News Release

American Delegation En Route to Baghdad

An independent American delegation to Iraq, led by Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and former Sen. James Abourezk, is scheduled to arrive in Baghdad on Friday night (Sept. 13). The delegation also includes James Jennings, president of Conscience International, an Atlanta-based humanitarian aid and human rights organization, and Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

The following policy analysts and commentators are available for interviews:

DENIS HALLIDAY
Halliday is former head of the UN oil-for-food program and a former UN Assistant Secretary General. He is currently in his native Ireland. He said today: “Any dialogue between the U.S. and Iraq is good — and with current and former lawmakers, it is even better. Open-minded dialogue would prove war to be unnecessary.”

EDWARD L. PECK
Peck is a former chief of mission to Iraq and deputy director of the White House Task Force on Terrorism in the Reagan Administration. He said today: “This delegation can provide the start to a much-needed dialogue between the U.S. and Iraq. I hope that more congressional representatives, and others who are concerned over the present course, will go to Iraq and determine facts for themselves. Our government is constantly saying that there must be discussions between parties in disagreement, to avoid or at least reduce the risk of war: India and Pakistan; North and South Korea; the Israelis and the Palestinians; the Protestants and the Catholics in Northern Ireland. So why don’t we talk to Iraq?…. This [the current policy] is not merely dynamic hypocrisy, it is shatteringly unwise. At the height of the Cold War, we knew the Soviet Union could, with the push of a button, eliminate us from the face of the earth. That was a known, not hypothetical threat — a real one. But we had an embassy in Moscow, and they had one here, not because we loved and trusted each other, but because we didn’t. You lose nothing when you talk, but the failure to do so in this case may cost us dear. The delegation is a good start, one that I hope will lead to a dialogue.”

BISHOP THOMAS GUMBLETON
Gumbleton has been to Iraq several times. His weekly Sunday homilies given at Saint Leo Church, Detroit, Mich., are available at the National Catholic Reporter web page, above. He will be available for interviews Thursday afternoon and Friday.
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PHYLLIS BENNIS
Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-editor of Beyond the Storm, A Gulf Crisis Reader, Bennis said today: “Getting inspectors back in must be primary. War would violate international law and undermine the UN.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167