With Weapons of the Will


| September 11, 2002 Issue


G eorge W. Bush has a crucial decision to make regarding national security--not whether the U.S. should remove Saddam Hussein from power, but the method by which Saddam's removal will happen: with more destruction, or peacefully. Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall argue in Sojourners that taking out Saddam nonviolently not only is a very possible alternative, it is also in the best interest of the U.S.

The authors hold that Saddam is an international threat, and there is no question that action must be taken before he becomes more of a menace. "Given these realities," they say, "anyone who opposes U.S. military action to dethrone him has a responsibility to suggest how he might otherwise be ushered out the backdoor of Baghdad." Ackerman and DuVall endorse a strategic, nonviolent plan that takes advantage of the "22 million Iraquis who detest Saddam."

"Unfortunately, when this suggestion is made publicly, hard-nosed policymakers dismiss the idea, saying that nonviolence won't work against a tyrant as pathological as Saddam," they write. "That is because they don't know how to distinguish between what has popularly been regarded as 'nonviolence' and the strategic nonviolent action that has hammered authoritarian regimes to the point of defenestrating dictators."

Peaceful resistance in Iraq, they argue, involves much more than placing daisies in gun barrels--it is a serious strategy that could gain the U.S. credibility in the eyes of those who think the U.S. is a bully, while avoiding the unnecessary costs of war.
--Julie Madsen
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RELATED LINKS:
Why Not Attack Iraq? by David Cortright, Sojourners

Will Saddam's Troops Fight? by Michael Rubin, The New Republic

The real goal is the seizure of Saudi oil, by Mo Mowlam, The Guardian

The Peacemaker of the Pashtun Past, by Karl E. Meyer, PeaceWork













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