Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

A Witness for Peace

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

A Witness for Peace

Article excerpt

In Wellstone's last major speech, he rose up against the "costly mistake" of the Iraq war.

IN SUMMER AND early fall 2002, the war drums of the Bush administration were beating on Iraq. Sen. Paul Wellstone was in a close race for re-election, and he knew the political risk of opposing the war resolution. But even if it were to cost him his Senate seat, he was determined to stick by his principles, one of which was to use diplomacy and build multilateral cooperation rather than go to war.

On Oct. 3, Wellstone rose on the Senate floor to deliver what would be his last major speech. He condemned plans for a "pre-emptive, go-it-alone military action in Iraq," and posed questions about the consequences of possible U.S. actions, in particular about the "possible loss of life that could result from our actions"-for "U.S. soldiers and innocent Iraqis"-concluding that a war "could be a costly mistake for our country."

Although his warning was not heeded and proved tragically correct, it remains a powerful reminder. Ten years later, we face a situation of ongoing or increasing U.S. involvement in wars around the world-Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia-and threatened interventions in Syria and Iran. …

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