FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    Contact: Former Sen. Jim Abourezk, SD 605-334-8402

February 27, 2003                                                          Former Sen. Bill Hathaway, ME 703-821-3074


A bipartisan group of former United States Senators today announced its opposition to the Bush Administration's plans to invade Iraq.

In a statement released by the former lawmakers, the group said that, among other problems a war will cause, the already struggling American economy will fall into a recession.  The statement continues:

"We are concerned with the expenditure of American lives in a war that need not be undertaken at this time.  Not only will our sons and daughters be put in harm's way, but this is a war that will dramatically increase the terrorist threat to Americans both at home, as well as the more than one million Americans who live abroad."

"We favor multiplying U.N. inspectors in Iraq - if necessary accompanied by U.N. forces - to complete the U.N.'s task more quickly and effectively.  This will be eminently less expensive in lives and treasure than all-out war."

"The nation's almost- forgotten "war on terrorism" has been seriously neglected because of the Administration's preoccupation with Iraq and Saddam Hussein."

"We are all concerned that serious damage that can be done to the United States by terrorism triggered by an attack on a sovereign Arab nation."

"As well, all Americans should be concerned that an invasion when carried to Iraq's cities will result in the needless killing of innocent Iraqi civilians, especially women and children, who have no voice in their government's policies." 

"A first strike is not authorized under international law, because Iraq poses no imminent or unavoidable threat to the United States.  And there has been no confirmable evidence of any connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda."

"We believe that the principles of the United Nations' Charter will be violated if we attack another nation when we are not threatened.  Such an attack will seriously undermine our ability to represent a moral standard to the world.  We will be prevented from objecting should India or Pakistan decide to attack the other, or if China should decide to invade Taiwan.  Instead of undermining United Nations' principles, we should be supporting them."

"We successfully contained the Soviet Union for nearly 50 years by avoiding an attack on that country which was a real threat the U.S.  Iraq has no current ability to threaten the United States as does North Korea, for example."

The group of former lawmakers includes Former United States Senators George McGovern of South Dakota, John Culver of Iowa, Paul Simon of Illinois, Adlai Stevenson III of Illinois, Fred Harris of Oklahoma, Dale Bumpers of Arkansas, Charles Mac Mathias of Maryland, Bill Hathaway of Maine, John Tunney of California, Gary Hart of Colorado, Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio, and James Abourezk of South Dakota.