Sent: Wednesday, September 11, 2002 3:11 AM



The heated rhetoric surrounding the use of military action against Iraq in order to remove President Saddam Hussein from power and to eliminate what President Bush has labeled as that nation's hold on "weapons of mass destruction" has sparked debate throughout the world. It seems clear that the present leadership of the United States will accept nothing less than the forcible removal of Saddam Hussein from power and the destruction of all weapons from his military arsenal. Despite openings for continued dialogue and sharing within the Congress and the larger global community in seeking a peaceful and nonviolent solution, the President of the United States seems committed to moving forward with such a military policy. In a very real sense the thesis for war with Iraq is now being defended by the Bush Administration and there is seemingly little hope that the defense of this thesis will be lost in the days ahead.

The history of the current Iraqi government and the cunning and repressive leadership of President Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party are both a constant threat to Middle Eastern stability and the very health and welfare of the Iraqi people. The reality of the development and use of biological and chemical warfare agents by the Iraqi government and their use in previous military campaigns must be condemned as immoral and inhuman. Such behavior is unacceptable within the context of the world community of nations.

The United States is without doubt the greatest military and economic power in the world today. Its great wealth and rich cultural and ethnic diversity, coupled with the great gift of the Constitution, has engendered distrust, animosity and righteous anger in many nations. Currently captured by the poverty of international debt, rampant unchecked disease, internal political unrest, social violence, religious wars, inadequate or totally lacking educational opportunities, these peoples feel domination by a world power that seems more focused on its own self interests. Our success as well as our insensitivity and blindness to the crying needs of the larger world have created unparalleled international tensions, especially within the Middle East.


Alexis De Tocqueville said during a visit to America, "America is great because America is good and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." When we as a people lose sight of the great goodness that has defined who and what we are, and when we fail to seek every alternative other than military intervention to deal with violence, then we will have lost a most precious gift and will ultimately become what we despise the most, a callous and violent nation.

Therefore I call upon the President and Congress of the United States to work with all due speed and with every available resource to resolve the crisis with Iraq using all non-violent means. We as a nation must seek the counsel and support of member nations of the United Nations. Anything less demeans not only the goodness of who we are as Americans but our true greatness as a nation.

I believe with all my heart that Muslims, Christians and Jews are ultimately committed to claiming a God of peace, justice and love. As a Christian I hold fast to the truth revealed in Christ that war is not inevitable, moreover that war ultimately represents a tragic failing in the human condition.

History never lies! Justice seemingly gained through the use of violence only begets more violence and oppression. Nations using weapons of "mass destruction," and we are a nation possessing such weapons, only exacerbate the problems of alienation and hostility that define the human condition in an ever shrinking global community.

In Christ's Peace, Power and Love

The Right Reverend John Bryson Chane
Episcopal Bishop of Washington