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a better way to deal with iran

a better way to deal with iran

From a piece in The Washington Post by Bill Richardson entitled: Diplomacy, Not War, With Iran

Saber-rattling is not a good way to get the Iranians to cooperate. But it is a good way to start a new war – a war that would be a disaster for the Middle East, for the United States and for the world. A war that, furthermore, would destroy what little remains of U.S. credibility in the community of nations.

A better approach would be for the United States to engage directly with the Iranians and to lead a global diplomatic offensive to prevent them from building nuclear weapons. We need tough, direct negotiations, not just with Iran but also with our allies, especially Russia, to get them to support us in presenting Iran with credible carrots and sticks.

No nation has ever been forced to renounce nuclear weapons, but many have chosen to do so. The Iranians will not end their nuclear program because we threaten them and call them names. They will renounce nukes because we convince them that they will be safer and more prosperous if they do that than if they don’t. This feat will take more than threats and insults. It will take skillful American diplomatic leadership.

May we prove as skillful and persistent and dedicated in making peace as in making war!

I am encouraged by the opportunities presented by the regional conference called by the Iraqi leadership for March 10. The Bush administration is doing its best to minimize expectations for the conference and to make it clear that it is not changing its position on Iran, but it is a start. It is something new. It is hopeful … to get representatives from Iraq and the United States and Great Britain and Iran and Syria in the same room at the same time and talking with each other!

Let’s pray. Let’s pray for the unexpected, for steps — even the smallest of steps — toward defusing the war of threat and suspicion and pride between the leaders of our nation and of Iran before it becomes a war of bombs and death, and before the world becomes all the more terrifying a place for all of us.

no war with iran!

no war with iran!

From a statement signed by more than one hundred Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious leaders urging a diplomatic, rather than a military, strategy to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions:

As Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders, we are deeply concerned about the nuclear weapons danger in Iran, in the Middle East, and around the world. The teachings of the Abrahamic tradition command us to keep human life sacred and to act as stewards of creation. We consider all weapons of mass destruction – whether nuclear, biological or chemical – immoral and unacceptable for use in any circumstances. In pursuit of that principle, we strongly support international diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Our nation and the international community must pursue this goal without using military force for at least two reasons:

  • First, short of full scale war and complete occupation of Iran, military actions will not remove Iran’s potential nuclear threat ; indeed, it would likely intensify Iran’s goal of acquiring nuclear weapons.
  • Second, another American-led war or military attacks in the Middle East would likely prove disastrous. To initiate another war in an area of the world already engulfed in turmoil and human tragedy would intensify political extremism throughout the Middle East and beyond. It would add fuel to the fires of violence already consuming the region. It would exacerbate anti-American hatred and produce new recruits for terror attacks against the United States and Israel. Significant military opinion says it would not work. Responsible theological evaluation suggests it would not be morally or strategically justified.

Go to the Words Not War website to read the full statement and to add your signature.

hawking on global warming

hawking on global warming

From an article by Steve Conner in The Independent: Hawking warns: We must recognise the catastrophic dangers of climate change

Climate change stands alongside the use of nuclear weapons as one of the greatest threats posed to the future of the world, the Cambridge cosmologist Stephen Hawking has said.

Professor Hawking said that we stand on the precipice of a second nuclear age and a period of exceptional climate change, both of which could destroy the planet as we know it …

“As we stand at the brink of a second nuclear age and a period of unprecedented climate change, scientists have a special responsibility, once again, to inform the public and to advise leaders about the perils that humanity faces,” Professor Hawking said. “As scientists, we understand the dangers of nuclear weapons and their devastating effects, and we are learning how human activities and technologies are affecting climate systems in ways that may forever change life on Earth.

“As citizens of the world, we have a duty to share that knowledge. We have a duty, as well, to alert the public to the unnecessary risks that we live with every day, and to the perils we foresee if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change.”

And it is our duty as citizens of the world, as citizens of our respective nations, and as stewards of God’s good creation, to ensure that our governments act sooner rather than later to address the looming crisis of climate change, even as we do what we can as individuals to reduce our personal contributions to the problem. Even the smallest step in the right direction is better than taking no step at all.

actions speak louder than words

actions speak louder than words

When the government of the United States speaks, we speak, and when it acts, we act, because our government is, as President Lincoln put it, “a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.” It is our duty to take full responsibility for what our government says and does on our behalf …

We must take responsibility for our nation’s advocacy of human rights. We champion the equality of all human beings; equal entitlement to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and equal protection from any violation of these entitlements. But what do we do? We are slow to respond to allegations of prisoner abuse by US military and intelligence personnel in Iraq and Cuba and Afghanistan and eastern Europe, we are reluctant to examine fully the broader leadership environment that permits or tolerates or fails to put a stop to such abuse, and we are opposed to signing on to a declaration banning cruel or inhuman or degrading treatment by any agent of the United States government against any person anywhere in the world.

We must take responsibility for our nation’s stand against the proliferation and use of chemical and biological and nuclear weapons. We ask for international censure of other nations who are suspected of developing and stockpiling such weapons. But what do we do? We use a chemical weapon, white phosphorus, in the war in Iraq. We refuse to eliminate our own stockpile of nuclear armaments and we continue to do biological weapons research. And we are the only nation in history to have used a nuclear weapon against a civilian population.

We must take responsibility for our nation’s commitment to the rule of law. We believe that right makes might, not the contrary, and we demand that nations and heads of state abide by the tenets of international law. But what do we do? We invade a sovereign nation without provocation, justifying the unilateral action as a “preemptive strike.”

We must take responsibility … The problem is not with what we say and not with the results we seek to achieve. The isolation and containment of international terrorism is a worthy end. But a worthy end does not justify the use of any means available. If we will do anything to achieve that goal, if we make expections to the code of human rights to protect our own human rights, if we use chemical weapons to take out people we fear may one day use chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against us, if we unilaterally decide for ourselves who are the “bad guys” and which nations require “regime change,” then we will have by our actions betrayed everything we stand for.

We will have proved that some people are entitled to basic human rights and some are not, that weapons of mass destruction do have a place in this world, and that the only law that matters is the law that says the biggest and strongest gets to make the rules.

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