I have just returned from Iraq
"John Briscoe" <jbriscoe@ncccusa.org>
Reply-To: <jbriscoe@ncccusa.org>
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 16:14:14 -0500

Colleagues in Christ:

    I have just returned from five days in Iraq with a delegation of
religious leaders. Some of your will remember Bishop Mel Talbert, former
United Methodist Bishop for the Bay area and now Ecumenical Bishop for the
United Methodist Church, who was with us. The question we were asked -- at
"potluck suppers" at Presbyterian churches to meetings with Tariq ul-Aziz,
Deputy Prime Minister and a leading Christian layman -- was, "Why can't you
take YES for an answer. You have disarmed us; inspectors are on the ground;
we are not threatening anyone?"  It was a hard question to answer.

    We had several Arabic speakers in the group. We were not guided or
followed. We heard over and over. "We don't want war. Saddam Hussein has
done some dumb things, but he is our leader. We will die if you attack, but
we will take a lot of Americans with us."


    We encourage you to be true to the prophetic tradition. Speak truth to
power. Witness with your prayers, your songs, your words and your bodies.

    We have free bumper stickers we would be glad to send you. (Go to
www.ncccusa.org to see one and to order).  Tell us if you would like to be
on our "Win Without War List Serve. (Send your name to
jmorazes@ncccusa.org).  Go to the "Working Assets" rally outlined below.

    We can prevent this morally outrageous, strategically stupid and
economically suicidal war.  If we to be true to God's great messenger of
peace, we must not be silent.

    We have come a long way since the talk of unilateral action and regime
change in August. The inspectors are on the ground. Our allies are
expressing grave reservations. The voice of reason is rising in the land!

    May God bless your ministry, encourage your witness and give us all

Rev. Bob Edgar

General Secretary

National Council of Churches