On threats to the Rule of Law

A letter to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

by Benjamin Kuipers

Dear Senator Hutchison,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply to my letter. I agree with the importance of defending our country, and more generally, defending the Rule of Law in our world.

I agree that Saddam Hussein is a threat to our country, but not that he is the most pressing threat. Al Caeda and now North Korea are very likely more pressing than Iraq, though all must be addressed.

However, I fear that the unilateralism shown by the Bush administration is also a threat to the Rule of Law in our world, which therefore translates into a threat to our country. I call on you and your fellow Senators to work to subject the administration to the Rule of Law.

I am certain that it must be very frustrating to work with the United Nations Security Council to get the resolutions necessary to have the world's backing in enforcing the law on Saddam Hussein. It is very frustrating for anyone to work within a system of negotiations, of democracy among a diverse, highly opinionated population. A dictator has it much easier: he can say "Attack!" and his word creates action.

But the power of our country comes from the wisdom we get by combining and listening to all those voices, including voices of caution, before taking action. Yes, it is frustrating, but it leads to better action. The rest of the world, slowly, is learning to follow our lead towards democracy.

We must continue to lead in that direction. Unilateral war, turning our back on the United Nations if it gets frustrating, is attacking the Rule of Law in our world. If that happens, our country will suffer grievous harm.

Please take the longer view. We are not just fighting one bully here. Everyone knows that Saddam doesn't have a chance in the long run. But the future of democracy and the Rule of Law in our world is not a given, and it is also under attack.

Standing up for the Rule of Law, against the vigilantes, takes courage. But that is what is right.

Please do it. We will stand behind you.

With my best wishes,

Benjamin Kuipers

At 11:42 AM -0500 10/30/02, senator_hutchison@mail.senate.gov wrote:

Dear Mr. Kuipers:

Thank you for writing me to share your views on U.S. policy toward Iraq. I appreciate hearing from you on this crucial matter.

As you know, since Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein seized power in 1979, the Iraqi people have been subjected to a repressive, brutal regime which has shown utter disregard for human rights, religious faith, and fundamental personal freedoms. In addition to human rights violations, I am also deeply concerned that Saddam Hussein is actively developing weapons of mass destruction. These devastating weapons under his control pose a potentially enormous threat to many freedom-loving countries throughout the world. As long as Saddam Hussein is in power, we must prevent him from threatening or harming others.

Saddam Hussein's repeated failure to meet his obligations to the United Nations Security Council threatens the authority of the United Nations, and the safety of our world. President Bush announced the United States will work with the United Nations to craft a new resolution to hold the Iraqi regime accountable for transgressions of past Security Council Resolutions. However, the United Nations must enforce any new resolution passed.

I support President Bush's efforts to work through the United Nations to return weapons inspectors to Iraq. I supported the resolution to authorize the use of military force against Iraq because I believe it is important for the United States Congress to show our solidarity with President Bush to the Iraqi government, to the United Nations, and to the world. If the United Nations will not take action, then we must.

I believe my most important job as a United States Senator is to protect the citizens of this nation and the freedom on which our nation was founded. There is no decision we, in Congress, make that requires more careful consideration than a decision to authorize the use of armed forces and, in so doing, send America's sons and daughters into harm's way. It is my responsibility to give the President the authorization he needs. The question of whether the security of the United States is threatened has been answered. The answer is yes. It is with a heavy heart and a realization of the consequences that I voted to authorized the President to use force against Iraq. But it would be a burden I could not carry to vote no and then, a year or two from now, see a preventable attack kill thousands more innocent Americans or our allies.

We are going to meet this test of our generation. We are going to protect the freedom and the way of life that the beacon to the world of the way life should be. We can do no less. I encourage you to continue sharing your thoughts on this vital issue. Your voice is an important part of our national dialogue and I value your input. Please do not hesitate to contact me again regarding any other issue of concern to you.


Kay Bailey Hutchison

Written 10/30/2002.