An open letter to the United States Congress
By Gregory Harris
Webmaster of Planet Swank
This evening, the American people anxiously await a Presidential speech justifying ambitions for “regime change” in Iraq. As you know, the President has sought Congressional authority to use military force to effect this regime change. While I recognize that such authority is likely to be granted, I nevertheless oppose the use of force as a method of first resort. I urge Congress to grant the President authority in a strictly defined fashion, and that it do so in a judicious, deliberative and restrained manner.
At this time I do not support the concept that the President should be granted authority for immediate, unilateral use of force in a reckless attempt to effect a regime change. Until and unless advocates of military action can demonstrate a compelling threat, and at the same time establish how whatever threat Iraq may pose can not be contained or deterred, a massed invasion of Iraq should not be contemplated as a measure of first resort. Furthermore, I would demand that any proposed invasion proposals be accompanied by concrete plans for postwar Iraq, including concrete estimates of the potential commitment of time, money and American lives.
Iraq is unquestionably in defiance of United Nations resolutions demanding it give up its weapons of mass destruction. An ironclad inspection regime is clearly the policy that most benefits the United States and the world. United States policy should be to enforce that inspection regime, backed by a credible threat of military force. Furthermore, use of force should initially be contingent upon United Nations Security Council resolution and executed in concert with a coalition of allies.
Containment and deterrence work. They worked in the Cold War, and they have worked for more than a decade against Iraq, as well as other rogue nations such as North Korea. When necessary, limited military strikes against Iraqi military facilities have also damaged Iraq’s ambitions to develop weapons of mass destruction. Over the years, many a politician pointed to a record of advocating containment and deterrence as evidence of strong support of defense. Advocating containment and deterrence is no evidence of weakness, but an acknowledgment of U.S. strength.
The Constitution wisely divided the power to make war between the President and Congress. I urge you to insist that the United States military be used only if necessary to enforce the longstanding policy of the Unites States that Iraq disarm. Doing so in far from tying the President’s hands; it’s the very essence of the democratic-republican system the President claims to—and took an oath to—defend.