Rep. Dennis Kuckinich / – 2005-07-19 00:56:19
Support H.J. Res. 55, Withdrawing US Troops from Iraq
Dennis Kucinich speaking from the Floor of the House / Congressional Record
(June 17, 2005) — “Mr. Speaker, yesterday a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress introduced H.J. Res. 55, which is a binding congressional resolution calling on President Bush to begin withdrawing the United States Armed Forces from Iraq on or before October 1, 2006.
“This bipartisan binding resolution is entitled Homeward Bound, and it is about bringing our troops home. I would like to cite some provisions of the statement of policy which is in H.J. Res. 55. It says that it is the policy of the United States to announce, not later than December 31, 2005, a plan for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq.
“And, second, it is our policy to turn over all military operations in Iraq to the elected Government of Iraq, and provide for the prompt and orderly withdrawal of all US Armed Forces from Iraq; and, finally, to initiate such a withdrawal as soon as possible, but not later than October 1, 2006.
“Support H.J. Res. 55.”
This year I made resolutions on Independence Day rather than on New Year’s Day.
• 1. I refuse to allow “patriotic” to
be redefined as “blindly allegiant”.
• 2. I reassert my connection with the flag, and I will work to show the world an America I am proud of.
• 3. I will not hate or insult a fellow American for any action, inaction or vote that I disagree with.
• 4. I will hang onto hope and never resort to actions that I believe are part of the problem.
• 5. I will conduct myself in such a way that others are attracted to behave in a similar fashion.
Those people acting 230 years ago whom I associate with the word “patriot” did not accept the status quo in their country. America’s founders actively opposed their current government, standing for what they believed in. When anyone — including its government —- threatens the people of a country, a patriot stands up and takes action.
The American flag represents the diversity of the American people and the nation’s history, good and bad.
I am proud of the US Constitution, and of the great good works done and to be done by Americans. My car has an American flag sticker right next to its War is Not the Answer sticker. The two need to go hand in hand. I will no longer stand by as the symbol of America is co-opted to stand for things antithetical to the Constitution.
What makes us act and vote the way we do? What makes us generous or selfish, courageous or fearful, act out of love or out of hate? The legacies of our parents and lifetimes of exposure, reacting to childhood and adult events and pressures of all kinds, drive human beings to make the choices we do.
Trying to imagine what sorts of things happening to me might make me respond the same way helps me to be compassionate when I stand up to disagree with someone. I think that increases the chance of someone considering my point of view. It’s also consistent with what I want from others.
I’m done with clever, insulting bumperstickers. They may draw a chuckle from the already-converted, but they harden the opposition of the people they make fun of, and that doesn’t help, it hurts.
I think that most or all Members of Congress who voted to allow President Bush to officially go to war in Iraq felt in their hearts, shaped by their own lives and experiences and the information they had, that it was for what they believed to be the best. I can object to what I think was a grievous error without condemning the people who made it, and I allow in my own heart their ability to change.
Congressman Walter Jones found the power to change, and he acted on it in his support of the Homeward Bound Act. Many others who originally supported the war also are now beginning to call for its end.
I salute in newly-rediscovered esteem the meaning of the thirteen stripes and fifty stars and their 293 million plus owners – each of us evolving at our own rates. One day, individually and collectively, we will make war, poverty and exploitation things of the past, and we will wonder what ever we could have been thinking.
The Homeward Bound Act
The Beginning of the End of the War in Iraq
On June 16, two Democrat and two Republican Representatives introduced a bi-partisan Resolution to begin the process of withdrawing American troops from Iraq.
Members of Congress Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced the Bill along with additional cosponsors Martin Meehan (D-MA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA). As of July 15 the bill has 28 cosponsors in total.
The Homeward Bound Act, H.J. Res. 55, is a binding Resolution calling for President Bush to announce by the end of 2005 a plan for withdrawal from Iraq that would begin by October 1, 2006.
The Bill is intentionally crafted to avoid partisan finger-pointing and recriminations. Referring to the bi-partisan sponsorship of the Bill, Dennis said it was possible “because four Members of Congress put aside any kind of differences that we may have had in the run-up to the war and the conduct of the war, and we’re saying this is the way to bring our troops home.”
Please act now in support of this bill.
