Open Letter from Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey to His Excellency President George W. Bush

Mr. President, I think you will agree that peace and understanding are fundamental values upon which a civilized Humankind is based and which are aspired to in every religion on Earth.

Mr. President, I know that your Christian values are important to you and that you try, as you have said on many occasions, to respect these values as you exercise your public duties.

I would ask you, Mr. President, whether you agree with the notion that a world based upon a multi-lateral approach to crisis management, upon diplomacy which respects the principles of equality and freedom of decision, is better than one ruled by a tyrant which uses bullying and blackmail instead of dialogue and discussion.

I would ask you, Mr. President, to consider in your role as Honorary Chairman of the Person to Person International program, to read the standard letter paper, where you will see the words “Peace Through Understanding” in the top right-hand corner, just to the right of your name and I would urge you, Mr. President, to think carefully about the motto of the program which you chair.

Peace Through Understanding involves a process of debate of principles, of ideas about what is right and wrong, of discussion and inter-exchange of concepts, hopefully, I am sure you would agree, Mr. President, in a spirit of friendship.

However, I must point out, Mr. President, that your administration does none of these things. Do you believe that it is correct, Mr. President, that the decisions taken at the UN Security Council (UNSC) should be based upon fear at insinuations that the USA will interrupt aid programmes if the voting does not go the way Washington wants?

Do you think it is ethical, Mr. President, to threaten countries which vote against the policy followed by Washington with a review of their status for aid?

Mr. President, this is what is happening at the UNSC. It seems more like demagogy than diplomacy, it seems more like bullying and blackmail than debate and dialogue, Mr. President.

Mr. President, The fact that the world clamors for peace while your administration presses for war, not unilaterally, but, you would agree, Mr. President, with a very reduced number of countries supporting you (and how many of these would do so if their decisions were devoid of non-diplomatic pressures?) means that your administration’s policy goes against the grain of world public opinion.

Mr. President, If you choose not to go through the UNSC just because you fear that a resolution which gives the go-ahead for the use of violence against Iraq will not be accepted and thereafter proceed to attack Iraq outside the auspices of the UNO, you will be liable for prosecution at the International Criminal Court at The Hague for war crimes.

Mr. President, The fact that the United States of America has not ratified the agreement to acknowledge the authority of this court would imply that you agree that the presence of Mr. Slobodan Milosevic there is due to an illegal act of kidnapping but it does not free you, or any member of your administration, or any other member of government around the world who takes part in an illegal act of war, from prosecution for war crimes. The basic principle of equal human rights must be upheld in all courts of law.

Mr. President, If the United States of America is unable to handle business at the UNO building in New York using the proper rules of international diplomacy, then I would suggest respectfully that your country does not deserve to host this organization on its territory.

Thank you for your attention, Mr. President.

Kind regards,


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