Why peace?

Because we want justice for our dead; and because we want our safety back. Because we want a world in which the events of September 11 can never be repeated.

We support President Bush's resolve to end terrorism, but not his military agenda for doing it.

We recognize that we are now in a world where indiscriminate military actions can make us less safe, rather than more, and we believe that the best security for the U.S. and the world is peace--peace, particularly, in the Middle East.

The world has an opportunity to unite for one goal. We call upon our leaders and our neighbors to demand loud and clear that the U.S. join the globe in forging a response to this terrorism that does not escalate the cycle of world violence, and cost more human life.

We call on our leaders to promote a far braver discourse than war. We call on them to say that world peace is what September 11's martyrs truly deserve to have enacted in their name. Let President Bush seize this extraordinary moment in world history -- an extraordinary, precious opportunity when all nations of the world wait upon America's next breath -- to partner on an equal footing with world nations to create the first truly global alliance investigating and condemning violence in all its forms.

It is our strong belief that a non-military response is the best strategy for a permanent end to terror. We believe in a non-military response for the following reasons:

  • Because justice will be better served. We believe that the perpetrators of these crimes should be brought to justice. As Americans, our conception of justice includes due process and a fair trial. By using the systems of international law and jurisprudence in place, we can best ensure peace, justice, and freedom worldwide. If we abandon our commitment to justice in times of crisis, we undermine the very foundation of our freedom.

  • Because a war on terrorism is likely to increase terrorist activity at home, not just overseas. Indiscriminate killings of Afghani citizens or other innocent citizens of the globe will achieve nothing but death, and it is certain to inflame retaliation and even further terrorism--and it lowers us to the level of the terrorist attackers. Just as we condemn these terrible attacks, so we condemn all situations in which civilians are killed for the values or actions of their governments.

  • Because there are many concrete measures, other than an indiscriminate war, that we can take to respond to September 11's acts of horror. Here are some being suggested worldwide, in an astonishing consensus:

    • We must proceed with the investigation into terrorism via the use of a truly international team, citing and utilizing international human rights law. The Geneva Convention and other international agreements are steps toward a system of international human rights law that is agreed to by nations around the globe. By supporting this system, the United States makes clear that despite its power, it is accountable to the core values of democracy.

    • We must call for immediate resolution of the Israel/Palestinian conflict as a world security measure.

    • The U.S. must begin immediately to forge a respectful, alliance-building dialogue with Middle East Muslim communities and their governments. As he did last night, President Bush must state often and loudly that the majority of Muslims in the Middle East and at home did not and do not support terrorist action. But President Bush must also begin to truly listen to Middle East nations' suggestions for how to repair their scarred relations with the United States, and to their suggestions for how to address the anger that erupts in terrorism. And President Bush must pledge to discontinue the U.S.'s own violence-supporting actions across the Middle East.

  • Because a non-military response can help to cure the disease of terrorism rather than its symptoms. We have the means, the ability and the will worldwide to eradicate the root causes of terrorism. When people are desperate, they are easily controlled, and we believe that the terrible conditions of many people around the world contribute substantially to the power people like bin Laden hold over them. We do not in any way deny that ultimately people are responsible for their own actions. But let us put money into international humanitarian aid, worldwide public education, and the nutrition of starving peoples, and we will create an environment inhospitible to terrorism and its proponents.

President Bush and citizens around the globe,
let us not enter into World War III.
Rather, let us begin immediately to forge WORLD PEACE I.