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[casi] Dennis Kucinich: "The only weapon that can save the world is nonviolence"

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Friends -

                Below is a new statement by Representative Dennis Kucinich.
As always, it is thoughtful and intelligent.

Fred Dettmer

Kucinich Draws the Line Against War

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, The Progressive
October 29, 2002

Unilateral military action by the U.S. against Iraq is unjustified,
unwarranted and illegal. The Administration has failed to make the case that
Iraq poses an imminent threat to the United States. There is no credible
evidence linking Iraq to 9/11. There is no credible evidence linking Iraq to
Al Qaeda. Nor is there any credible evidence that Iraq possesses deliverable
weapons of mass destruction, or that it intends to deliver them against the
United States.

When Iraq possessed and used weapons of mass destruction, quite sad to say,
it did so with the knowledge of, and sometimes with materials from, the U.S.

During the Administration of Ronald Reagan, sixty helicopters were sold to
Iraq. Later reports said Iraq used U.S.-made helicopters to spray Kurds with
chemical weapons. According to The Washington Post, Iraq used mustard gas
against Iran with the help of intelligence from the CIA.

Iraq's punishment? The U.S. reestablished full diplomatic ties around
Thanksgiving of 1984.

Throughout 1989 and 1990, U.S. companies, with the permission of the first
Bush Administration, sent to the government of Saddam Hussein mustard gas
precursors and live cultures for bacteriological research. U.S. companies
also helped to build a chemical weapons factory and supplied the West Nile
virus, fuel air explosive technology, computers for weapons technology,
hydrogen cyanide precursors, computers for weapons research and development,
and vacuum pumps and bellows for nuclear weapons plants. "We have met the
enemy," said Walt Kelly's Pogo, "And he is us."

Unilateral action on the part of the U.S., or in partnership with Great
Britain, would for the first time set our nation on the bloodstained path of
aggressive war, a sacrilege upon the memory of those who fought to defend
this country. America's moral authority would be undermined throughout the
world. It would destabilize the entire Persian Gulf and Middle East region.
And it would signal for Russia to invade Georgia; China, Taiwan; North Korea,
the South; India, Pakistan.

The U.S. must recommit itself to the U.N. Charter, which is the framework for
international order. We have a right and a duty to defend ourselves. We also
have an obligation to defend international law. We can accomplish both
without going to war with Iraq.

There is a way out.

It must involve the United Nations. Inspections for weapons of mass
destruction should begin immediately. Inspectors must have free and
unfettered access to all sites.

The time has come for us to end the sanctions against Iraq, because those
sanctions punish the people of Iraq for having Saddam Hussein as their
leader. These sanctions have been instrumental in causing the deaths of
hundreds of thousands of children. Emergency relief should be expedited. Free
trade, except in arms, must be permitted.

Foreign investments must be allowed. The assets of Iraq abroad must be

And a regional zone free of weapons of mass destruction should be

The only weapon that can save the world is nonviolence, said Gandhi. We can
begin this practice today by calling upon the Administration in Washington to
stop the talk of war, and stop the planning for war.

In their heart of hearts, the American people do not want war on Iraq. The
American people want peace.

There is no reason for war against Iraq. Stop the drumbeat. Stop sending
troops and supplies to Kuwait and Qatar. Pull back from the abyss of
unilateral action and preemptive strikes.

We know that each day the Administration receives a daily threat assessment.
But Iraq is not an imminent threat to this nation. Forty million Americans
suffering from inadequate health care is an imminent threat. The high cost of
prescription drugs is an imminent threat. The ravages of unemployment is an
imminent threat. The slowdown of the economy is an imminent threat, and so,
too, the devastating effects of corporate fraud.

We must drop the self-defeating policy of regime change. Policies of
aggression and assassination are not worthy of any nation with a democratic
tradition, let alone a nation of people who love liberty and whose sons and
daughters sacrifice to maintain that democracy.

The question is not whether or not America has the military power to destroy
Saddam Hussein and Iraq. The question is whether we destroy something
essential in this nation by asserting that America has the right to do so
anytime it pleases.

America cannot and should not be the world's policeman. America cannot and
should not try to pick the leaders of other nations. Nor should America and
the American people be pressed into the service of international oil
interests and arms dealers.

We must work to bring Iraq back into the community of nations, not through
destruction, but through constructive action worldwide. We can help negotiate
a resolution with Iraq that encompasses unfettered inspections, the end of
sanctions and the cessation of the regime-change policy.

We have the power to do this. We must have the will to do this. It must be
the will of the American people expressed through the direct action of
peaceful insistence.

If the U.S. proceeds with a first strike policy, then we will have taken upon
our nation a historic burden of committing a violation of international law,
and we would then forfeit any moral high ground we could hope to hold.

Representative Dennis Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio, is head of the Progressive
Caucus in Congress.

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