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Dennis Kucinich on War & Peace

Democratic Representative (OH-10); Democratic Candidate for President


Democratic Party is divided over the war in Iraq

Q: Is your party divided over the war?

KUCINICH: Of course it is. I took the position of organizing 126 Democrats who voted against the Iraq war resolution, and I happen to think it was the right position. Today we're faced with over 500 casualties, a cost of over $200 billion. And it could rise-the casualties could go into thousands and the cost could go over half a trillion-if we stay there for years, as a number of people on this stage intend to see happen.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College Jan 22, 2004

Disavowing Iraqi oil creates entirely different direction

Q: You've said that within 90 days, you'll remove American troops from Iraq, and seek a UN force to replace them. What if there's no cooperation from the UN? Do you leave Iraq anyway?

KUCINICH: No. The plan is predicated on the UN being presented with an entirely different direction: that the US would disavow any interest in the oil. Ask the UN to handle the oil assets of Iraq on behalf of the Iraqi people, until the Iraqi people are self-governing. Ask the UN to handle the contracts until the Iraqi people are self-governing. The US should renounce any interest in privatization of the Iraq economy. And we should ask the UN to help construct a cause of governance in Iraq with a new constitution and elections. [In addition, my plan would] fund a UN peacekeeping mission; provide repairs for what we destroyed in Iraq; reparations for the families of innocent civilian noncombatants. That would enable the US to go to the UN and 90 days later, we'll have our troops home.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College Jan 22, 2004

90 days to bring US troops home and rotate the UN troops in

Q: Does anyone have a time frame for when the US troops can be pulled out?

A: The resolution that I talked about, going to the UN with a totally different approach -- from the time the UN approves that, 90 days later we can bring our troops home, rotate the UN troops in and bring our troops home. The only difference between a rut and a grave is in the dimensions. We are not stuck there.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Presidential Debate in Durham NH Dec 9, 2003

Let go of Iraqi oil and let the UN in

Q: Do we have to keep if not the same number, possibly even a greater number of US troops in Iraq for some extended time?

DEAN: I think we need to bring in foreign troops. You cannot expect the Iraqis to think that they have their own government if we're appointing their people. We need an election. Over a period of a few years, until the Iraqis really are able to have a democracy which is strong enough not to allow Al Qaida to emerge and has a constitution that's widely enough respected so they will not have a fundamentalist Shiite regime.

KUCINICH: The war is not over. We have 130,000 troops there. And the occupation equals a war. My plan calls for the end of the occupation, for the US to get out. Now, the UN will not cooperate unless the US takes a change of direction. And here's the change of direction: The Bush administration must let go of its aspirations to control the oil in Iraq. They must hand over to the UN the handling of the oil, on a transitional basis.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Presidential Debate in Durham NH Dec 9, 2003

Let the UN rebuild Iraq and develop its governance

Q: If American soldiers were immediately withdrawn, how would Iraq be rebuilt?

A: It is imperative that the USA get out of Iraq. It was wrong to go in. It is wrong to stay in. We must go to the United Nations with a new resolution which represents a shift in US policy, a resolution which signals that the US is ready to rejoin the world community in the cause of securing Iraq and in helping to create greater security across the globe. That resolution (on my website, www.kucinich.us) calls for the UN to handle all the oil assets of Iraq on behalf of the Iraqi people, without any privatization of oil assets. Next the UN would handle all the contracts in Iraq. No more sweetheart deals for Halliburton and no-bid contracts for political contributors. And the UN should be charged with developing new governance in Iraq so that the Iraqi people can move toward self-determination. My plan, if immediately brought to the UN would enable our troops to be home by the beginning of the New Year.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 4, 2003

Stop building Israeli wall; start rebuilding infrastructure

Q: How are you going to end the Israel-Palestine conflict?

