War, like Torture, does not work
Iraq War Forum, Hosted by Congressman Mike Michaud - Bangor Theological Seminary
December 21, 2005
My name is Jean Hay Bright and I am running for U.S. Senate against Olympia Snowe. I want to thank Congressman Michaud for calling this town meeting, something Senator Olympia Snowe has repeatedly and consistently refused to do.

As you know, Congressman, I've been against the Iraq War for years, before the war started, and before I even considered becoming a candidate for U.S. Senate.

So much has gone wrong in this war, so much evil has come to the attention of the American people and the world, from torture, illegal detentions, secret CIA prisons, the deaths of thousands of American troops and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.

More and more people are coming to agree with your fellow Congressman John Murtha that the military has done all it can possibly do in Iraq. I have been saying for months that what is needed now are not troops fighting an amorphous, ill-defined enemy, but well-trained police going after criminals. Roadside bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, are criminal activities, and should be treated as such. A political change in focus from military to police activity would allow our troops to leave Iraq and be replaced by supplemental police forces from the UN or its member nations.

But something else profound is happening.

The issue of war itself is going through the same public scrutiny that the issue of torture has seen the last few months discussions about what acts of torture do, not only to the victims of that torture, but also to those who conduct that torture, to our own national psyche and the realization that we are now perceived around the world as a nation that condones torture.

But beyond the moral and ethical arguments is the overriding reality that TORTURE DOES NOT WORK. Information gleaned from tortured prisoners cannot be trusted. We can't expect to save the world based on statements made by tortured prisoners.

Likewise, people are starting to key into the fact - the reality - that WAR ALSO DOES NOT WORK. We are beginning to consider that war itself is bad, is obsolete, is not the answer.

Some evidence of that shift in public thinking is the growing support for a cabinet-level Department of Peace. I've already signed onto that national effort, and I urge you, Congressman, to do likewise.

The use of violence to achieve political ends is not good public policy. It is no way to run a country, and it is not the way to deal with conflicts across international borders.

We need a new national focus, one based on international diplomacy, mutual respect, human decency. I'm not talking bleeding-heard liberal, I'm talking hard-nosed negotiations and conflict resolution in the George Mitchell Northern Ireland tradition.

For our survival as a nation, and as a species on this planet, we must make Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men more than a casual holiday greeting.