This statement of the Cal-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church. echoes the concerns voiced by the National Council of Churches’ and a number of other major church bodies.
War in Iraq and at Home
A resolution of the California Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church
Adopted June 18, 2004
This resolution passed overwhelmingly.
As United Methodists, as people of God, we confess our complicity and sorrow in the misplaced, vengeful and ideologically driven reaction to the tragedy of 9-11-01;
We have been silent in the face of national arrogance and greed that places our nation above the family of nations (the UN) in our actions; this is evidenced by our government’s abrogation of numerous treaties and the Charter of the UN itself, and the decision to privatize Iraqi oil allowing foreign corporations to control Iraqi oil;
We have not resisted enough as our nation took up preemptive and unilateral war against Iraq, while all rationales for the war have proven false;
We have acquiesced in “eye for an eye” tactics in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading to enormous disproportion of civilian carnage and widespread destruction;
We have tolerated an “anything goes” attitude illustrated graphically by the brutality and torture of Iraqi prisoners held by US forces, dehumanizing both victim and victimizer;
We have allowed the erosion of civil rights, aimed particularly at Arab-Americans, and a new level of secrecy in government seriously jeopardizing the very values and rights we seek to defend; (Book of Discipline, Social Principles, Paragraph 164.C)
We have failed to make connections between massive poverty and humiliation across the world, particularly in Arab countries, and acts of despair and terror; (ibid, para. 163.E)
We have placed upon our children and our childrenís children the enormous and continuing cost of this war;
We have failed, in sum, to be the Church, to be agents of Godís peace and reconciliation on earth, to live by the rule of love which casts out all fear, and to be faithful witnesses of a justice-demanding God.
We are sorry and we repent, asking Godís forgiveness.
We reaffirm our historic Wesleyan rejection of war as a means to establish peace and democracy and security. (ibid, para. 165 Preamble; 165C)
We reaffirm our need for the family of nations and international institutions and treaties to help solve the problems of our world.
(ibid, para. 165.B)
We support our UM Council of Bishops in its May 11, 2004 call for the involvement of the UN in transition to a new Iraqi government, the rebuilding of Iraq through multinational assistance, and calling all UMs to prayer for peace and advocacy for justice in Iraq and the world. (ibid)
We support US and Coalition troops caught up in a dangerous war amidst hatred, humiliation and violent reaction to foreign occupation, and we acknowledge the special sacrifice of week-end soldiers deployed for long terms and unexpected extensions of duty. (ibid, para. 164.G)
APPEAL TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES
We call upon the government of the United States to:
• Plan an orderly transfer of power to legitimate Iraqi leadership under UN security arrangements,
• Plan an orderly withdrawal of all US forces, including military, contractors (mercenaries) and prison guards, and the closing of all US bases in Iraq, in consultation with the UN,
• End the privatization of Iraqi oil, and allow a sovereign Iraq to make all decisions about Iraqi oil and other national resources,
• Apologize for any and all instances of violating the Geneva Convention and turn over the investigation and prosecution to the new International Court of Justice,
• Offer a multi-billion dollar no-strings-attached humanitarian and economic aid package to a sovereign Iraq, with solicitations to all Coalition partners and to all regional governments to join in this effort,
• Resume efforts to defend our nation against all threats within the bounds of our own Bill of Rights and stated values,
• We will circulate this Appeal to all Congresspersons in the United
States, to all candidates for national office, and to President Bush,
Vice President Cheney and all Cabinet members.
As a conference and as congregations we commit ourselves to:
• Raise issues of justice and peace to all candidates in the 2004 elections,
• Urge each congregation to contribute to the UMCOR Advance Special Fund for work in Iraq,
• Light a candle for peace during all services of Holy Communion until our area Bishop declares a stable peace has been achieved in Iraq,
• Initiate community-wide prayer vigils on 9-11-04,
• Promote intercessory prayer for all nations and persons, military and civilian, involved in the Iraq conflict, in regular worship and in private meditation,
6. Initiate community-wide interfaith dialogues between Christians, Jews, Muslims and persons of other faith persuasions,
• We will circulate this resolution as widely as possible among all members of all our California-Nevada Conference congregations.
Submitted by: Cathy Deppe, Alex Walker, Erik Larsen, Jennifer Touchton
Sunnyhills United Methodist Church