A: It is urgent for the US to become closely involved in the efforts to reach a peaceful agreement which protects Israel and which provides for the creation of an autonomous Palestinian state. Additionally, such an agreement must call for the rebuilding of the Palestinian areas which have been devastated. The US can help to lead the way in such an agreement by participating in rebuilding housing, schools, hospitals, businesses, roads and other infrastructure. Such agreements would engender trust and confidence building and create the possibility where the parties can then deal with the issues of borders and right of return. I believe the government of Israel can help take a step in the direction of setting the stage for negotiations by stopping the building of new settlements and by ceasing in the building of walls.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 4, 2003

Barred from CIA briefing, but considers them misleading

Q: You have been consistent in your opposition to war, but you refused to sign the intelligence nondisclosure form, which means you are not allowed to see all the information collected by the CIA and FBI. How can you oppose something you do not know?

KUCINICH: I knew enough not to vote for the war without having to sit in on briefings that were phony. Those briefings are designed to mislead members of Congress, so I thought I'd work on things that were more important. I've presented an exit strategy to get the UN in and the US out of Iraq. That involves three points:

  1. To have the UN handle oil with no privatization.
  2. To have the UN handle contracts with no war profiteering.
  3. To have the UN handle new governance in Iraq until the Iraqi people can be self-determining.
Source: Democratic Presidential 2004 Primary Debate in Detroit Oct 27, 2003

No on $87B for Iraq-bring the troops home before it's $245B

Q: [Bush has asked for] $87 billion for the ongoing war on terrorism. Your vote, yes or no, and if no, what's the message you would send to the troops who are there today?

KUCINICH: The message is now I will not vote for the $87 billion. We should support the troops and I think we best support them by bringing them home. Our troops are at peril there, because of this administration's policy.

We were each provided with a security document that advised "don't cut and run," commit up to 150,000 troops for five years at a cost of up to $245 billion. A matter of fact, General Clark was one of the authors of that document that was released in July.

I led the effort in the House of Representatives challenging the Bush administration's march toward war. I say bring the troops home unequivocally. Bring them home and stop this commitment for $87 billion, which is only going to get us in deeper. Bring them home.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Have UN handle all Iraqi oil contracts

Q: In Sunday night's speech the president said, "We have learned that terrorist attacks do not come from the use of strength, they come from the perception of weakness." Do you agree?

KUCINICH: We have to understand that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, nor with Al Qaida's attack, nor did they have anything to do with the anthrax attack. What we need to do now is to get the UN in and to get the US out. And the way to achieve that is to have the UN handle the collection and distribution to the Iraqi people of the oil revenues with no privatization, have the UN handle all the contracts, no more Halliburton sweetheart deals, and have the UN create the circumstances for rebuilding an Iraqi government. Nothing less than that will enable the US to get out of there and extricate ourselves.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

$87B to "protect troops" is cynical; end the war

Q: Will you vote yes or no on the president's request for $87 billion to continue the effort in Iraq?

KUCINICH: I am going to vote no because I believe the best way to protect our troops is to bring them home. The UN in and the US out.

Q: What about protecting the troops?

KUCINICH: We'll be there forever unless we challenge this thinking where the administration cynically uses our troops to pursue a war that was unjust. What we need to do is vote no, bring the UN in and get the US out. End the war

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

End Bush's blunder: Bring US troops home & bring UN in

Q: Should we expect the rest of the world to come to the aid of the US in Iraq?

KUCINICH: It is time to bring the troops home, it is time to bring the UN in and get the US out. The United States can move away from Bush's blunder, which Iraq will be known as, because there was no reason to go war with Iraq in the first place. And everyone who took the responsibility on this stage has to answer to the American people for voting for that war. I led the effort against it.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Supports Palestinian security and Israeli security

I declare my support for the State of Israel and for the security of the Israeli people. I also declare my support for a Palestinian state and for the security of the Palestinian people. We are missing an opportunity to lead people of the Middle East toward a secure and stable future together. Our [current] policy is undefined, amorphous, without borders, and without limits. [We should] acknowledge the pain and suffering of the people of Israel [and also] the pain and suffering of the Palestinians.
Source: Campaign website, www.Kucinich.us, "On The Issues" Aug 1, 2003

