On Friday night, Congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) visited the National Conference for Media Reform and issued an open call to citizens to educate him about issues that the new Domestic Policy Subcommittee, which Kucinich is likely to chair, should address in this session of Congress. The subcommittee, Kucinich says, “will be able to consider any domestic issue at all”—not only media reform but also predatory lending, job creation, labor law, work-life balance, health insurance, prison policy…. Visit the congressman’s website for details on how to participate.
Kucinich also answered attendees’ questions about the plans of the 110th Congress, especially with regard to the occupation of Iraq. A January 11 CCN poll posted on pollingreport.com shows that 54% of Americans want the United States to withdraw all of our troops before January 2008 (another 31% want them out regardless of timeframe. And we have the power to make it happen, Kucinich says. How?
“Call your representatives and tell them to vote against further funding for the war in Iraq.”
Kucinich would then ask Congress to appropriate separate money to fund troop withdrawal only.
The Jan 11 CNN poll reports that 54% of Americans back Kucinich’s recommendation.
And it looks like a vigorous calling campaign might do the trick. Zachary Coile of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the some other congressional Dems are taking the idea seriously.
Kucinich urges our action with the warning that this is our only chance to force troop withdrawal before Bush leaves office. “If they appropriate those funds, there wil be no withdrawal until Bush is out of office.”
Kucinich knows whereof he speaks. In April 1999, he and sixteen other representatives filed suit against then-President Bill Clinton for unconstitutionally waging war in Yugoslavia without the permission of Congress. Although Congress had voted against deploying ground troops to supplement Clinton’s bombing campaign and against declaring war, it later appropriated more than twice as much money as Clinton had requested to support the operation. As Jake Tapper reported on Salon.com, then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) “explained this as a way to support our troops, while not necessarily supporting the policy that put them there.”
Would-be patriotic Democratic representatives beware Armey’s mistake. U.S. District Court Judge Harold H. Greene, who heard Kucinich et al’s lawsuit, disagreed—he ruled in Clinton’s favor, saying that Congress’s approval of the funds implied its approval of the action.
And, as always, it always bears pointing out, as the National Priorities Project does, that there are many better things we could spend Bush’s war money on than the pointless destruction of another country.
Kucinich also defended his ongoing opposition to impeaching Bush, saying that, despite the clear evidence of crime and despite the fact that Iraq contributed greatly to the Democrats’ November victory, impeachment is not politically viable, but rather counterproductive to ending the war. Kucinich said, “If we move that to the front of the agenda, the whole effort to bring the troops home will be lost. Bush will react by accelerating deployments.”
Kucinich failed to answer additional questions as to why he has publicly opposed impeachment since 2002.