An Open Letter to President George Walker Bush
March 10, 2003
Dear Mr. President,
Thank you for telling us in your press conference last Thursday that you are seeking God’s guidance through prayer in the Iraq conflict. It seems that you have the support of a great many of the religious leaders of the American “religious right”. But being a Christian is more than just asking God about what we want—it is about doing what He teaches in the Bible. When Jesus was on the earth, the Pharisees were the God-revering, often praying, influential “religious right” of the day (Luke 5:33; 18:9-10; Matthew 23:29-30).
But the Pharisees had the sin of hypocrisy—they knew and talked about God, but they did not do what God said. There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein is an evil man willing to kill whoever is necessary to keep himself in power. But God expects more from Christians who have and believe His Bible.
Jesus said, “If you [Pharisees] were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (John 9:41).
“…But do not do what they [Pharisees] do, for they do not practice what they preach” (Matthew 23:3).
“But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you” (Matthew 11:24).
“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:1-7).
The pressures of being President are indeed tremendous. But Jesus Christ had even more pressure, yet did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). He offers us His strength in trouble (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Many Americans realize that most of their high-ranking political leaders owe much to the wealthy and powerful interests that helped them get into office. But you must never forget that it was the votes of the People of the USA who put you in that office. It is to them that you are responsible. Also, it was you who placed your hand on a Bible and promised to “defend the Constitution of the United States”. God is watching. May He give you the courage to stand up and do what is right.
It appears that you are working hard to try to resolve the problems of terrorism. Please consider the following nine areas where it appears that your administration is being hypocritical.
1) Disarming Saddam is frequently mentioned, but it is not the real issue. Why? Because the USA, as well as Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan and other nations have much more powerful weapons than Iraq. Some of these nations have also threatened to use them or sell them to the highest bidder. All these nations, including ours, would probably use these weapons of mass destruction in their own defense rather than give them up to a stronger nation. Is it easy for Saddam to give up his weapons when some of his nearby enemies have them? Is the reason that your administration is against Saddam’s weapons is that he will not yield to economic or military pressure like most other nations do, because his interests are entirely self-serving, and because he is not afraid to use his weapons.
If you were in his situation, would you deal any differently? The USA must remember that we used nuclear weapons when it was in our best interest.
In addition, the practicality of enforcing disarmament is questionable. If we cannot find his “weapons of mass destruction” with our satellites, spy planes and inspectors in his country, will we be able to find them after he is militarily defeated? Will not most of Iraq’s hidden weapons of mass destruction remain hidden? Might his “mobile weapons” simply make their way to other sympathetic middle-eastern nations?
2) We talk about replacing Saddam as leader, but is that true? — When most of the world would have stood with us if we removed him in 1991, we left him in office because he was “useful to us” in resisting Muslim fundamentalism in Iran. Can God or the rest of the world consider us a “righteous nation”, if we let an evil murderer stay in power because he is “useful to us”? Even more important, a few Iraqi military units rebelled against Saddam after the cease-fire, but we decided our treaty with this evil man was more important than their lives—and we watched while Saddam killed them. Will anyone in Iraq who believes in freedom dare rise up against Saddam again?
The hypocrisy continues when you say Saddam is a “Hitler-like man”, yet go on to offer to let him leave Iraq and “retire” in some other country. Are we being truthful or do we plan to kill him in his place of retirement? Does that make us a just nation? Who would want to govern Iraq, knowing that Saddam was alive and maybe continuing to work on some of those hidden “weapons of mass destruction”? What would stop him from supplying them to terrorists who would attack the present government in Iraq, or in the USA?
If we believe the solution to Iraq is primarily to remove Saddam, then we should either get the UN or our own courts to try him—probably in absentia—and then devise a clever plan to execute him alone (Ehud removed evil king Eglon in the Bible—Judges 3). But it seems that your plan is to send an army to occupy all of Iraq.
