October 23, 2002

                              F E A T U R E


An  Open  Letter  To  President  Bush

Letter By   Jeremy Loscheider

Dear President Bush:

Two years ago, at this time, I was calling residents of Joliet, IL, asking them if they were going to vote, and if so, asking them if they were going to vote for you. A few weeks after you were elected, I received a thank-you letter from the local campaign manager, who expressed his gratitude on your behalf for helping to “win Will County” for you. At the time, I felt you were the best way to go, and I was thrilled that you won.

It’s not that I’m now questioning my decision to vote for you or campaign for you, but I have a lot of questions about what’s going on right now. I feel that as someone who campaigned for you and got to know something about your “compassionate conservatism” platform, I should know the answers to these questions better than the average citizen. Unfortunately, sir, I find that I do not know these answers, and so I’m asking you for them.

Question 1: Why, on the question of war with Iraq, are you avoiding the advice of so many in your administration? I know you earned an MBA from Harvard, and I admire that substantial feat. It shows to me that you have been skillfully trained in the arts of management. You are the captain of the team, the leader. I admired you during your campaign mainly because I studied your leadership style, and found that you surround yourself with highly competent people whose areas of expertise help to complete yours, and whose advice you trust. Why, then, have you all but ignored the recommendations from your generals against prosecuting a war? Why have you ignored the recommendations of economist after economist who fear the certain impacts from oil shocks that would result from such a conflict?

Question 2: On what basis do you conclude that Saddam Hussein would attack the United States with a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon? Hussein is a ruthless, vicious festering scar on the face of humanity, but he is no fool. You have spoken several times of the importance of deterrence and the doctrine of mutually-assured destruction, which is precisely the balance of terror that kept the US and the former Soviet Union from annihilating each other for the latter part of the last century. Is it not reasonable that other nations will try to bolster their side of the balance by constructing nuclear weapons as well? If so, then is their reason for possessing these weapons not the provocation of war but the aversion of an attack? And if so, is a pre-emptive strike really the best option? Do the details of the situation suggest other diplomatic alternatives that are preferable to a war? Should we not especially look into these alternatives in light of a CIA report that a pre-emptive strike upon Iraq may force repercussions in the form of terrorist attacks in the US?

Question 3: You have spoken of the contacts that Al-Qaeda and Iraq have had. While I believe that Al-Qaeda would look favorably toward Iraq as a means of acquiring the advanced weaponry that the terrorist organization has thus far been unable to develop themselves, I do not believe that Saddam Hussein would be willing to give it to them. What specific reason do you have to believe that Hussein would surrender his most powerful weapons – his best means of staying in power – to an organization that might use them against him? Al-Qaeda is a fundamentalist Islamic organization dedicated to the founding of fundamentalist Islamic theocracies throughout the world. Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein is an autocrat, and the head of a secular Stalinist regime. Hussein has killed off members of his own family because he did not trust them. What possible motivation could he have to provide a weapon of mass destruction, a weapon against which he himself has no defense, to a terrorist organization that is ideologically opposed to him?

Question 4: How will we pay for a war with Iraq? I study economics, but I am completely at a loss to explain from what surplus or great treasure trove in our economy we will be able to pay for a war that could cost billions of dollars per day. I look entirely to you, sir, as the effective manager of our federal budget and the commander-in-chief of our armed forces, to help me understand the calculus behind this answer.

Question 5: What will we do with Iraq once we conquer the nation and oust the leader? Will the Iraqi people be prepared for self-government? If not, who will guide them? We have never been good at nation-building. It’s always been a task we’ve left to the United Nations, but since the UN does not yet support us, how can we win their support?

I hope, Mr. President, that you view these questions in the light of the love I feel for my country. I am a very concerned citizen, and I want to make sure we are taking actions that are best for our nation and our future generations. Once you answer my questions, I hope that I will be able to understand your decision-making process and understand why you believe so fervently in this war with Iraq.

A fellow citizen and native son of America,
Jeremy Loscheider.

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