War Could Be Avoided at the Last Minute: An Address from the
March 11, 2003
By Bernard Weiner, The
My fellow Americans. I am speaking to you tonight to thank
you for the overwhelming support you have given our Administration
in confronting Saddam Hussein. Because the American people,
and the nations of the world, have stood together, Saddam
has had to rein in his grandiose plans for regional domination
and possible use of weapons of mass destruction.
He didn't want to let United Nations weapons inspectors back
in his country under Resolution 1441, but, because of the
pressure America exerted - with our armed forces camped on
his doorstep - he felt obliged to invite the inspectors to
return, and, in some fashion, to cooperate with them.
He didn't want to follow the U.N. inspectors' firm order
to destroy his illegal missiles, but, because of the pressure
of our troops surrounding his country - and our telling him
what would happen if he didn't follow through on his promise
to disarm - he had to start demolishing those weapons of
He didn't want to reveal aspects of his chemical warheads
program, but, because of our aggressive policies, he was forced
to do so.
In short, the Persian Gulf region can breathe a sigh of relief.
Saddam Hussein is no longer an immediate threat to his neighbors
or - as long as the weapons inspectors are roaming his country
and as long as U.S. forces are out there ready to come back
and finish the job - Iraq is not an immediate threat to the
United States and the rest of the world.
Our military and diplomatic policies have triumphed.
Given this turn of events, as Commander in Chief of the Armed
Forces I am today ordering the bulk of our military to stand
down and return to their bases. They performed a dangerous
job with utmost skill, and the victory cheers today should
go mainly to them.
We spent a lot of time, money and effort moving them into
the Persian Gulf region, and there were those critics who
said it unnecessary and too expensive. I hope that they now
see the wisdom in our policy, and will not carry on in the
same manner in possible future campaigns against other evildoers
in other nations.
But, though the main body of our military will be leaving
the Persian Gulf - we will keep a sizable emergency strike-force
in the general area - make no mistake about it: We will be
keeping a close eye on Saddam Hussein, and if and when he
begins his aggressive policies again, rest assured that he
will have to face the hellish wrath of the United States and
of a world united.
Again, thank you for your support, and congratulations to
all of you for this victory of morality and democracy over
the forces of violence and evil. Goodnight, and God bless
"The Democratic Response," as delivered by Rep. Denise
Coochinik of Ohio:
Have you ever heard such bullbleep in your life? But, you
know what? If that kind of inside-out doublespeak is what
it takes to save Bush's face and permit him to climb out of
the corner into which he painted himself with his reckless
and irresponsible policies, more power to him.
He can call it "victory," a "triumph," "a pepperoni pizza,"
whatever. He can pat himself and his Administration on the
back, pretend the American people were with him all the way,
and the United Nations too. I don't care.
The point is that a horrendous war has been averted, which
would have devastated not only Iraqi society - resulting
in tens of thousands of casualties to innocent civilians -
but would have wreaked havoc on America as well: our shaky
economy, our sense of ourselves as a moral people (who don't
attack other nations absent imminent danger to us), our ability
to hold our heads high in a world that mostly was hating and
One can hope that Bush and his cronies will now begin to
act less arrogantly, with less swagger and bullying behavior
and language, and that they will rejoin the world community
as a cooperative, helpful nation willing to listen to others.
So everyone who cares about America and the peace of the
world should call and write the White House and congratulate
Mr. Bush on his marvelous "victory." Give the man some face,
But take a deep breath and remain on the political battlefield.
Because these far-right guys, bent on imperial domination,
will be re-grouping and coming at us, and at everyone else,
right after a short break from their sponsors.
Bernard Weiner, a poet and playwright, was the San Francisco
Chronicle's theater critic/editor for 16 years. He currently
is co-editor of The