I’m generally skeptical about the usefulness of Internet petitions. However, I think the organizers of the petition to Let the Inspections Work at MoveOn.org have the right idea about how to make a petition useful. They’re taking out a full page ad in the New York Times on Monday, and they’ll be including the number of petition signatories in the ad.
Take a minute and go to the petition. I think the petition letter below and at the link sends a balanced message about the situation in Iraq:
TO: President Bush
CC: Secretary of State Powell and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan
SUBJECT: Please Let the Inspections Work
Dear Mr. President,
On October 11, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution on Iraq that authorizes you to use war as a last resort — if and only if diplomacy fails to accomplish the U.S.’s national goals.
We are concerned that you found Iraq’s response “not encouraging” when the inspectors had only been at work for a week and so far had not encountered Iraqi obstruction.
In this context, we are also concerned by your Administration’s repeated attempts to frame Iraqi anti-aircraft fire within the no-fly-zone as a material breach of the resolution. As U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and other U.N. diplomats have pointed out, the resolution clearly excludes such events from its jurisdiction.
The United States has made a commitment to approaching the danger that Saddam Hussein poses through the international community. The resumption of the inspections regime is a triumph for the U.S., international law and multilateralism. But the United States will lose all credibility with its allies if it appears that it will go to war regardless of the inspections’ success. And by alienating and infuriating allies through unilateral action, the U.S. could throw the success of the campaign against terrorism into jeopardy.
Mr. President, it appears that your administration is looking for an excuse to go to war, when a peaceful and just solution may be at hand. We ask that you live up to your word and give diplomacy a chance.
We can win without war.