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Dear Colleagues: I attach a copy of a resolution that I recently wrote and brought before the Mount Holyoke faculty for a "sense of the meeting" vote. We had a lively debate, most of which revolved around the old--but crucial--issue of whether a faculty ought to take a stand on a non-academic issue. I argued that it was important for Mount Holyoke, with its deep connections to centers of influence and power, to put its institutional weight behind stopping this war. I hope some of you can foster similar debates on your campuses. By secret ballot, the resolution passed 74-6, and copies were sent off to Pres. Bush, Sens. Kerry and Kennedy, and Rep. Neal. Local news media also covered this story. Another way for us to think global and act local, as well as to insist that colleges and universities are anything but ivory towers.

Daniel Czitrom
Professor of History
Mount Holyoke College

February 5, 2003

Dear Mr. President:

As Mount Holyoke faculty members who have devoted our professional lives to teaching, scholarship, research, and the creative arts, we are deeply dismayed by the imminent prospect of war with Iraq. While the rationale for invasion seems to change weekly, our own intelligence services cannot reach consensus on the dangers currently posed by Saddam Hussein, or on his links to Al Qaeda and the September 11 attacks. We do not dispute that Saddam is a tyrant, but we believe a strategy based on containment, deterrence, and continued pressure by the United Nations would be more effective in neutralizing him than a pre-emptive attack. We ask you to consider the fundamental question that we, along with millions of Americans, are asking: will an invasion of Iraq make the United States more secure or less secure? Removing Saddam from power may be easy, but dealing with the inevitable unintended consequences that follow will not. We dread the mass casualties and enormous suffering that even a short war threatens for Iraqis and American armed forces. An American led invasion will very likely boost the recruitment efforts of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations around the world. War will increase deficits and drain more resources from an already weak economy. Locally, we have watched the University of Massachusetts, our partner in the Five College consortium, suffer through years of demoralizing budget cuts. Nationally, many of our states and cities struggle to avoid bankruptcy amidst the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression. War with Iraq means diverting away even more funding from education, health care, and the other human needs that also define our national security. As educators and citizens we urge you to pursue vigorously every alternative to war before it is too late.