Thursday, October 26, 2006

A LETTER TO MY SENATOR (2003)

Several people have asked and sent me messages about an email I sent to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) back in March, 2003 -- a few days before the start of the Iraq War. I addressed my concerns to Sen. Feinstein as a private citizen on the then-pending Operation Iraqi Liberation/Freedom. I posted the email on my myspace blog back during the Congressional election.

It is printed just as I first wrote it in 2003 when I was 29 years old, so I apologize in advance for any grammatical or spelling errors. I also use movie plots and characters to analogize complicated things from time to time.

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-----Original Message-----From: Joseph S. Ford, Jr. [mailto:jford@bluegalaxy.us] Sent: Sunday, March 16, 2003 7:31 PMTo: senator@feinstein.senate.govCc: henry.yang@chancellor.ucsb.edu; Rep.Harold.Ford.Jr@mail.house.gov; senator@boxer.senate.gov; henry.waxman@mail.house.gov; lois.capps@mail.house.gov; senator@alexander.senate.gov; senator@frist.senate.gov

Subject: A Letter to My Senator: SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN c/o Guillermo Gonzalez



Dear Guillermo:


Hey, how are you doing? Julia Hawkins from your Washington D.C. office asked me to contact you regarding the opportunity to speak with Sen. Feinstein. With the current state of affairs in the domestic and international world, I want to let my voice be heard by Sen. Feinstein before any potential conflict may erupt in Iraq or elsewhere on or after 3/17/2003. Please pass the below letter along to Senator Feinstein.


Thanks,
Joseph Ford



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Dear Senator Feinstein:


Thank you so much for your valuable time. I really appreciate your letter of congratulations for my Pepperdine law school graduation last spring. It was definitely a motivating factor throughout my study for last summer's CA bar exam. I passed the exam in November and will finally be swearing in on April 4 here in Los Angeles. I will also be taking the Tennessee bar and possibly waiving into the D.C. bar later this year.


I have two things I want to discuss with you: (1) the U.S. war with Iraq...


...(1) As a concerned citizen exercising his civic duty, I want to let my voice be heard on the record in these times of seeming chaos and conflict throughout the world. It seems imminent that our country will soon go to war -- a war that will possibly change the way of life for our country permanently. While I am not in the political sector, my family in Memphis, Tennessee is, including my dad, my uncles and my cousin U.S. Rep. Harold Ford. During high school, I participated in the TN Senate Youth and Boys State programs, so I keep abreast of the world political events and issues.


I am currently producing movies and developing an entertainment/intellectual property law practice in Los Angeles. As I look around my city, I see and hear people worried about the imminent war and the possible worldwide financial recession/collapse (possibly due to the upcoming peak of the world's oil production which is rumored to happen later this decade). When U.S. domestic oil production peaked in the early 1970s, the gas and energy shortages here substantially affected the U.S. economy in many negative ways. What will be the result for the world's economy when the oil production of the entire world peaks? Unless some cheap energy source is available as soon as the production peak is reached, there will be much destruction and chaos as the world's countries and corporations battle to control the remaining limited oil reserves. Oil will still be around for another 50-60 years after the production peak is reached, but only the rich and powerful will have access to it as it gets more and more scarce.


While I am not privy to the information that my elected officials have, various internet sites leak independent, underground news stories that our mainstream, corporate media seems to miss. While some of these underground stories may be true, many of these stories may simply just be the product of some radical, creative thinkers. However, a few of these news reports make much more sense than the news which is reported (or not) in our mainstream media -- namely the true motives, effects and beneficiaries of this upcoming war.


Since only my elected officials have the classified information that is leading us to war, I can only form conclusions using my knowledge and analyzing information from a number of different sources. Since I am usually correct in my well-researched conclusions, it is because of my conclusion of where this war will eventually lead that I am fearful for the future of my country and my republic. I really hope my conclusions are wrong!


With your knowledge from various select congressional committee memberships, I have faith that equipped with the real knowledge you will make the right decisions. While my country has not been perfect over its existence, it has contributed more to human society than any other country in recorded history. For hundreds of years, nations have looked to us for guidance in hopes that their respective countries could flourish and prosper like our country. In two great wars and a cold war last century, the U.S. brought freedom to oppressed societies and brought hope to other nations worldwide. However at some point over the last fifty years, our united country has changed from being a beacon of hope to a disunited beacon of force. Perhaps it was Sept. 11, or perhaps it was at some other time. Nevertheless, this country has changed.


Now a majority of the world views this country as a bully concerned only about profit. People are fleeing the country to immigrate elsewhere, fifty years of beneficial alliances are eroding and career government officials are resigning all in protest to the war plans. This is unprecedented in the modern American era. I saw your recent appearance on Chris Matthews' "Hardball", and I agree with many of the views that you expressed. However, I disagree with our current executive administration's stance and position on invading Iraq to remove its leader. While Saddam is a dangerous man who eliminates all rivals to his power in rather inhumane ways, he is not the only evil leader in the world. Some of the world's other evil leaders are in some cases, our closest allies and friends. In fact, during the times that Saddam was using chemical weapons both on his people and the people of Iran, Saddam was one of our biggest allies in the Middle East. To remove one "gangster" (who I believe was declared 95% disarmed by the U.N. in the mid-1990s) which will likely kill a potential of 500,000 Iraqi civilians known as "collateral damage" is ridiculous especially when the U.N. weapons inspectors are asking for more time to complete their operations peacefully.


