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Thinking Creatively about the Iraq Crisis


This page was made before the Iraq War began.

Now that war is underway and major questions are being asked about its justice, its motivations, its likely aftermath, as well as its strategy and battlefield realities.

We believe that dialogue lies at the center of whatever positive possibilities there are in times of crisis.

We urge you to get involved in dialogue with others who hold different opinions. Programs and resources for such dialogue can be found at the

National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation's Iraq Crisis Forum.


There is good reason to believe that the Iraq crisis is about more than a brutal dictator, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (see Some Factors in the Middle East Crisis and But dominant narratives about what's going on and why still play a major role wherever there is even a spark of democracy in a society.

There is enough truth in the narrative about brutal ambitious dictator Saddam Hussein creating weapons of mass destruction that any peace movement that wants to be viewed as credible (as opposed to either soft-heartedly naive or treasonously anti-American) by the broad public must be able to provide believable answers to the question commonly and correctly asked by concerned citizens: "Well, if we don't go to war, what SHOULD we do to handle this?"

Therefore, this page not only debunks the oversimplified narrative being used to generate this crisis, but offers solutions that some people have put forward, not just to prevent war, but to solve the problems that the war is being proposed to solve.

I will leave the estimation of the value of these solutions to the dialogue and deliberation of citizens, experts and officials. Someday we may have what I consider the highest form of solution in such cases -- empowered citizen forums which examine all such myths and proposals carefully and provide an official, trustworthy, wisely considered and coherent "voice of people" to replace the manipulative, confusing official voices of authority and special interests that currently shape the public dialogue.

To take action now, read the proposals marked with stars ** and decide what you'd like to see happen. Appeal to one or more countries' UN delegations, especially (but not only) security council members, particularly Britain, France, Russia, and China. You can contact them by email or fax. In particular, it seems to me that the Uniting for Peace proposal could set the stage for something like the Sojourner's or Amidon plans.


Tom Atlee's March 9 2003 summary: A pattern of possibility


Proposals for solving the Iraq Crisis (including regime change and WMDs)

Sojourner's Alternative to War for Defeating Saddam Hussein **

Elias Amidon on How to Stop Saddam **

Jimmy Carter's call for permanent inspections **

Coleman Barks' Letter to President Bush


Creatively Practical Ideas to Prevent the War

Chopra/Caldicott/Twymann/Smith Plan to Prevent Iraq War by having the Pope (and other leaders) go to Baghdad **

Uniting for Peace - Using UN General Assembly Resolution 377 **

Petition and court case for an injunction to prevent an undeclared war **

Tom Lent's proposal for peacekeeping troops **

Paul F. deLespinasse to Kofi Anan - Keep UN inspectors in Iraq! **


Perspectives on preventing such crises in the first place

Atlee/Schutt notes on Nonviolent Regime Change



Some Factors in the Middle East Crisis

Here are some of the factors that various commentators have suggested are relevant to Middle East geo-politics generally and the Iraq crisis in particular. I am no expert on Middle East politics and this list is by no means comprehensive, but it does represent some of the complexity of the intertwined factors involved. I've provided links for a few of the less known major factors.