August 17, 2002 Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Advisor says we have no choice but to invade Iraq.

Mr. Bush says he's listening to the American people, but statements like this: "Listen, it's a healthy debate for people to express their opinion. People should be allowed to express their opinion. But America needs to know, I'll be making up my mind based upon the latest intelligence and how best to protect our own country plus our friends and allies." make me wonder if our voices are relevant to him, or even being heard at all.

Silly me.

I thought that the power to declare war was reserved for Congress in Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 11 of our Constitution.

Well, maybe Mr. Bush just doesn't believe in all that Constitution stuff anyway. Or maybe he just doesn't understand how our government works. Statements such as "The legislature's job is to write law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law." from a speech in Austin, Texas on November 22, 2000 suggest that this may be so.

Perhaps I can offer some insight to our President and Ms. Rice. After all, he said he would listen.

We do have a choice.

We could not declare war on Iraq.

That is another choice.

From what I know of the situation -- and I have studied it some -- I agree with Mr. Bush's public opinion of Saddam Hussain. And I agree that we may have a chance, or even an obligation, to stop another Hitler-type before he acts against us, thereby preventing a greater catastrophe.

But, before we go to war, Mr. Bush should answer some questions.

  1. Why now?
  2. What convincing evidence do you have that Saddam Hussain has weapons of mass destruction?
  3. Is Iraq the only country that has or intends to have weapons of mass destruction?
  4. If not, who else do you plan to invade?
  5. After we win -- assuming we win -- what do you plan to do next?
  6. Who will replace Saddam Hussain?
  7. How will that improve the situation?
  8. Are you prepared with a plan for what we will do about the disruption of our oil supplies that is likely to result upon the initiation of an invasion?
  9. What is it?
  10. The military asked for more funding for recruits and resources because our war in Afghanistan is seriously depleting both. The White House refused. The White House also refused $5.1 billion dollars for homeland security. Where are we going to get the money to fight Iraq from?
These questions aren't any fun to answer. But you have to answer them. Before we go to war. You might have to give partial answers to some, citing national security concerns. But you cannot refuse to answer all of them that way, or deny us the right to some compelling reasons before fighting this war, and some real evidence to back them up.

We will be funding your war. Parents that I know might be supplying their sons as troops. I am one of those parents and my son might be one of those soldiers.

I am not going to stand by and quietly let him go to war for you based upon some slick version of because I said so and I can't tell you why.

I understand the issues. I understand the dangers. I understand what you are presenting to us as your concerns. And I do not take them -- or Saddam Hussain, or the danger he is likely to present -- lightly.

But this is a democracy. And what you've said so far is not good enough if you want to invade another country.

It's frustrating, I know. But that's why Winston Churchill said "Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." at Hansard (House of Commons Daily Debates) on November 11, 1947.

The world has changed a lot since then. But some things have not changed. You are employed by us, this is still a democracy, and parents do not like seeing their sons sacrificed in undeclared jaunts to foreign countries by decisions made in secret behind closed doors, by oligarchs.

I thought we'd settled that long ago, in Vietnam.

This war has the potential to be a lot more costly than that one, the stakes are higher, and you need to do a much better job if you want to sell us this one.