Dennis Kucinich asks: War or Peace?

There is a dangerous condition in Washington, DC where people in positions of influence and great power are, at this very moment, pushing this nation and the world to the brink of a nuclear catastrophe.

We did not arrive at crisis overnight but be sure we are at a moment of peril. Unless an enlightened citizenry on campuses, in town halls, in community centers, in places of work, play and worship, is aroused and demands our government step back from the brink, we may find the life of our nation, our own lives, and the lives of our loved ones, irrevocably changed.

I am not an alarmist, but after a long career in politics which began when I was a student here at Cleveland State University, I can tell you, if you pay attention, it is not difficult to see that we are in jeopardy.

As a member of Congress, immediately after 9/11, I went to the floor of the House of Representatives and warned that the US should not lash out.

While we have a right to defend our nation and had a right to strike the Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, we had no right to invade and occupy that country. We had no right to invade and occupy Iraq. We had no right to attack Libya.

We have no right to attack North Korea, Syria, Iran, Russia, China or any other nation state. International law, the UN charter and numerous other conventions make aggressive war illegal.

Unilateralism, preemption, first strike are the desperate doctrines of ideologues, not the vanguard of democratic society.

On October 2, 2002, I presented Congress with an analysis of George Bush’s call for war against Iraq. I pointed out that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, with Al Qaeda’s role in 9/11.

Iraq had neither the intention nor the capability to attack the US. There was no proof Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction. Iraq was not a threat to the US. My analysis was guided by my own inquiry and common sense.

We all know what followed. The US launched a “shock and awe” attack on Iraq to accomplish regime change. What resulted is the destabilization of the region.

The power vacuum created by the US invasion has been filled by Al Qaeda, and later ISIS. Over one million innocent Iraqis died as a result. The death toll continues.

The cost of the war to the country of Iraq may approach a trillion dollars. According to Linda Bilmes, a public policy professor at Harvard, the long-term cost of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for the US will approach $6 trillion.

The loss of our nation’s young, our future, those who serve in the military, during both conflicts approaches 7,500, a figure which approximates 43 percent of this student body.

I was personally riveted by the lies which took us to war. I went to Congress in 1997 to create jobs, health care for all, education for all, to stand for a clean environment. When I saw the dark clouds of unnecessary war descending upon our nation like a shroud, I understood the disaster ahead for Iraqis and Americans alike. I took to the floor of Congress, day after…

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