Joe Conason's Journal

Write to the Iraqi Mission! Saddam needs to know that he doesn't have the support of citizens around the world.

Published February 21, 2003 4:36PM (EST)

Tell Iraq to disarm now
Yesterday's journal suggesting that the antiwar movement inform Baghdad that opponents of war also want Iraq disarmed -- and don't support Saddam in any way -- got an overwhelming reader response with only a few dissents. The item was posted at 1:20 p.m. Eastern time. Within the next few hours, messages like this arrived in my Salon mailbox:

"I forwarded your column link to everyone I've been demonstrating with, and sent off e-mails to both links. The Iraq News Agency mailbox rejected it; apparently the mailbox is already full. Perhaps that's good news."

Many said they had gotten the same automatic response from the Iraq News mailbox. Other readers said they had sent the column to, United for Peace and other activist groups (though not International ANSWER), urging that this effort or something like it be incorporated in upcoming protests. Another reader sent along a polite but clear "sample letter" like the ones he'd posted to the Iraqi embassy:

"Please do not confuse American antiwar sentiment with support for Saddam Hussein. It indicates support for the U.N. inspection process, but only if it is an effective means to destroy your nation's illegal weapons of mass destruction.

"I oppose the Bush administration's war policy, but I have no illusions about the character or intentions of Saddam Hussein. It would be tragic if your leader believed that he could fritter away his last chance to avert a terrible war by not cooperating with the U.N. inspection regime."

According to today's International Herald Tribune, the Russian foreign minister believes that UNMOVIC is being pressured -- presumably by the White House hawks -- to leave Iraq and thus signal the commencement of bombing. Hans Blix is preparing to demand that the Iraqis destroy their illegal missiles. If Saddam refuses, it's hard to see how war can be averted. The Iraqi dictator probably needs to be further disabused of any delusions of support by citizens around the world. Please write to him care of the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations ( and the Iraq News Agency (
[9:07 a.m. PST, Feb. 21, 2003]

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By Salon Staff

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