A unilateral war killing even one innocent Iraqi civilian will brand America and its leadership as war criminals in the eyes of many nations around the world if it happens without U.N. approval. It will also ignite fury amongst the 1 billion Muslims of the world. If 19 extremist terrorists can take out our financial base in New York with only boxcutters, what will 1 billion do to our country when they see the destruction inflicted on their brothers/sisters by the huge 21,000 pound bombs dropped in the middle of the night? Is the worst-case scenario of losing American troops, enraging the entire Muslim world against us, racking up a huge $1 trillion bill during a recession for the war expenses, diverting military resources away from our war on terrorism which is still on-going, ignoring the rising crisis on the Korean peninsula, indirectly causing the deaths of some 500,000 innocent Iraqis including some 200,000 children, and contaminating Iraq for many years with cancer-causing depleted uranium munitions really worth it to "free" the country from Saddam's tyranny and oppression when no imminent threat to our security has been proven by the executive branch? Merely saying that you have proof is not proof, though the executive branch uses such logic to justify its unilateral action.


If Saddam Hussein is really the threat so claimed, wouldn't it be more efficient to simply conduct a covert, "G.I. Joe-style" operation to take him out with minimal casualties instead of destroying the five million-populated Baghdad? Although current Presidential executive orders forbid these types of operations, this rule could be easily changed by merely having the President sign a new executive order. If there is credible, provable evidence linking Saddam to an imminent U.S. security threat, surely such an operation would be completely justified both legally and morally. From the pictures of the city I have seen online, the scenery of Baghdad resembles the cosmopolitan metropolis scenery here in Los Angeles. Hypothetically, if in the future the countries of the world decide to rid the U.S. of its weapons of mass destruction for the actions of its leaders, I would hate for Los Angeles and its people to be on the receiving end of a "Shock and Awe" as Baghdad will be hit with during the first few days of the war. I cannot imagine the horror that millions of ordinary Iraqis, unaffiliated whatsoever to the country's politics or Saddam, feel each night as they go to sleep -- wondering if they will wake up in a pile of rubble or whether they will wake up at all.


If the members of Congress truly believe that our executive branch is doing what is right for the true security and principles of our country as founded, then you all have my full support. Several of my family members and friends have been called up to active military status, so I pray for their safe return home. The U.S. troops and soldiers of this war have my unconditional support. I have truly been blessed to live my entire 29 years in the greatest country of all-time thanks to the sacrifices and blood of soldiers from generations past fighting to preserve liberty, civil rights, freedom and the Constitution. Our forefathers designed our government with a checks and balances system to keep us from falling into a unilateral tyranny. When the executive branch is the only branch of our government making war decisions, it is apparent that some, if not all, of these checks have bounced. Given the significant importance of the Iraqi situation, I do not hear Congress exercising any of its powerful given rights. If our country is destined to go to war with Iraq, then it is time for Congress to stand-up and call for an emergency meeting to formally declare war on Iraq. If there is not enough support for the war declaration amongst the representatives of the people, then the war effort needs to be stopped immediately and real meaningful diplomacy must be reinstated. If there is enough support for the formal war declaration from Congress, then our President would be vindicated and would be fully authorized under our laws and Constitution to do whatever is necessary in Iraq. In these trying times, the President should do everything by the book to ensure that he is making the correct decisions based on what is best for the people of America and the country as a whole, and not for the benefit of a few appointed officials and/or various lobby groups who may have allegiances to entities other than the U.S. If the President's evidence is completely solid, then he should have no problem convincing Congress to authorize the declaration (though I personally do not believe there would be enough support for a congressional war declaration).


If the President's stated goal is to bring democracy to the world, then he should begin first by practicing the principles of democracy both at home with Congress and abroad with the U.N. However, the President was not even elected according to the democratic wishes of his own people who cast over 600,000 more votes for the President's 2000 challenger Al Gore, Jr. If there are so many nations and people of the world against this war, shouldn't the President be asking the reasons why instead trying to bluff or bribe these nations to go along with his position? Of course legitimate U.S. interests must take precedence over U.N mandates, but aren't these sovereign U.N. nation's considerations and concerns all a part of the democratic process? Unfortunately, I believe that Congress gave away its war powers to the executive branch back before the Nov. 2002 elections, so it may already be too late for Congress to stop the war as it so already appears. Nevertheless, I truly believe that you will do everything in your power to ensure that our country continues to abide by the principles and ideals of our Constitution as we approach this crucial point in American History.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Powerful stuff. Thanks!

Valerie said...

Joe,

Will you be settling the "issues" you have with Congressman Ford now that the election is over?

Joe Ford, Jr. said...

I certainly hope so. Jr. ran a great campaign, but he came up 3% short. He could have won the race, but there were too many distractions locally that cost him crucial votes. I know many people who simply did not vote for him for various reasons. From Jr's voting record in the House to non-endorsement of Steve Cohen in favor Jake, these things hurt Jr with the Democratic base. I truly believe that had Jr endorsed Cohen from the end of the primary, Jr would have been elected to the Senate.

That's now water under the bridge. Jr placed his bets on Jake and lost, so what's next for Jr? While I did not lend support to Jr's Senatorial run, I would support him if he decided to run for the Mayor of Memphis. I hear that he's not interested in running for Mayor, but I believe it is his best shot for remaining a politician in the public eye.