The actor and director Sean Penn made the following statement at a news conference in Baghdad on Sunday afternoon:
I am a citizen of the United States of America. I believe in the Constitution of the United States, and the American people. Ours is a government designed to function “of”-“by”-and-“for” the people. I am one of those people, and a privileged one.
I am privileged in particular to raise my children in a country of high standards in health, welfare, and safety. I am also privileged to have lived a life under our Constitution that has allowed me to dream and prosper. In response to these privileges I feel, both as an American and as a human being, the obligation to accept some level of personal accountability for the policies of my government, both those I support and any that I may not. Simply put, if there is a war or continued sanctions against Iraq, the blood of Americans and Iraqis alike will be on our hands.
My trip here is to personally record the human face of the Iraqi people so that their blood — along with that of American soldiers — would not be invisible on my own hands. I sit with you here today in the hopes that any of us present may contribute in any way to a peaceful resolution to the conflict at hand.
I thank Norman Solomon and the Institute for Public Accuracy for facilitating my visit.
December 15, 2002