We must realize that even though many Iraqis abhor Saddam, they also abhor another nation killing their leader or invading and picking their leaders for them. Even though most Americans were disgusted with Bill Clinton and the House voted to impeach him, we would have fought against another nation that tried to kill him or pick a new leader for us.
Mr. President, please realize that each day that arms inspections continue and fighting does not begin, both lives and money are saved—and Saddam is prevented from openly developing new weapons. If Saddam were to use any weapon of mass destruction now—even ineffectively—he knows we would fight till he is gone. But if we try to depose him by force, he is likely to use whatever he has to protect himself—in downtown Baghdad, in a western-friendly neighboring state or in the USA. If we are acting in righteousness, we could expect deliverance from God from these evil weapons. But if we are acting in selfishness or hypocrisy, God may let Saddam succeed.
3) You continually use the September 11th attack and safety from terrorism as reasons for an Iraqi war. The evidence that Saddam was involved seems poor, but the evidence that the American government had prior knowledge appears massive. Most of the 9/11 hijackers and their funding appear to be from Saudi Arabia, apparently none are from Iraq. A search for the phrases “World Trade Center” and “Prior Knowledge” on www.alltheweb.com reveals over 20,000 pages that contain both. While some are from nutty, undocumented “conspiracy theorist” sites, many are mainstream American media sites or well-documented independent research sites. Some are English translations of foreign papers. It is very clear that many prominent people, even heads of state, do not believe that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were alone responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
These web pages contain numerous stories of local law enforcement personnel who wanted to investigate potential terrorists, only to be refused permission by central office bureaucrats. Your new programs do not give more capability to local law enforcement, but rather concentrate power in a very central Homeland Security Department—that claims to have power to imprison American citizens without charges or a trial.
These web sites contain evidence that conflicts with the official explanation for events, they show FAA aircraft procedures that were not followed. Some sites have clear pictures of explosions in the seven WTC buildings—quite separate from the airplane crashes and building collapses. No one person could read all 20,000 web pages and investigate to determine which is true and which is not—but your administration has said almost nothing about these things.
Neither you nor Congress began an independent investigation of the September 11 attacks for 14 months. The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks was formed November 27, 2002 due to the demands of World Trade Center widows. And it is an extremely weak group—it has no power to grant immunity from prosecution, so anyone who was even slightly involved in any crime has no reason to testify. The commission members were appointed by the Democrat and Republican Parties—6 of the 10 members work for the airline industry. At this writing, only 373 web pages contain the phrase “National Commission on Terrorist Attacks”. The commission can subpoena no person or document unless both of its chairman and vice-chairman agree. Are we a free nation when one man has total authority to stop the truth from coming to the American people?
It is difficult to imagine that American citizens, even government officials, would somehow co-operate with a terrorist attack. But the investigation of such charges should be much more important than attacking Iraq. What good will it do to defeat Saddam if the real problem is at home?
There is also much more that you could do to protect our nation other than war. We could secure our borders for much less than the cost of this war. As it is now, illegal aliens can walk across the border into our national parks—with only greatly understaffed park police to worry about. Furthermore, we could require all non-citizens from terrorist countries to report to law enforcement on a regular basis—this is not unconstitutional—aliens do not have constitutional rights. Finally, we could invoke the death penalty for illegal aliens from “terrorist nations” who do not report within a certain length of time. This is much less harsh than starting a war and killing a lot of Iraqi people who are legally living in their own country.
4) We are hypocritical if we fight Saddam just because he kills innocent people. Saddam believes he is killing to “protect his own interests”—just like we thought we were protecting our own interests by killing in Cuba (Bay of Pigs), Viet Nam, Grenada, Afghanistan, etc. America has lost about 4,000 innocent civilians due to terrorist attacks. Iraq would probably lose many more innocent civilians if we attack. They will probably lose even more soldiers—men who have no option to avoid Saddam’s wars, but only the choices to fight or to die.
