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March 29th Letter to Stephen Harper:

Dear Mr. Harper,
I'm writing to express my sadness, frustration and confusion about your position on the conflict in Iraq as you have outlined repeatedly in the House of Commons and, more recently, in a letter to a major American newspaper. I am trying to understand how you can support an action that is so obviously misguided.
 
I am not a Liberal Party supporter by any means BUT I am enormously proud of the courageous position Mr. Chretien has taken regarding the invasion of Iraq. 
 
I am not anti-American and I have many American friends. I agree with you that we must do our best to maintain strong ties with the U.S. This does not mean that we need to compromise our own principles and be pressured by them into what is clearly a colossal mistake, both in terms of promoting international peace AND in terms of fighting terrorism. This war will accomplish neither. It can only inflame anti-Western sentiment among frustrated people who already "dislike" the west. The U.S. is turning "dislike" into "hate" and is fuelling international terrorism. It baffles me how you can fail to see this.   
 
The motives offered by the Bush government for their invasion of Iraq are laughably transparent. Iraq may have all sorts of nasty weapons and an awful human being at the head of their government but so do dozens of other countries. Should we overthrow all their governments?
 
The underlying motivation for this war is becoming well known: To demonstrate the overwhelming superiority of the U.S. military and to establish a permanent U.S. military presence in an oil-rich part of the world. As I'm sure you are aware, this position has been publicly available for several years among the published literature of the "Project for the New American Century" (http://www.newamericancentury.org) an organization that, until recently, was little known but whose members include high-ranking U.S. government officials like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. 
 
Invading Iraq is part of a wider strategy not to serve "the world" but to serve "American Interests". The strategy is internationally divisive, arrogant and wholly misguided. It will win the U.S. many more enemies than allies and it will lead to conflict and suffering for millions, if not billions of people. If we are to be "friends" to the U.S. we need to use what little influence we have to help them see that their approach will not lead to more peace in the world. We need to have the courage to show our friends that they are making a grave mistake.
 
Please do not suggest to Canadians, as the Bush government would do, that this war is about some imminent terrorist threat to American or North American security, about a sinister dictator with nasty weapons, or least of all, about "freeing the people of Iraq". This nonsense is propaganda in its most reprehensible form. The war is about the wealthiest and most powerful nation maintaining its grasp on wealth and power and securing more wealth and power at the expense of others.
 
I agree that the government of Iraq needs to be forced to show respect for its citizens and for international law. Perhaps military force is justified, but only after careful consensus through the United Nations. Military force is not justified when it is used to secure more power for the United States or to promote "American interests and leadership abroad", as stated by the Project for the New American Century.
 
Despite their current support for war in widely publicized polls (which clearly reflects support for ordinary soldiers who face being killed in terrible ways NOT support for political leaders), most Americans will eventually realise that the misguided neo-colonial strategy of their current government does not serve their long-term interests or the long-term interests of the world. They will realise that enormous sums of money are being squandered. This money could be spent in many more important ways or returned to the citizens who worked hard to earn it. The majority of Canadians (and citizens of the world) already see this very plainly. I don't understand how you cannot.
 
I respect the sacrifices that our elected officials must endure and I have no doubt that your intentions are genuine. But, with the utmost respect, I submit that you project an image of Canadians as naive, uninformed and weak when you appear on television, or in letters to American newspapers, promoting unconditional support for the mistakes of the U.S. government. Please stop it! We have every right to disagree with the radical opinions of certain officials within the United States government without being broadly labelled as "Anti-American".
 
I implore you to reconsider your position and help the Prime Minister hold firm to the responsible and courageous choice his government has taken. Disagree with him when he's wrong but please have the courage to agree with him when he's right.
 
Best wishes,
 
Craig K.R. Willis