Letter from Pat Schroeder of the U.S. Congress

December 7, 1990
  

Dear Dr. Said:

Thank you for your comments on the Persian Gulf Crisis. I voted against the Persian Gulf Resolution, H.J. Res. 658, which passed the House October 1 by 380 to 29, because I did not want President Bush to believe he had a blank check to take unlimited action. My j~ fear was justified. The President has ordered over 400,000 U.S. troops into the Persian Gulf region. As a result, I joined 53 Congressional colleagues in filing a lawsuit seeking to block the President from going to war without Congressional approval. Ironically, right up to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, President Bush not only ignored Iraqi belligerency, but opposed congressional efforts to restrict U.S. trade subsidies to Iraq. Then he did an about-face and ordered a Normandy-size military operation with no rationale or consultation with Congress or the American people. What should be done now? First, we should make the international trade embargo work, even if it takes a year or two, and use the United Nations to spearhead negotiations rather than to bless war. Would we rather expend 12 months on an embargo, or 50,000 dead Americans on a war? Sanctions worked on South Africa. Containment ultimately brought the Soviet Union to its senses. War should not be our policy of first resort. Second, we should make sure our allies share the Desert Shield responsibilities and costs, which already exceed several billion dollars. Our allies are not shouldering their share of the burden. The Saudis are reaping tens of rnillions of dollars in windfall profits from oil sales, while Americans spend their peace dividend to defend them. Third, we should not use the crisis as a pretext to introduce massive new weaponry into the region. Fourth, our ultimate goal should be the eviction of Iraqi forces and an economic and political democracy in a liberated Kuwait.

Sincerely yours,

Pat Schroeder

Charwoman, Subcommittee on Military Installations and Facilities