Yes, it is bad that Iraqi terrorists may try to kill almost anybody anywhere in the world—no warning, no charges, no trial, just dead. But are we not doing similar things? Did we not kill six suspected Al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen last November 5 by hitting their car with a Hellfire missile launched from an unmanned Predator airplane? We gave no warning, filed no charges, had no trial, and were not even sure who everyone in the car was.
5) We claim we want democracy and freedom for the Iraqi people, but Islamic nations who are our “friends” do not have any such freedom, nor is the USA doing much to help them achieve it. The biggest single effect of the “war on terrorism” seems to be a massive loss of freedom in America.
For centuries, we prided ourselves on open press conferences, where reporters could ask the President any question. But your last “press conference” was made to look free, but was actually scripted: only planned questions and planned answers. What happened to freedom of the press, the 4th estate, the press as a “check and balance” on government? Is that all over?
Besides being denied free access to our own leaders, we are denied access to enemy leaders. Bin Laden’s taped messages are not made public with the excuse that he has encoded terrorist instructions in them. So what would be wrong with making them available a few weeks or months later? There is no embargo on the Muslim Internet traffic, music, literature, etc. that enters this country—could not he be sending terrorist instructions in that? It seems that our leaders must be afraid that Americans will hear what Bin Laden has to say. If Bin Laden were lying, it would be easy to simply include a truthful explanation along with his tapes. But if he is telling at least some truth—truth that is embarrassing to our leaders—that would explain why Bin Laden’s tapes are suppressed.
The so-called Patriot Act is the greatest constitution-bashing legislation of all time. It allows our government to imprison US Citizens for years without charges, trial, or access to council or their families. It allows the Homeland Security Department to keep numerous kinds of information on Citizens without their knowledge. It has turned auto dealers and travel agents into extension spy agencies, requiring them to submit information on all customer transactions. Most congressmen did not even have time to read this act when they voted on it. Is this freedom?
In the Afghanistan war, you designated captured Taliban soldiers as “unlawful combatants” and said that they did not have to be treated according to the Geneva Convention for prisoners of war. But there is no law that gives us the right to mistreat these prisoners, so does that give your forces the status of “unlawful combatants”? Not only is the “unlawful combatants” designation hypocritical, it encourages others nations to mistreat our servicemen when they are captured. Most of us can remember the TV images of downed airmen beaten by Iraqis in the 1991 Gulf War. Yes, Saddam was evil to do that and proudly displayed his evil it to the entire world. But is our country not hypocritical by refusing Taliban prisoners Geneva Convention treatment and hiding our evil in Camp X-ray in Cuba? If this unlawful combatant status is good, why not put it on TV for all to see? Just recently, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured and taken to an “undisclosed location”. Have we forgotten the difficulty we had finding American Airmen that were taken to “undisclosed locations” in North Vietnam? Could they rightly classify us as “terrorists”—fighting a war for no clear purpose for eight years and killing hundreds of thousands?
6) Our approach to nations and the UN has been hypocritical. A few months ago, you were saying that Saddam was a menace to the world because he was violating UN rules on forbidden arms. You sought the support of the UN—which decided upon weapons inspections, rather than immediate war. But now that the UN and many other nations do not see enough evidence to fight, you have said that we are ready to fight without their approval—for having arms forbidden by the UN. If the UN is a valid international body of law, then both of us should follow it. But if it is not, then how can we fault Saddam for having arms “forbidden” by the UN?
If Saddam is so evil, why do other nations not see it? If his weapons of mass destruction are so dangerous, why are few of his neighbors ready to help depose him? Is it possible that they think Saddam is a bad neighbor, but that more American control in the region is even worse?
