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Congressman calls for cutoff of Iraq funds

Mike Sheehan
Published: Wednesday November 15, 2006

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In an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, former presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called for an end to American financial support of the war effort in Iraq and for immediate troop withdrawal.

"We need to get out," said Kucinich, responding to a comment by a member of a conservative think tank. "And we need to get out through cutting off funds. Once we determine to cut off funds, the money is in the pipeline for an orderly withdrawal."

The congressmember elaborated, "Until you cut off funds, the administration is free to ... keep the troops there, as the President has stated again and again he's going to do. ... The White House is prepared to stay in Iraq through the end of its term."

Kucinich insisted that Democrats have to come up with a "new direction" for the Iraq quagmire. "And that new direction must be out. It has to be 'UN in, US out.'"

In the same interview, another former Democratic presidential candidate and senator, George McGovern, had this to say when asked about parallels between the situation in Iraq and the war in Vietnam, which was raging during McGovern's 1972 campaign for the White House against President Nixon:

Well, they were saying the same thing they’re saying about Iraq. We were told all during those long years when I and others were trying to terminate our military involvement in Vietnam, an intervention that the chief architects now say was a dreadful mistake. And they said that if we pulled out -- maybe it was a mistake to go in, but if we pulled out, there would be a slaughter of people in Vietnam of indescribable dimensions, that Ho Chi Minh and his people would just slaughter everybody in the country that disagreed with him. We also were told that the countries next door would start toppling into communism, if we left Vietnam. None of that happened. ... There was no great bloodbath inside Vietnam. The Vietnamese ... became our friends almost immediately after we took our army out of their country. They assisted us in trying to locate missing American soldiers. They were ready for diplomatic relations with us. We have no problem with Vietnam today. And, as a matter of fact, none of the countries next door toppled into communism. So, those were the scare tactics that were used to keep us in Vietnam for about 20 years. ... The President has said recently that maybe we have to stay until the year 2010. That's another four years, during which time we'll probably kill several thousand more American troops, and the terror now going on inside Iraq that began when we invaded the country will only get worse. No country, in the long term, wants a foreign army lodged in their country.

Additional excerpts from the interview, a full transcript of which is available here, follow...


AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Kucinich, your response to Joshua Muravchik of the American Enterprise Institute, that your plan to put money into the domestic economy, as opposed to Iraq, will just breed more terrorism?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: I think the American people responded a week ago. They asked for a new direction. They're fed up with a war that's based on lies. They're fed up with seeing our brave men and women die in a cause that was not correctly stated by the administration. They are fed up with having America separated from the world community. They're looking for a new vision, one that includes America as a nation among nations, not a nation against nations, one that takes the real power of our ingenuity and creativity to create alternative energy, so we don't pursue oil as a matter of national security, using the military to grab oil. Americans are looking for a new direction.

And what's happened with the gentleman who spoke earlier is they're trapped in this old thinking of us versus them, that dichotomized thinking which is a precursor of war. We're in the 21st century. War is not inevitable. Peace is inevitable, if you have the capacity to work with people, not to grab their natural resources, not to insist that they have to have the kind of government we have, but to find a way to cooperate.


REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: You’re sending the people to death based on lies. It's time to tell the truth! The American people want the truth.

JOSHUA MURAVCHIK: Congressman Kucinich, will you get off the stump speech and this sort of loaded politician --

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: The American people want the truth! Tell the truth, if you’re capable of it!