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Four years in review: Approximately 9,000 other voices

Observer Viewpoint | Friday, May 13, 2005

Thousands of students, faculty and staff from Notre Dame, Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s did not sign a petition opposing a potential U.S.-led war with Iraq. The petition appeared yesterday as an ad in The Observer, included the signatures of approximately 600 people superimposed over the phrase, “Hear Our Voice.”

The approximately 9,000 students, faculty and staff who did not sign the petition opposing war with Iraq might cite the just cause tenet of Catholic just war theory as a primary motivating factor in their decision to abstain from endorsing the petition. They could mention that “The Challenge of Peace; God’s Promise and Our Response,” a United States Catholic bishops’ pastoral on war and peace, endorses war “to protect innocent life, to preserve conditions necessary for decent human existence and to secure basic human rights.”

The approximately 9,000 students, faculty and staff who did not sign the petition opposing the war with Iraq could combine this 1983 Catholic Pastoral teaching with CIA-generated facts concerning human rights abuses under Saddam Hussein including Hussein’s use of mustard gas in Panjwin in October-November 1983 leaving 3,000 Iranian and Kurdish casualties, his murder of another 2,500 Iranians on Majnoon Island in February-March 1984 by the same method, his April 1987 mustard-gas attack that left 5,000 Iranians dead or wounded in al-Basrah, his deployment of tabun and mustard gas against some 3,000 Iranians at Hawizah Marsh in March 1985 and 5,000 more at al-Basrah in April 1987 and his use of sarin and mustard gas against 3,000 Iranians in October 1987 at Sumar/Mehran.

The approximately 9,000 students, faculty and staff could also take into account Hussein’s Stalinist purges of his Ba’ath party, chemical attacks on Kurds in Iraq, his documented chemical experimentation on Iraqi jail inmates and his tyrannical political oppression of any semblance of an opposition party.

The approximately 9,000 students, faculty and staff who did not sign the petition opposing the war with Iraq heed the words of Fadel Sultani, President of the National Association of Iraqi Writers, who stated in response to peace protesters, “Did they not realize that oppression, torture and massacre of innocent civilians are also forms of war?”

The approximately 9,000 students, faculty, and staff who did not sign the petition opposing the war with Iraq may have considered Saddam Hussein’s flagrant human rights atrocities, his contempt for the 17 UN security council resolutions passed in order to limit his destructive capabilities and his close ties to terrorism and thought to themselves, “Hear our Voice.”

Timothy Bonadiesjunioroff-campusFeb. 26, 2003