7) You are asking God to bless the outcome of this conflict, but is it a Christian Cause? You certainly have mentioned sending physical food and supplies to Iraq in the event of war, but you have never mentioned “spiritual food”—freedom of religion for Iraq. Christian missionaries are not free to operate there. Most of our “friend” Muslim countries would be against this. Indeed, they would all ask what right America has to “teach morality” when we export to their nations so much pornography, violence, irreverence and financial corruption—both in movies and in reality. We could accomplish far more to bring peace in our nation by repenting of our national sins—more than any size of army we could build or any amount of money we could spend:
“When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. (Deuteronomy 28:1, 7)
Furthermore, if we want God to bless our conflict, should not we follow His instruction to avoid making treaties with other nations? (Exodus 34:10-12; Deuteronomy 23:6; Joshua 9; 2 Kings 18:21). Should we want to obey Him to receive military victory? (Leviticus 26:3-8).
8) You spoke of your “constitutional responsibility” to protect our country—but the President’s responsibility is limited to acting as Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces (Federal Constitution, Article 2, sec. 2). The constitution gives Congress the power to declare war and fund armed forces (Article 1, sec. 8). It also defines “treason” to include anyone giving “Aid and Comfort” to our enemies (Article 3, sec. 3). As, you know, the USA has not declared any war since World War II—and in every undeclared “war” since that time, American and multi-national corporations have been “trading with the enemy” without prosecution. Do not succumb to pressure to engage our armed forces on you own authority; if we are to fight a war, let Congress declare it as the constitution mandates. If this were to be a declared war, many of those wealthy Americans who are doing business with Iraq could be convicted of treason. They might suddenly decide that this war is unnecessary. Please have the courage to stand up to the power economic forces of this world. It is better to solve this problem by their loss of profits than it is by the death of tens of thousands of Iraqi and American people.
9) Is this war about oil? Given the hypocrisy of many of your administration’s stated reasons for fighting Iraq, control of oil seems to be at least a likely reason. The collusion of the world’s oil companies is easily demonstrated in any city: gas prices at all stations always go up and down together. If trouble in the Middle East drives up the prices for companies who import from there, even the pump prices for companies that import only Mexican oil go up a similar amount. While it is hard for the average American to find accurate information, it would seem that Iraq has the largest reserves of oil apart from the countries that are now a part of the world “oil monopoly”. An oil monopoly could not greatly increase the world price of oil with an independent producer like Iraq that could potentially flood the market with reasonably priced oil. Yes, these possible scenarios would take years to develop, but what better time to attack Iraq than now, when the 9/11 attack is fresh in everyone’s mind, and with a president such as yourself, who has been in the oil business until you became President.
The importance of oil in this war was emphasized several weeks ago when your administration announced their plans to protect Iraqi oil fields from Saddam in case he planned to destroy them. This came before plans of how to protect Iraqi civilians or soldiers who did not want anything to do with the war. You stated that you plan to hold the oil “in trust for the people of Iraq”. Has that been accomplished in most other Middle East countries? Do not a few grow wealthy from the oil business while the common people of the country pay fairly stiff prices at the pump? What about our own country? Is our oil held in trust for the American people? Or, do Americans pay 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax and even more state tax? Have not many of these gas-tax dollars been diverted for uses other than the roads that governments promised they would be used for? Can the Iraqis really trust the American government with their oil?
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4:1-4, NKJV).
Every Citizen of the USA ought to be thankful for the many honest men and women who serve in our government and our armed forces. The religious freedom we have was bought and preserved by those who were willing to fight and die for it. But every Citizen also ought to speak out against the many times that our leaders have reinforced their own riches and rulership by making self-serving decisions—not country-serving decisions.
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Saddam Hussein is an evil man. But you, George Walker Bush, know the Christian way. Don’t be a hypocrite. Tell the truth; do what is right! In the future, May Christ will say to you: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 5:21), not:
…I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you (Matthew 21:31).
— Norman Edwards
Church Bible Teaching Ministry
Snail: PO Box 107; Perry, Michigan 48872; USA
Tel: 517-625-7480 Fax: 517-625-7481