An Open Letter to:
Hon. Walter B. Jones Jr.
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.

Dear Congressman Jones,

 Your remarks condemning Richard Perle at the April 6 House Armed Services Committee hearing show your heart has clearly been touched by the senseless tragedies spilling from this war.  Your words give encouragement to those of us who long to see our country get out of Iraq and end the death and suffering of countless thousands, including our fellow citizens.  Your words give us hope that perhaps your heart and your mind will be open to knowing truths you could not earlier recognize.

You told Perle that you were “incensed” that he had earlier assured Congress of the need for war; that as a result of the war you have signed more than 900 condolence letters to the kin of fallen soldiers, including those of a Marine who left a wife and three children. 

You are right to be incensed; to be outraged; to be mad as hell.  But I must ask: how can it be that you and so many other members of Congress were taken in by the likes of Richard Perle?  How was it that the smooth, quiet words of Perle, Wolfowitz, Cheney and Bush drowned out the voices of millions of us around the world who marched in the streets crying “NO WAR ON IRAQ”?   How was it that millions of ordinary people could know that invading Iraq was wrong and would end in untold and unnecessary agonies, when the smooth-voiced “experts” were claiming the opposite?  And most importantly, how could millions of ordinary people know that if Congress authorized a war it would most certainly not be a “mistake of intelligence” as is now being claimed?

Now that your heart has been touched, now that you have publicly questioned the counsel you were given, I hope you will be able to hear the answers to these questions.

We knew invading Iraq was wrong because it would be a war of aggression which the Nuremberg Tribunals taught is always illegal; because Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks of September 11; and because the U.N. inspectors, who had been there, searching for WMD had not found any and were confident more inspections would be better than war.  Those reasons alone were enough. 

But we have another reason for knowing that going to war against Iraq was wrong – a reason which also explains how we know that “bad intelligence” cannot be blamed.  To hear this reason, Congressman Jones, you will have to listen with your newly-opened heart because it runs counter to what all of us were taught about America. 

Our country is not only the world’s sole military superpower.  It is now an empire.  And it  behaves exactly the same as every empire has behaved before it.  Empires exist to maintain control of what they have gained and do whatever is necessary to gain more.  When you understand these fundamental purposes of empire, you know that we did not go to war against Iraq because it might have had weapons of mass destruction – U.N. inspectors’ assurances to the contrary.  You know that we did not go to war against Iraq to topple a cruel dictator when we had installed and propped up so many others before him.  You know that we did not go to war against Iraq to spread freedom and democracy.  And thus – and this is key, Congressman Jones – you know that we did not stumble into war against Iraq as a result of bad intelligence or some terrible mistake.  MISTAKES WERE NOT MADE when we went to war against Iraq – it was exactly what the empire had to do to project U.S. military might, control resources, and secure markets for our corporations in a key part of the world. 

The only mistake this administration MIGHT have made, and it remains to be seen, is if the political price for going to war against Iraq becomes too great for it to bear and it gets held accountable for the war crimes it has committed.  Tragically, the way that is most likely to happen is if members of Congress have to write hundreds more condolence letters to their constituents. 

And so, Congressman Jones, you’ve learned many things you did not know when Richard Perle came before your committee prior to the invasion of Iraq.  Some of them you learned from the painful exercise of signing condolence letters.  Some of them you learned from the unfolding of history.  The question now is: what will you do about it?  Will you help end this criminal war?

Most Sincerely

Mike Ferner 

Ferner is a former Navy Hospital Corpsman and a member of Veterans For Peace from Toledo, Ohio.