WASHINGTON - A Cambridge arms control specialist and peace activist is mounting
a write-in campaign against Senator John F. Kerry, hoping to register public
disapproval for his recent vote authorizing President Bush to use military force
Randall C. Forsberg (http://www.rforsberg.com/),
a Democrat with a doctorate from MIT who serves as director of the Institute for
Defense and Disarmament Studies, conceded yesterday that she does not have a strong
chance of unseating Kerry next week. Instead, she said she hopes that the votes
she receives will send an antiwar message.
Forsberg has registered her candidacy with the secretary of state's office
so that any vote for her will be tallied under her name rather than lumped into
an ''Other'' category when ballots are counted.
''I think it's important for every person in Massachusetts who opposes war
in Iraq to vote for me,'' Forsberg said. ''It won't only send a message to Kerry,
but also sends a message nationally that there are an awful lot of peple who are
opposed to war in Iraq.
''Iraq does not have nuclear weapons,'' she said. ''I think for the United
States to conduct a unilateral war against Iraq is the worst thing the government
can do for the country at this time. It undermines international law. It hurts
the economy. We will occupy a country and take on its oil fields and add to our
superpower status in a threatening manner. For all those reasons, it's likely
to increase terrorist attacks on US citizens and interests abroad.''
Kerry has no Republican opponent in his bid for a fourth term. His only other
challenger is Michael E. Cloud of Wayland, the Libertarian Party nominee.
In a statement, Kerry said: ''While we agree that war is a last resort and
that we must act with the international community, I am convinced that Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction pose a serious threat to this country and to the world.
I continue to believe that a tough resolution combined with the hard work of diplomacy
is the best way for the UN to finally hold Saddam Hussein accountable.''
The Massachusetts Democrat announced Oct. 9 that he would support a congressional
resolution authorizing the use of force, if necessary, to ensure there are inspections
for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Kerry announced his decision after spending
months criticizing the administration's military response to the Sept. 11 terrorist
attack, its handling of fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, and its
early threats of military action against Iraq.
Instead, the senator counseled diplomacy, especially involvement of the United
Nations and a multinational approach to any military action. In his speech announcing
his support for the Bush administration, Kerry said the Democrats could claim
credit for pushing the president into accepting that approach.
''That shift has made it possible, in my judgment, for the United States Senate
to move forward with greater unity, having asked and begun to answer the questions
that best defend our troops and protect our national security,'' he said.
Kerry opposed a similar resolution in 1991 that authorized military force
in response to Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. The switch raised questions about
whether the senator was changing policy to bolster his expected candidacy for
the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. All of the other expected Democratic
candidates, except for Governor Howard Dean of Vermont, voted in favor of the
latest resolution on Iraq.
''The safer vote was to vote with the president, because in most states, Democrats
would have paid a price from Republicans for being soft on defense,'' said William
Schneider of the American Enterprise Institute. ''It's a vote they didn't want
to cast. It puts them all on the spot. And it is angering some liberals. He's
not facing a Republican opponent, but now it's from some of his own Democrats.''
Forsberg, 59, said that after graduating from Columbia University in 1965,
she moved to Sweden and worked from 1968 through 1974 at the International Peace
Research Institute in Stockholm. In 1980 she founded her arms control institute
and wrote the ''Call to Halt the Nuclear Arms Race,'' which became a manifesto
for the nuclear freeze campaign. She received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship,
the so-called genius grant, in 1983 and a doctoral degree from MIT in 1997.
Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company