October 25, 2002

matter and energy

Wellstone dies in plane crash

Yesterday I received this email from Wellstone. Though the body may perish the ideas live on. He was a force, a block of matter and energy, and cannot be destroyed. Whether or not you (or I) agree with the fellow is inconsequential. In the end we all want the same thing and only disagree over method. Liberty thrives through robust debate. Freedom thrives through our contrarians.

October 24, 2002

Dear Mr Petersen:

Thank you for contacting me regarding U.S. policy towards Iraq. I have been hearing from many Minnesotans about their concerns on this very important matter. I appreciate knowing your views.

I do not believe the Bush administration has yet made a case for taking pre-emptive unilateral military action against Iraq. Serious questions about the nature and urgency of the threat posed by Iraq, the range of possible U.S. policy responses, and the consequences of a possible U.S. or allied military attack are still unanswered. Other questions remain about the impact of unilateral military action on our preeminent national security priority, the continuing war on terrorism; on our ongoing efforts to stabilize and rebuild Afghanistan; on efforts to calm the intensifying Middle East crisis, especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and on the dangerous situation between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

In the early morning of Friday October 11, the Senate approved the President’s requested resolution to allow him to take military action against Iraq. I opposed the resolution because it would authorize military action now in Iraq – including pre-emptive, go-it-alone military action – even as the US seeks to garner support from our allies on a tough new UN disarmament resolution. I voted in favor of a substitute amendment to improve the resolution, which would have authorized the use of appropriate force by the United States and our allies, pursuant to a new UN Security Council resolution, following exhaustion of efforts to disarm Iraq, in order to obtain compliance by Iraq with its international obligations.

Saddam Hussein is a brutal, ruthless dictator who has repressed his own people, attacked his neighbors, and remains an international outlaw. The world would be a much better place if he were gone and the regime in Iraq were changed. That’s why the US should unite the world against Saddam and not allow him to unite forces against us.

I oppose a go-it-alone approach, allowing ground invasion of Iraq without the support of other countries, because it could give Saddam exactly that chance. A pre-emptive, go-it-alone strategy towards Iraq is wrong. Instead, I support ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction through unfettered UN inspections which should begin as soon as possible.

The President has said he has not yet decided to use force against Iraq and that war may yet be avoidable. I believe the primary focus of policy toward Iraq now should be targeted on the verifiable disarmament of that country’s weapons of mass destruction. It is the goal that our allies support, including Britain. It is the goal most likely to be successful, and from which our strategy should flow. I hope the President will focus on disarmament, which will help strengthen and sustain international support, enabling us to be most effective in dealing with Saddam Hussein.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope you will continue to stay in touch with me on matters of importance to you.


Paul David Wellstone

United States Senator