For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 23, 2004
The Future of Iraq
Thursday, September 23, 2004—Dr. David Sanders, Democratic candidate for the office of U.S. Representative for the 4th Congressional District of the State of Indiana, appeared at a press conference at 9:30 AM, Thursday, September 23, 2004 at Tippecanoe County Democratic Headquarters, 320 Main Street in Lafayette.
Dr. Sanders began by asking for a moment of silence to remember the Americans who have died or been wounded serving their country and as civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. He then discussed the future of Iraq and America’s role there.
“The invasion of Iraq was justified to the American people and the world on the basis of two contentions:
1. A connection between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda and, by implication, the vicious attack that occurred on September 11, 2001; and
2. The threat of an attack employing weapons of mass destruction upon the United States or its allies.
There were many in the United States and throughout the world who questioned these propositions. Both of them have proven false.
“There have followed a series of other justifications from the administration and its supporters. They are equally fanciful, and they change frequently. They need to be examined thoughtfully.
“The latest include:
1. We are bringing hope to people throughout the world.
To whom is the administration speaking that provided it with this information? Is it the same people who supplied the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction or Hussein-Al Qaeda links? The only people to whom the situation in Iraq is bringing hope are the leaders in Iran who are hoping for the establishment of a Shiite theocracy in Iraq.
2. We have to make sure that the more than 1000 American servicemen who have died in Iraq did not die in vain.
It is very disturbing that anyone would suggest that staying in Iraq for some undetermined time and sacrificing more American lives is necessary so that American servicemen will not have died in vain. Who says they would have died in vain? They died, because they were willing to put their lives on the line for the government of the United States. One of the objectives of the invasion was the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. That objective was accomplished.
3. We’re fighting them over there, so we don’t have to fight them here.
Who is the “them” in this sentence? The Iraqis who are fighting against the coalition forces see them as invaders. They were not attacking the United States before the war in Iraq. Almost all of the September 11th terrorists were Saudis. Does it refer to the foreign fighters who are attacking coalition forces and terrorizing civilians? What is the logic here? The administration is trying to attract all the terrorists to Iraq where they can attack our troops and murder our civilians so that we can destroy them there? Is there actually anyone who believes that there are a limited number of Middle East terrorists who will all gather in Iraq and therefore not attempt attacks in the Western world?”
Dr. Sanders presented a specific proposal for a resolution to the crisis in Iraq.
“It is good to dream about the future establishment of democracy throughout the Middle East. It is wrong to allow the dream to blind us to the reality. The invasion of Iraq has not produced respect for Western ideals in the Arab world.
I propose a three-point approach.
1. The government of the United States must acknowledge to the world and the American people that it invaded Iraq under false pretenses and that it was unprepared for the aftermath of the fall of the Iraqi regime.
2. The government of the United States must genuinely seek the counsel of other nations, including all of our allies—not just the ones who supported the invasion, on the future of Iraq. The United States cannot honestly expect the significant assistance of other nations if their participation is limited to following United States orders.
I take seeking advice seriously. On my Web site (http://sandersforcongress.org) I have a page dedicated to seeking suggestions on how to reach a resolution to the situation in Iraq. A week before the election, October 26, I will be giving an award to the person with the best proposal.
3. A plan for the graduated withdrawal of American troops from Iraq should be formulated. Hatred for American forces, even if it is not valid, is the primary motivation for many of the insurgents. The results of the discussions with allies will determine whether the Americans are replaced or not.
These are not partisan positions. Our Republican Senator Lugar has been a true statesman on these international issues. When I serve in Congress I hope to have the privilege of advocating principled approaches to American foreign policy and the prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction together with Senator Lugar.