We, members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, oppose a preemptive war by the United States on Iraq.

It is a violation of the United Nations Charter, and hence of international and United States law, for one nation to use military force against another except in self-defense. The right of self-defense exists only if an armed attack against a member state actually occurs or is imminent.

President George W. Bush has failed to present a convincing case that Iraq constitutes an imminent threat to the United States, or that Saddam Hussein is connected in any way to the crimes against humanity committed on September 11, 2001.

Moreover, a preemptive war on Iraq will:

  • further alienate our nation from a world community that increasingly looks on the United States as a superpower operating without restraint and purely in its own interest;
  • increase the risk of destabilizing not only the volatile Middle East, but also Asian countries now helping in the fight against terrorism;
  • increase the likelihood of further terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, and against U.S. citizens abroad;
  • lead to the certain death and injury of American servicemen and women, and Iraqi civilians and soldiers;
  • involve huge costs which would divert funding from critical needs at home, including counter-terrorism efforts;
  • lead to the further erosion of civil liberties and the suppression of dissent in the United States, a nation founded on respect for civil liberties and dissenting voices;
  • further legitimize militarism and violence as a means to settle international disputes.

The International Criminal Court, or other multilateral institutions that promote justice and cooperation, can be utilized to hold Saddam Hussein accountable for his violations of human rights and international law.

As Unitarian Universalists, we uphold the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; and the goal of world community, with peace, liberty, and justice for all.

Thus, we call upon President Bush to pursue paths towards international security, peace, and justice that do not involve war and violence.

Note: This statement was approved on February 2, 2003 by a 96 percent majority of UUCPA voting members at a Congregational Meeting, and 4 percent disapproved.


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