The following is testimony submitted to the Chicago City Council, Human Relations Committee, January 15, 2003 by John Bachtell, Illinois district organizer, Communist Party, USA. On Jan. 16 Chicago became the largest city to go on record opposing the Bush administration’s unilateral, first-strike policy towards Iraq.

The Bush administration is determined to attack Iraq regardless of the growing unease and reluctance of the American people and the scale of world-wide opposition, and regardless of what the UN inspectors find – or don’t find.

This is not a war against terrorism or even a war for democratic rule in Iraq. It is a war for Iraqi oil, strategic dominance of the Middle East region and to enforce the status of the U.S. as the world’s single unchallenged super power, a role I think most Americans find distasteful.

It is a stimulus package for the energy and military monopoly corporations.

This imminent war is the administration’s new strategic military doctrine brought to life. Its logical end is to leave international law and norms, global cooperation and even the UN, in utter shambles while leaving mass destruction of human life in its wake. Our world will not be a safer place.

The Bush doctrine promulgates unilateralism, the overwhelming use of military force, pre-emptive action and first use of nuclear weapons. We can not rule out the unthinkable. The use of nuclear weapons would be catastrophic and once unleashed, there is no telling where it will lead.

In today’s world we must strive to settle all disputes and conflicts peacefully, no matter their severity, through negotiation and global collective action. Any other course is supremely irresponsible.

Were the Bush administration sincere in eliminating weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism, then it would initiate and lead a global campaign for the abolition of all nuclear, biological and chemical weapons – beginning with our own 37,000 nuclear warheads.

It was the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who, in declaring his opposition to the Vietnam War, summed up humanity’s dilemma: non-violent co-existence or violent co-annihilation. He clearly saw war’s destructiveness, no matter how distant, when he remarked that bombs dropping in Vietnam, were also exploding with deadly impact in cities across America.

There will be no quick war. The initial military campaign will be followed by years of occupation that some say will cost up to $1.9 trillion. As our states and cities writhe under their worst fiscal crises in 50 years, can we really afford an unending war that will divert desperately needed funds from jobs, affordable housing, health care, education and environmental clean-up?

This deeply affects us all – every state, city, town and average citizens. We can stop it by mobilizing the peace majority of our country and that of the world. I urge you to display the courage of conviction and support the resolution.

The author can be reached at jbachtell@cpusa.org