Standing with the Peace Protesters

by Rep Dennis Kucinich

On Saturday, thousands of American citizens gathered in Washington, DC to challenge the open-ended war the United States is now waging. They are right to do so, and the broader American public would do well to listen.

Congress authorized a police action to apprehend the conspirators behind the September 11 attack. Congress did not declare war because the President did not ask Congress to declare war. Yet, the Administration is conducting itself as if it were engaged in a declared war, sending military special operations forces to many new countries and ramping up defense spending. The Administration’s budget contains real, inflation-adjusted spending increases only for military spending. Non-military spending is projected to remain flat, and funding for many important programs is decreased, in spite of growing unmet needs. The list of national priorities from which the Administration has taken away federal funds includes education, housing for the elderly, health care, and transportation.

This war footing will ultimately make the world a more dangerous place. Already, the Administration has derailed efforts to negotiate the termination of North Korea’s missile program and undermined efforts by President Khatami and other pro-reform Iranians to moderate the policies of Islamic fundamentalists in Iran. The Administration’s unilateral intention to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, its abandonment of efforts to pass a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and its refusal to negotiate enforcement mechanisms for the Biological Weapons Convention will only compound this instability.

The protestors are also concerned about having civil liberties and basic rights undermined at home. The USA Patriot Act, which 65 of my colleagues and I opposed, allows widespread wiretapping and internet surveillance without judicial supervision. It also allows secret searches without a warrant and gives the Attorney General the power to determine what is and isn’t a domestic terrorist group. The law allows the U.S. government to imprison suspected terrorists for an indefinite period of time without due process or access to family members or lawyers. Last November, the President announced his intention to establish military tribunals as well. The Administration remains confused about extending internationally recognized treatment under the Geneva Convention.

The protestors’ central observation is that these actions will likely have the opposite effect of what is intended — U.S. efforts intended to quell international terrorism will provoke more of it. History is replete with the unintended and counterproductive consequences of U.S. action: the <U.S.-led> embargo of Iraq, which has led to the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians, has solidified Saddam Hussein’s hold on power. Our government secretly sponsored anti-Soviet fundamentalists in Afghanistan and this led to the rise of the Taliban and their harboring of Osama bin Laden.

The path to ending terrorism, whether by individuals, organizations or nation states, is a foreign or domestic policy based on social and economic justice – not corporate concerns. This is the hopeful premise of HR 2459, a bill to create a Department of Peace. This Cabinet-level Department would serve to promote nonviolence as an organizing principle in our society. We should treat others as we would want them to treat us. We should follow international law, if we want others to do so. We should practice non-violence and encourage non-violent conflict resolution whenever possible. We should stop supporting repressive regimes, if we want democracy to flourish.

But that is not the path the Administration has chosen. Those gathering in Washington, DC believe we cannot stop terrorism with an open-ended, permanent war. They believe the time has come for new thinking in meeting the challenges of terrorism. I believe they are right.

Dennis Kucinich represents the 10th congressional district of Ohio. He can be reached through his website.




 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
September 4-6, 2015
Louis Proyect
Migrating Through Hell: Quemada-Diez’s “La Jaula de Oro”
Charles R. Larson
Class and Colonialism in British Cairo
September 03, 2015
Sal Rodriguez
How California Prison Hunger Strikes Sparked Solitary Confinement Reforms
Lawrence Ware
Leave Michael Vick Alone: the Racism and Misogyny of Football Fans
Dave Lindorff
Is Obama the Worst President Ever?
Vijay Prashad
The Return of Social Democracy?
Ellen Brown
Quantitative Easing for People: Jeremy Corbyn’s Radical Proposal
Paul Craig Roberts
The Rise of the Inhumanes: Barron, Bybee, Yoo and Bradford
Binoy Kampmark
Inside Emailgate: Hillary’s Latest Problem
Lynn Holland
For the Love of Water: El Salvador’s Mining Ban
Geoff Dutton
Time for Some Anger Management
Jack Rasmus
The New Colonialism: Greece and Ukraine
Norman Pollack
American Jews and the Iran Accord: The Politics of Fear
John Grant
Sorting Through the Bullshit in America
David Macaray
The Unbearable Lightness of Treaties
Chad Nelson
Lessig Uses a Scalpel Where a Machete is Needed
September 02, 2015
Paul Street
Strange Words From St. Bernard and the Sandernistas
Jose Martinez
Houston, We Have a Problem: False Equivalencies on Police Violence
Henry Giroux
Global Capitalism and the Culture of Mad Violence
Ajamu Baraka
Making Black Lives Matter in Riohacha, Colombia
William Edstrom
Wall Street and the Military are Draining Americans High and Dry
David Altheide
The Media Syndrome Between a Glock and a GoPro
Yves Engler
Canada vs. Africa
Ron Jacobs
The League of Empire
Andrew Smolski
Democracy and Privatization in Neoliberal Mexico
Stephen Lendman
Gaza: a Socioeconomic Dead Zone
Norman Pollack
Obama, Flim-Flam Artist: Alaska Offshore Drilling
Binoy Kampmark
Australian Border Force Gore
Ruth Fowler
Ask Not: Lost in the Crowd with Amanda Palmer
Kim Nicolini
Remembering Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes
September 01, 2015
Mike Whitney
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
George Wuerthner
Myths of the Anthropocene Boosters: Truthout’s Misguided Attack on Wilderness and National Park Ideals
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
Jesse Jackson
Season of the Insurgents: From Trump to Sanders
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People