President Bush ponderously addressed the nation last night then spent 30 minutes or so dodging legitimate questions from the press corp. Many newspapers are reporting today that his speech “prepared America for war,” a specious claim if ever there was one. Clearly it’d take a lot more intelligence than is wrapped up in the Oval Office before any sort of communiqué would prove persuasive to America or the world. I came away disgusted.

Among the questions the president ignored: Why is it that China, France, Russia, and Germany look at the same military data we have and reach a conclusion that war is not immediately necessary? Why are we willing to attack a country without a nuclear program and let alone North Korea, who is definitely ramping up nuclear material production? If Iraq’s neighbors aren’t clammering about the need for immediate attack against Iraq, why are we so threatened?

I strongly object to the president’s linking of Iraq to the September 11 attacks. A case for war with Iraq can be made (though not well) without resorting to intellectually dishonest pretexts for war. He is a heinous despot, but Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with September 11. And we seem to be scooping up al Qaeda members just fine without an Iraqi war.

Another very troubling rationale being pushed by the administration is human rights. There is no question that Saddam has violated the rights of Iraqi citizens. The same claim however can be made against countries throughout the world including, I am very sorry to say, the United States. The Afganistan military operation which could have been regarded as something of a success is increasingly looking like it’s bogging down into a Vietnam-style moral quagmire. The US military is torturing and killing suspects in custody in Afganistan. “Detainees” held in Guantánamo Bay and Afganistan have been denied basic human rights since capture. The very least that can be said is that it’s making it hard to be a shining beacon of hope and freedom.

Sign an online petition against the war at It will be delivered to the UN on March 10.