A statement by the National Director for Canada, United Steelworkers of America

By Lawrence McBrearty, February 2003

Sisters & brothers:

Some Steelworker members have asked me whether the Union has a point of view on the current controversy regarding possible military action against Iraq. As the Union has not had any conference, convention, or executive board opportunities in which to discuss an official position, let me simply share some thoughts which I believe are widely held.

The United Steelworkers has always supported the integrity of the United Nations. It is the single most important international institution in the struggle to maintain peace between and among nations.

Therefore, it is consistent with that view that Canada remain committed to a UN-based process in dealing with the current regime in Iraq. The consequences of the United States, or any other nation, taking military action independent of the United Nations could be catastrophic.

An invasion of Iraq would be illegal under the Charter of the United Nations, under which charter only the Security Council may authorize wars, with the single exception of national self-defense against armed attack. Any military action against Iraq should have the moral force of international consensus behind it.

An invasion of Iraq may lead to prolonged instability in that country; destabilization of the wider Middle East including the possibility of a prolonged and heightened conflict between Israel and the Palestinians; increased popular appeal of radical Islamic movements and increased terrorism in the US and abroad. Invading Iraq will probably make both the region and the world less secure.

Many things may change in the days and weeks ahead. But in the short term, it is clearly in the interests of world peace and stability that UN weapons inspectors be allowed to do their work. It is also in the interests of all of the peoples and nations of the Middle East that threats of violence and unilateral military action cease, and that all diplomatic and political efforts are made to resolve the region's serious differences and conflicts without the loss of lives.

In solidarity,