News Release

After Sean Penn’s Visit to Iraq: Reflections and Possibilities

NORMAN SOLOMON
Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, which organized Sean Penn’s recent trip to Baghdad. “After accompanying Mr. Penn during his visit to Baghdad, I’m heartened by the evident value of dialogue in the midst of this extremely ominous crisis,” Solomon said today. “His visit could inspire many Americans from various walks of life to explore how they can impede the momentum toward war, whether in Baghdad or at home in the United States.”
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PAUL ROGAT LOEB
Author of Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time, Loeb said today: “It’s good that Sean Penn went to Iraq. We all should educate ourselves, we all should speak up. Unfortunately, we’re encouraged to dismiss anyone who challenges Bush’s march to war…. Ordinary citizens can’t speak up because they don’t know enough; young people are dismissed as naïve; older people we’re told are trying to re-live the ’60s; academics are just eggheads; religious people are unrealistic; immigrants are suspects; celebrities are airheads and so on. So basically everyone is written off except the people actually running the show.”
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WILLIAM CHRISTISON
Former director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis, Christison said today: “When I was with the CIA, we thought the more you know, the better your decisions are. It’s good for all Americans to educate themselves about Iraq at this crucial time. We have an administration that has a lot of people in it who clearly want to go to war…. They have no interest in dialogue, sorting out the facts, giving clear reasons for policy or seeing weapons inspections work.”

JAMES ABOUREZK
A former U.S. Senator from South Dakota, Abourezk visited Iraq in September. He said today: “In an effort to silence opponents of Bush’s Iraq policy, Americans have had their patriotism called into question by those who want a major war. Rather than encouraging debate on the issue, Bush has used the element of fear to stifle discussion. The Bush administration is on a campaign to leak one story after another looking for a pretext to massively attack Iraq and frighten the American public into going along with an assault on a weakened Third World country — is that patriotic?”

EDWARD L. PECK
Peck is a former chief of mission to Iraq and deputy director of the White House Task Force on Terrorism in the Reagan Administration. He said today: “Dialogue is something that everyone should be for. It’s a shame that Penn could not go with persons from the U.S. government prepared to achieve legitimate objectives without the spilling of blood.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167