July 1, 2004
Hon. George W. Bush
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
It is my solemn duty to inform you that what is often called a “weapon of mass destruction” has been placed in one of your major cities. You will understand why I cannot be more explicit. The nature of the weapon (whether chemical, biological or nuclear); which particular city it is in; and how it came to be placed there – all of these are questions which must, for the time being, remain unanswered. Suffice it to say that if it is detonated, the certain result will be the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
That is why I am pleased to assure you that those in charge of this weapon are under the control of the government of Iraq, and that they – and we – have no intention whatsoever of detonating this terrible weapon. Our intentions are purely defensive. As long as the United States refrains from attacking Iraq, or causing others to do so, you can be confident that no harm will come to the residents of the city in question. But if you, or any successor of yours in the presidency, should be so misguided as to launch an attack upon my country, it will of course be necessary for us to respond with every means at our command.
I realize, of course, that the United States has the military means to destroy Iraq many times over. But from this time forward you will have to decide whether that satisfaction will be worth the consequent and inevitable loss of several hundred thousand innocent American lives. The choice is yours: peace with Iraq, or measureless tragedy for both our nations.
Let me add that, contrary to your governments propaganda, the government of Iraq is mature and responsible, and has no intention of abusing the advantage that the purely defensive weapon I have described might otherwise give us. That is to say, we will not use the threat of detonating it as a means (for example) of expanding Iraqs control over Middle Eastern oil at the expense of Kuwait or Saudi Arabia – though both of these nations, and no doubt others, are likely to see the wisdom of concerting their policies more closely with ours hereafter.
We will not even use the existence of this weapon as a means of resolving the festering problem of Israel, and relieving at last the bottomless misery that nation has inflicted on the people of Palestine. But future negotiations on that subject, among the United States, Iraq and the other interested nations of the Middle East (and indeed the world) will undoubtedly reflect the realization that the United States can no longer afford to impose its will unilaterally upon the region.
Finally, I urge you most strongly to consider the new development that has prompted this letter, not as a blow to Americas strength or policies, but as opening new prospects for a true and lasting peace between the United States and the other nations of the world. It was precisely that preference for negotiation over war that animated those – including many of your European allies, your domestic opponents and even some in your own party – who, just two years ago, succeeded in halting Americas headlong rush to war against Iraq.
Truly, Allah is merciful.