CLEVELAND — Rep. Dennis Kucinich called on the peace movement to bring a million people to Washington to back legislation to end funding the Iraq war.
Speaking to hundreds of cheering delegates at the U.S. Labor Against the War conference here Dec. 2, the Cleveland congressman charged that President Bush and the Iraq Study Group seek to thwart the will of the American people as expressed in the Nov. 7 elections.
“2006 was about getting out of Iraq,” Kucinich said. “The opposition to this war is very deep. The American people created the political sea change to take back the House and Senate. But Bush has no intention to get out or change his policies and the Iraq Study Group is window dressing that is trying to buy time.”
Proof of Bush’s intentions, Kucinich said, is his request for an additional $130 billion earmarked for the war in 2007. This is more than the $117 billion allocated in 2006. In addition, Congress allocated $70 billion in September to bridge 2007 war costs until the new budget is approved next June.
“But Congress is a coequal branch of government,” he said, “and Congress has the power to end the war.”
So long as it provides funds, Kucinich said, courts have ruled that, even without any formal endorsement, Congress is giving “implied consent” to the war policy.
Some will continue to claim they oppose the war, even after voting to fund it and the situation will continue indefinitely, he said.
“We must cut the funds and here’s the answer to anyone who says we would be endangering our troops. Tell them the $70 billion appropriated in September is more than enough to bring them home safely now.”
“This year we can change things,” Kucinich said, “but we need your help.” Congressman James McGovern’s bill to cut the war funding will be reintroduced, he said. “It will be springtime for the peace movement. We need to bring a million people to Washington on the eve of that vote. We must demand an end to war.”
Kucinich’s speech was repeatedly interrupted by standing ovations.