then our case is easily turned into just supporting going to war with these other countries first. Which, speaking for myself, is not what I want. So, while I don't buy the whole argument that Saddam is any big threat to us, I would like a good proposal to give to people who support going to war that doesn't say that Saddam is okay, and that also doesn't say we should fight these other countries first.

In my mail, I found a letter from "," a group from Massachusetts which formed a write-in campaign to oppose John Kerry for Senate after Kerry voted for the Iraq war resolution in October. Unfortunately, I can't get to their web site, so I'm going to just type in their listed alternatives to war. These are ideas that I think form a more logical and consistent middle ground between hawks and doves than "win without war" which basically says there are ways to make our oil grab without killing so many people, and "let the inspections work," which provides little leeway if the inspections work and do find the "smoking gun."

So, here are's "Alternatives to War:"
  • Carry out inspections, backed up, if necessary, by armed guards or a policy of destroying any sites not open to inspection (after warning and evacuation).
  • Enforce an arms embargo that is narrowly focused and universally observed.
  • Establish a procedure for future inspections.
  • End the current economic sanctions, replacing them with an option to freeze the foreign assets and travel of Saddam Hussein, his family, and other top individuals in his administration.
  • Re-open talks on a nuclear-weapon freeze zone in the Middle East.
  • As a first step to such a zone, insist on "transparency" on nuclear capabilities in the region, including an Israeli overview of its nuclear weapon program and Iranian accounting of potential nuclear weapon and energy applications of its nuclear power program.

There's more good stuff in the letter: I think that it shows that there is a lot of unexplored middle ground between "letting Saddam become a nuclear tyrant over the region" and "bombing Iraq even further back into the stone age." Hopefully my problem getting to is only temporary, or maybe I just didn't send them a donation in time, which would be a shame.