A World Says 'No'



14 February 2002


The Asian Peace Alliance, a broad regional network of organizations and movements working for peace, joins the rest of the world in observing the International Day of Protest against the United States' War on Iraq.


For this is not just a war on Iraq. In country after country, overwhelming majorities of the people are against the war. A global anti-war movement is rising up in an unprecedented pace and scale. The much-vaunted trans-Atlantic alliance is collapsing under the strain of the worst crisis ever faced by the US and its erstwhile allies. But the US could not care less. It will go to war even if it goes alone. This, then, is not a war against Saddam. This, then, is not a war against terror. This is a war against the rest of the world.


And today, all those opposed to the war around the world comes together to say no. Today, the world comes together for peace.


The US can have the most powerful and most expensive military in the world. It can have the most cutting-edge killing machines. It can have a coalition of conniving regimes on its flank or in its pockets. But it will not have the most important weapon of all, more powerful than any weapon of mass destruction. It will not have legitimacy in its actions.


The US can exaggerate its own intelligence reports, use plagiarized dossiers, fabricate evidence, resort to illogical reasoning, or arrive at misleading conclusions. But they still do not - and will never have - any justification for raining bombs on Baghdad.


This war is not about democracy: direct US support has been the reason why the most brutal of tyrants have survived. This war is not about protecting the world from weapons of mass destruction: the US has the biggest arsenal of nuclear bombs of all. This is not a war against terror: if "terrorism" is the use of force to terrorize people for achieving political ends, then the US, with this war on Iraq and its rich history of aggression, are the worst terrorists of all. The US cannot find "smoking guns" on Iraq because they are already holding them in their hands.


Today, as the world marches together for peace, Asia will be in the frontlines. It will be there because it knows all too painfully well how it has been like to be Iraq. The people of Asia know first-hand how it is like to be ravaged by war. It is not a fate it wishes to share with the innocent people of Iraq whose men, women, and children will suffer most from this war.


 The first Gulf War and the economic sanctions that followed have already directly and indirectly killed more than a million people, according to the United Nations and the US Census Bureau. This next one, if we fail to stop it will be even worse. The US battle strategy calls for the launching of 800 bombs on Iraq during the first two days of war -- this will be more than all the bombs launched during the entire first Gulf War. The United Nations estimates that hundreds of thousands of already suffering and destitute Iraqis will be killed and rendered homeless. More are expected to die in the months and years after as a result of contamination of depleted uranium, poor health service, and severe starvation.


Today, the world comes together to stand up for the victims of brute power and raw force.


We call on all Asians and the rest of the world to come to the defense of these hundreds and thousands of Iraqi civilians who may be killed in the war. It is their lives that are on the line.


We call on the Asian governments not to support the war, whether by lending moral justification to it or by allowing their land and resources to be used for it.


We call on France, China, and Russia to veto any resolution that sanctions the war. We call on Germany and other governments defying the United States not to waver under intense pressure.


We call on the people to resist. We call on the people to prevail.





14 February 2002