Dennis Kucinich on War & Peace
Democratic Representative (OH-10); Democratic Candidate for President
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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George W. Bush
Third Party Candidates:
Carol Moseley Braun
|Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts|