Anyone is free to use those talking points, but we would be grateful to know when and with whom you have used them.

First public meeting with antiwar groups: New Yorkers Say No To War, Tuesday 3rd December 2002, Columbia University (Horace Mann Auditorium, Teachers College)

  • The WCF is a small, young nonprofit and nonpartisan think-tank promoting the revolutionary idea that democracy ought to be applied as much in international and global politics as it is accepted in national politics. Our philosophy is that all human beings have equal inalienable rights and equal dignity, that the global system must be redesigned/reinvented to reflect that, and that this is the only way we will be able to solve global problems.
  • Our main activity is the Campaign for World Democracy, and the project Preemptive Democracy for Iraq is only the second time that we have applied those concepts to other situation. The first time was when we developed earlier this year the concept of a Democratic Peace Process for Israel-Palestine.
  • The purpose of this evening is to present the concept of Preemptive Democracy for Iraq and to make the case that if the antiwar movement decided to push it, this is the best chance there is of stopping a war, while at the same time creating the conditions to free Iraq and create a true democracy there.
  • We (the 3 speakers) have a common goal: that Iraq be free and democratic. We all represent different organizations, we may not agree on other goals and may disagree with each other this evening.
  • But we all agree that Iraq should be free, independent, secular, democratic, unified and federal (federalism is a novelty in Arab politics and a historical precedent which has the potential to change the region).
  • What is pre-emptive democracy? It is the idea that using democracy to achieve democracy, rather than war, is a much better, cheaper and more moral way. Pre-emptive democracy is a completely principled and moral stand which recognizes that process is as important as the goal.
  • Most likely plans today are war first, military government then some kind of democracy. This is actually the worst possible scenario, because it is the one which will offer maximum excuses for terrorist attacks, and it is the scenario which will feed global fears of a war on Iraq as part of a plan of the US for global domination. We owe it to civilians everywhere to be more imaginative to minimize the chances of war.
  • The US administration has asserted the equation democracy=war, and the antiwar movement instead of refuting that equation, has accepted it and by rejecting war, has rejected democracy as well, though not explicitely.
  • The antiwar movement - which is now demoralized because war plans are going ahead and it looks as if the movement had little impact, could be re-energized if it took a more sophisticated stand. It should demand democracy for Iraq (since Iraq is now on the front burner), and it should pressure governments and Saddam's opponents to use democracy to achieve democracy rather than war.
  • The antiwar movement could still stop the war if it presented an alternative to present plans. That alternative is to reject the simplistic view of "war, then occupation. then democracy", and to support the immediate creation of a democratic transitional government for Iraq.
  • Such support should be predicated on specific conditions to maximize the credibility of this new government. While it is not possible to have a perfectly representative government, the intent should be clear: to maximize credibility and legitimacy.
  • The best way to do so is to hold a constitutional process, which is broad-based and transparent, i.e. open to the world's televisions and media. Imagine Al-Jazeera, CNN, BBC broadcasting into US, European and Arab living rooms the constitutional discussions of 400 Iraqi men and women, and the live elections to a transitional democratic government!
  • This would have a tremendous impact on public opinion and put pressure on all governments to politically recognize the new government. It would be hard to deny diplomatic recognition to a government whose birth had just been witnessed live by hundreds of millions of people, and to instead choose to continue to recognize the murderous government of a dictator.
  • By "broad-based representation", we mean that say 50% of the delegates are elected/selected by Iraqis presently out of reach of Saddam Hussein (i.e. mainly Iraqi exiles abroad). Even a less than perfect representation would be much better than the present Iraqi government.
  • The creation of a provisional democratic government would create a whole new dynamic and is likely to lead to the ouster of Saddam Hussein with very little violence. This could be gone quite quickly, i.e. in January/February 2003.
  • In conclusion, we suggest that the best way to topple Saddam without war (which is the ideal), is to create a focus for opposition, to isolate him diplomatically and politically. And even if war became inevitable, it should only be at the explicit behest of the new democratic government of Iraq, and therefore would not create the dang.