Hip Hop's Open Letter to George Bush

512 Seventh Avenue, 43rd Fl, New York, New York 10018

March 10, 2003

Dear Mr. President:

As you approach your final decision on a war to disarm Iraq, we are writing urgently to recommend that you use your good office and stature as a world leader to win disarmament of Iraq without going to war. Thus far, without a full-scale war, you have been successful in marshalling the United Nations and the world community to affirm the importance of disarming Saddam Hussein of all weapons of mass destruction.

The United Nations' inspectors are making progress. The worldwide demand that Iraq complies completely with UN Resolution 1441 has produced results and important information that will enhance the effectiveness of the ongoing UN inspection process.

Rather than establishing a deadline for war, you could strengthen the lifeline for peace and disarmament in Iraq: continued UN inspections.

Peace is not the absence of war, but it is the presence of justice. There is no justification for the massive killing of innocent people in an avoidable war on Iraq. The wrongness of this war will prevent a lasting peace in the Middle East and circumvent the progress that the UN is finally making in getting Saddam Hussein to comply.

Domestically, Mr. President, rampant poverty is on the rise and the hopes and aspirations of millions of youth are being triaged on the altar of national neglect. We in the hip-hop community know and feel the pain, misery and wretchedness of the social condition of our communities. Now with the prospect of a multi-trillion dollar federal budget deficit, an unnecessary war on Iraq is only going to increase the cold damp hands of social dereliction that have a deadly choke hold on too many Americans across the nation.

Give peace a greater chance. War on Iraq now is not the solution. We can win peace and disarmament without war.

Russell Simmons

Benjamin F. Chavis

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