LOS ANGELES, CA - March 17, 2003 - Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles (PSR-LA) called on the Bush Administration to continue diplomacy and find a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis. The public health group claimed that a war on Iraq would increase the likelihood of a terrorist attack in the US, cause untold suffering to the Iraqi people and threaten our economy and social needs at home. The group also demanded that President Bush publicly commit to a "no first use" policy on nuclear weapons.

"We call on the President to use diplomacy and to give the U.N. weapons inspectors their requested time to finish their work," said Paul Kawika Martin, Peace and Security Associate for PSR-LA. "Not only is it important for the U.S. to find a peaceful solution, but the U.S. must let the international community know that it will not use weapons of mass destruction. If Saddam Hussein thinks we may use nuclear weapons like our 'bunker busting' bomb against him, he may unleash chemical and biological weapons against us first."

The group expressed concern that a humanitarian crisis would follow war, killing innocent Iraqis. In November 2002, PSR-LA released a report, "Collateral Damage," with its UK affiliate Medact that anticipated tens of thousands of casualties and injuries in the event of war. Earlier this month, a PSR doctor returned form a mission to Iraq sponsored by the Center for Economic and Social Rights, determining that the country is completely unprepared to deal with the disruption of war. "We must understand the horrible consequences of war on the Iraqi citizens who are already weakened by twelve years of war, sanctions, and a kleptocratic leader," said Dr. Jose Quiroga, a Board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. "I prescribe peace."

PSR-LA, with 3,000 doctors and healthcare workers in the LA area and 25,000 members nationwide, works toward a socially just world, free from violence, weapons of mass destruction and environmental health threats to human health. PSR-LA is part of the US affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention Nuclear War which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.