In late September 2002, amidst an incessant drumbeat marching us toward the invasion of Iraq, a full page ad ran in the Lancaster New Era and Lancaster Intelligencer Journal newspapers. Signed by multiple individuals, myself included, and coordinated by the Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren, it read as follows:
- We respectfully implore our elected representatives and national leaders not to take military action against the country of Iraq. We have not seen credible evidence that the country of Iraq represents an imminent or real danger to the people of the United States.
- We acknowledge and deplore the brutal dictatorship of Iraq that has brought untold suffering to the people of Iraq, but we plead with our leaders not to multiply that death and destruction.
- We urge our national leaders to honor the sovereign rights of other peoples and countries to determine their own destinies-the very principles upon which our own nation was founded.
- We recognize that the 112 billion barrels of crude oil under Iraq are a coveted resource, but we plead for the right of the peoples of every country to control their own resources.
- We deplore the demonization of enemies that reflects our own national insecurities and only serves to inflate our own self-righteous nationalism.
- We call upon our national leaders to comply with and work within the resolutions and policies of the United Nations and not take unilateral military action against other countries.
- We plead for restraint because United States military action may bring thousands of American and Iraqi deaths, far more than the number killed by the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.
- We plead for restraint because United States military action may create a humanitarian nightmare of suffering for millions of innocent refugees.
- We plead for peaceful restraint because military intervention in Iraq will surely inflame anti-American passions and breed more terrorism that may in fact weaken our security at home and abroad.
- We plead for restraint because United States military action will likely destabilize the Middle East and erode any remaining American credibility in the Muslim world.
- We urge our elected officials and national leaders to use our tax dollars and human imagination to address the causes of global poverty, not to create more of it by terrorizing and killing others.
- We urge our national leaders to exemplify the high moral standards befitting the global leadership of a gentle giant, rather than those of a belligerent bully.
- Finally, let it be clear: United States military action will not be taken in our name or with our support.
- We plead with our fellow citizens of conscience: speak out now before it is too late. Contact your elected representatives and join us in this plea for peace.
Five years ago today, it became too late.