Sean Penn

Actor Sean Penn Lashes Bush over Iraq War Drums
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October 18, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Actor Sean Penn on Friday weighed in on the international debate over a possible war with Iraq, paying for a $56,000 advertisement in the Washington Post accusing President Bush of stifling debate and threatening civil iberties.

In an open letter to Bush taking up most of a page in the main section of the daily newspaper, the Oscar-nominated star of "I Am Sam" and "Dead Man Walking," urged the president to stop a cycle where "bombing is answered by bombing, mutilation by mutilation, killing by killing."

"I beg you, help save America before yours is a legacy of shame and horror," Penn wrote, echoing voices of caution from around the world that have called for a measured response to allegations Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction.

The letter was signed "Sincerely, Sean Penn, San Francisco, California." A spokesman for the Washington Post confirmed that it was placed by the Hollywood celebrity who has starred in more than 40 movies.

Quoting Bush's declaration that the world was either "with us or against us" in the war on terrrism launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Penn, 42, said Bush was marginalizing critics, manipulating the media and promoting fear.

Those actions and "your administration's deconstruction of civil liberties all contradict the very core of the patriotism you claim," wrote Penn, who is married to actress Robin Wright Penn, and was formerly married to pop star Madonna.

"Sacrificing American soldiers or innocent civilians in an unprecedented preemptive attack on a separate sovereign nation may well prove itself a most temporary medicine," he said.

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