March 31, 2003
The Hon. Richard A. Gephardt
United State House of Representatives
Dear Congressman Gephardt,
It is with
considerable regret but also with a sure conviction that I write to inform
you that I can no longer support your candidacy for President of the United
are well aware I have had the most serious reservations about our government’s
Iraq policy for a very considerable period of time. No one has yet
explained to me what action the government of Iraq took in the late spring
or early summer of 2002 which propelled it and its people into our gunsights.
No one has explained to me why the resolution passed by the Congress last
year was needed or justified by events. No one has explained to me
why the United States believes it has the right to engage in battle against
Iraq without a clear, unambiguous resolution from the United Nations.
And no one has explained to me why the United States shunted diplomacy
and the United Nations aside and took unilateral military action against
the people of Iraq at a time when all evidence pointed to the fact that
UN inspectors were making progress in Iraq.
such explanations, I have been driven to the conclusion that my country
is in the wrong war at the wrong time against the wrong enemy for the wrong
the world, including a great many citizens of countries long considered
to be friends of ours, and in particular a majority of the peoples of Great
Britain, our staunchest ally, have, as best I can determine, voiced overwhelming
opposition to the actions of our government. From what I read and
hear much of the world has concluded that this war is not about
what our President tells us it is about – liberation
-- but is rather about revenge and oil. Whether that is the case
I will leave up to history. But I can say now that I feel greatly
disturbed by our government’s unilateral actions and its assertion that
everyone is out of step but us.
I had hoped
– against hope, as it turned out – that you would speak out forcefully
against the President’s course of action prior to the commencement of hostilities.
(It was precisely for that reason that I asked to meet privately with you,
and I appreciated your agreeing to do so.) You chose not to speak
out. I am sure you have your reasons for arriving at the conclusion
you came to.
know I have greatly admired the leadership which you have given over the
years to the issues of workers’ rights and environmental rights.
I believe that of all the serious Democratic candidates now in the field,
you have by far the best understanding of the retreat which the federal
government has made over the years in its support for the poorest among
us, for those trapped in inner cities, and for small hard working farmers.
It was because of these issues that I chose to join your campaign.
Congressman, I believe that all these issues pale before the new foreign
policy which our government has embarked upon. Might does not make
right, and what we as a people are now doing is just plain wrong.
Not to mention stupid. If not reversed our present course of action
will, I believe, inflame fundamentalist beliefs throughout Islam, and the
next generation will pay dearly for this holy crusade against “the axis
tell me the horse is already out of the barn, the milk spilt. That
may well be the case, but I firmly believe the world – and my fellow countrymen
-- must be told that a significant portion of the citizens of this country
vehemently disagree with the course of action the United States is presently
taking. It is clear to me that you have chosen not to lead
Senator Eugene McCarthy became, however reluctantly, the voice of dissent
against an earlier American military/diplomatic blunder. I believe
that mantle today has been picked up by Governor Howard Dean. As
I backed McCarthy in ’68 precisely because he was the voice of reason crying
in the wilderness, so I have concluded I must come to the support of his
John M. Pratt
Cc:Gov. Howard Dean
Mr. Jim Demers