Support the Troops, Question the War

March 21, 2003

UE OFFICERS’ STATEMENT ON THE WAR ON IRAQ, March 20, 2003

Working people in this country and around the world hoped and prayed and took to the streets to stop a war they knew was wrong. Regrettably, that war is underway. In the hours and days ahead, our thoughts are with our troops in the Persian Gulf as they face the uncertainties of conflict in a distant land. We support our troops, these sons and daughters of the working class, carrying out the difficult demands imposed by those in charge. We state our special concern for the many members of UE families who have been called into service. Our earnest wish is for their safe and quick return.

We are a proud American union, proud of our independent and democratic traditions. We have not and will not now relinquish our right to speak out on behalf of working people. We continue to believe that war on Iraq is not in the best interests of workers here or in Iraq.

This preemptive strike, an unprovoked attack on another country, seems more like the act of an empire than that of a democratic republic and is foreign to our democratic American values. In the months and years ahead, we need to question and debate how and why this happened – and demand a foreign policy consistent with the real interests of the vast majority of Americans.

It is not coincidental that U.S. troops are invading a country with enormous oil reserves, possibly equal to those of the U.S., Russia, China and Mexico combined. We reject and resent government policies that place the lives of working-class men and women at risk to further schemes of the corporate elite.

We agree with the Senator from West Virginia who went to the well of the U.S. Senate on the eve of war to plead that this is "the wrong war at the wrong time... a war of choice, not necessity." We join the Congressman from Ohio who lamented that, with our first strike, the U.S. has abandoned a tradition of defensive war dating back to George Washington.

We observe that each bomb dropped as this war continues only adds to the multiple millions of taxpayer dollars which would be better spent solving our nation’s health care crisis, aiding our cash-strapped states, educating our children or creating jobs for millions of unemployed Americans. Each new sortie is a reminder that we must continue to work for peace in concert with our allies in U.S. Labor Against the War and tens of millions of trade unionists across the globe.

We support our troops, but we believe this war is wrong. We say, remove them from harm’s way! Bring them home!

John H. Hovis, General President

Bruce J. Klipple, General Secretary-Treasurer

Robert B. Kingsley, Director of Organization

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