Call for Referendum
Thursday, Nov. 21, students will have the opportunity to express
their opposition to a war on Iraq by voting on a recently issued
referendum. Why oppose a war on Iraq, you ask? Here are some simple,
1) A war on Iraq will in all likelihood involve the deaths of tens
of thousands of Iraqis, most of whom will be innocent civilians;
2) Unleashing American forces on Iraq could be a step toward further
attacks on countries in the region, resulting in even greater destabilization
3) A war on Iraq will heighten the already existing opposition and
hatred that many in the region have for the US and its policies,
further contributing to terrorism and fundamentalism;
4) US soldiers will inevitably die;
5) The war will partially shift the attention of domestic constituencies
away from the horrific policies that the Bush Administration is
pursuing here at home, frightening people into supporting or accepting
policies that they would otherwise rightly abhor and reject;
6) An attack on Iraq will increase the probability that Saddam Hussein
will use weapons of mass destruction against the US and its allies,
by the CIA’s own estimates.
You might say, in response: “Well, sure, all of what you say
is true. But we can’t do anything about it. Regardless of
the actions and opinions of the American people, much less the those
of students at Oberlin College, the Bush Administration will pursue
its own agenda, however and whenever it
But that is not the case. Sure, if the American people are to stop
this war, or any other war in the future, a few protests and some
petitions, what have you, are not going to be enough, obviously.
However, if our actions are part of a sustained, ever-growing movement,
we can undoubtedly change the course of events that will inevitably
unfold if we remain silent.
This is where the referendum comes in: if a sufficient number of
students vote in opposition to this war, the Administration will
be compelled to issue a statement expressing the student body’s
opposition to war on Iraq.
As more and more colleges issue such statements — including
Oberlin, hopefully — others will be encouraged to do likewise.
This, in turn, will raise consciousness among the general population
about the injustice of this war, and contribute to the growth of
a larger anti-war movement that could, in the end, thwart the aims
of war planners in Washington. It’s a small step, but nevertheless
an important one. Let’s take that step. Vote against the war!