War in Iraq was wrong, and isolated the US

The war in Iraq was wrong. The Administration led America into a war based on false pretenses. There is no credible evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction -- weapons that, according to the Administration, posed an immediate and imminent threat to our nation and our allies, and could not be eliminated through international weapons inspectors. The Administration has isolated the US from the international community and threatens to make our country less safe not more safe.
Source: Campaign website, www.Kucinich.us, "On The Issues" Aug 1, 2003

Establish a cabinet Department of Peace and Nonviolence

As President, I will repeal Bush's preemptive war doctrine. It is a centerpiece of my campaign. When Bush arrogates to himself the right to wage wars to "prevent" wars, as Bush has done, he opens the door to aggression against any nation, for practically
Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003

Question Bush's truthfulness on Iraq

Q: How will you demand the truth and an end to this conspiracy of deceit of Bush on the war?

A: I have been publicly questioning the truthfulness of Bush on Iraq day after day on the House floor, on national TV and on the campaign trail across the country. It is clear that Bush led this nation to war on the basis of a pretext. I believe this deception exceeds the magnitude of Watergate, and if driven home by the Democratic nominee, could defeat Bush and usher in a Democratic tidal wave.

Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003

No credible evidence for offensive against Iraq

There is no credible evidence linking Iraq with 9/11, with al Qaeda, or with the anthrax attacks. There is no credible evidence that Iraq has usable weapons of mass destruction, the ability to deliver those weapons, or the intention to do so. Though Iraq possessed and used such weapons years ago, they did so, quite sad to say, with the knowledge of, and sometimes with materials from, the US.

By the way, it's called the Department of Defense, not the Department of Offense. Unilateral action on the part of the US, or in partnership with Great Britain, would for the first time set our nation on the bloodstained path of aggressive war.

Source: Speech at UC-Berkeley, in Prayer for America, p. 58-59 Sep 14, 2002

America should not be the world's policeman

We should drop the self-defeating policy of regime change. Policies of aggression and assassination are not worthy of any nation with a democratic tradition.

The question isn't whether or not America has the military power for victory in Iraq. The question is whether we destroy something essential in this nation, by asserting that America has the right to do so anytime we well please.

American 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 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. America, with the international community, can help negotiate a resolution with Iraq which encompasses unfettered inspections, the end of sanctions, and the cessation of the regime-change policy.

Source: Speech in Baraboo WI, in Prayer for America, p. 47 Sep 7, 2002

We authorized a response to 9/11, not war without end

Let us pray that our country will stop this war. We licensed a response to those who helped bring the terror of September 11. But we the people and our elected representatives must reserve the right to measure the response, and to correct the response.
Source: Speech to the So. Cal. ADA, in Prayer for America, p. 15-16 Feb 17, 2002

Voted NO on authorizing military force in Iraq.

Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq: Passage of the joint resolution that would authorize President Bush to use the US military as he deems necessary and appropriate to defend U.S. national security against Iraq and enforce UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. It would be required that the president report to Congress, no later than 48 hours after using force, his determination that diplomatic options or other peaceful means would not guarantee US national security against Iraq or allow enforcement of UN resolutions and that using force is consistent with anti-terrorism efforts. The resolution would also give specific statutory authorization under the War Powers Resolution. Every 60 days the president would also be required to report to Congress on actions related to the resolution.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Hastert,R-IL; Bill HJRes114 ; vote number 2002-455 on Oct 10, 2002

Voted YES on disallowing the invasion of Kosovo.

Vote on an amendment to the "Kosovo and Southwest Asia Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act" which would prohibit the use of funds for any invasion of Yugoslavia with U.S. ground forces except in time of war.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 1664 ; vote number 1999-119 on May 6, 1999

Other candidates on War & Peace: Dennis Kucinich on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

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Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts