Dennis Kucinich on War & Peace

Democratic Representative (OH-10)


I was right the first time; now no evidence of nukes in Iran

Q: Do you agree with the president’s assessment that Iran still poses a threat?

A: Unfortunately, the president, just as he was able to convince some of my colleagues here to vote for the war against Iraq, despite the fact there wasn’t any real evidence, so he has been able to get some of my colleagues here--Senators Clinton, Obama and Edwards--to say of Iran “all options are on the table.” My candidacy offers the American people someone for president who was right the first time.

Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic debate , Dec 13, 2007

US role: security for Israel and a state for Palestine

Q: How would you, as president, answer the complaint that the US, in its support of Israel, is so pro-Israeli, it can’t be an evenhanded, honest broker of matters and is anti-Muslim?

A: We need to reach out to Muslim nations and to tell them America’s taking a different direction--no more unilateralism, preemption, first strike. Our policy will be strength through peace. As the one up here who not only voted against, but voted 100 percent of the time against funding the war in Iraq, the war in Iraq was used to create a wedge between the United States and Islam. We need to protect and provide for the security of Israel and to make sure that the Palestinians can have a state, and it has to be done under circumstances where the security of all parties, and the civil rights and human rights of all parties, are protected.

Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic debate , Dec 13, 2007

There’s no basis for an Iran military resolution

We need to adamantly reject any kind of a move toward war with Iran. There’s no basis for it whatsoever. We have a number of enablers who happen to be Democrats who have said over the last year, with respect to Iran, all options are on the table. When you say all options are on the table, you are licensing Bush. I’m the only one up here on the stage who not only voted against the war in Iraq, voted against funding the war, but also led the effort against Bush’s drive toward war.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

Impeach Bush for violating international law on preemption

The problem is: These policies of preemption license a war. Preemption, by virtue of international law, is illegal. Bush has already violated international law. The war in Iraq is illegal. Even planning for the war against Iran is illegal. We’re here in Philadelphia, the birthplace of democracy. I want to know when this democratic Congress is going to stand up for the Constitution and hold the president accountable with Article II, Section 4, an impeachment act. Our democracy is in peril.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

The war against Iraq was about oil

Everyone knows that the war against Iraq was about oil. The Bush administration was trying to gain control of Iraq’s oil, with the help of Congress. It’s time we had a president who stood for the Constitution and international law. That’s exactly what I’ll do. Everyone knows that the saber-rattling against Iran is driving up the price of oil. We have to stop the war in Iraq, bring our troops home, end the occupation, and have an international security and peacekeeping force move in as our troops leave
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

Urge Iran to let go nuclear and abolish nuclear in the US

We don’t want to be put in a position where we are taking this country to the threshold of war. The media did play a role in taking us into war in Iraq. I’m urging members of the media restraint upon you & our president, whose rhetoric is out of control. I would go to Iran and urge Iran not just to not have nuclear weapons, but also nuclear power because it is the most expensive type of power there is. It is not a sustainable type of power because of the costs of it. It is unsafe. I would also do something further. It is time that the US government enforced and participated in fully the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which calls for the abolition of all nuclear weapons. We must have a president who understands the danger of these nuclear weapons and have the US lead the way among all nations towards nuclear abolition. When we do that, we will have the credibility to go to an Iran and any other nation that may have desires for nuclear power to say, “Look, we want to take it in another direction.”
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

All troops out well before 2013, with no partition

Q: Gen. Petraeus and Pres. Bush indicated that in January 2009, there will be 100,000 troops in Iraq. You’ve heard three opponents say they can’t bring home all the troops by 2013. What do you do?

A: To me, it is fairly astonishing to have Democrats, who took back power in the Congress in 2006, to stand on this stage and tell the American people that this war will continue to 2013 and perhaps past that. We can get out of there three months after the new president takes office, if one is determined to do that. And I want to make it clear that my plan includes closing the bases, bringing the troops home, setting in motion a program of reconciliation, not partition, between the Sunnis, the Shi’ites and the Kurds, having an honest reconstruction program, having a program of reparations, and giving the people of Iraq full control over their oil, which currently most of the people on this stage have said should be privatized. If we’re really going to have peace, no partition, let them--let them unite.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College , Sep 26, 2007

US army has civilian leadership; it’s not Patraeus’ decision

Q: Gen. Petraeus has made his statement to Congress. The president will apparently support him. What can Congress do?

A: Well, are we forgetting something here? I mean, do we still have civilian leadership in the United States or have we torn that page out of our Constitution as well? The founders made it very clear that Congress under Article 1, Section 8 has the power of war. And Congress also has the power of the purse. Congress must tell the president now, “The war is over. Bring the troops home. Bring the equipment home. Force those mercenaries to come home.“ I mean, Congress has the power, and they can take action now. We can [vote to] not fund this war.

Q: Why hasn’t Congress done it so far?

A: Congress is afraid to take on this president. We engage in all of these phony debates about the war. It does not take another vote. It simply is for the leadership of the House to tell the president, ”We’re not going to give you any money. Start bringing those troops home now.“

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate , Sep 13, 2007

Congress has the Constitutional power to end the war

Q: If the Congress doesn’t have the votes to defund the war, what is the strategy that you would have in Iraq after the surge ends?

A: First of all, you don’t need votes to end this war. The leadership has to tell the president, “No more money.” But here’s my strategy. It’s a strategy that I articulated over four years ago. The Congress tells the president, “No more money for the war,” and that we have to go out and end the war, end the occupation, have a plan to bring the troops home with a parallel process simultaneously, an international peace-keeping and security force that moves in as our troops leave. That way, Iraq’s stable. But in addition to that, stop the privatization of Iraq’s oil. This is a prescription to keep the war going. No partition of Iraq. We have to have a program for honest reconstruction, for a chance for reconciliation between the Shiites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds, and also for reparations to the Iraq people.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate , Sep 13, 2007

Assassination is extrajudicial killing; not even Osama

Q: You said on my show you would not give the order to assassinate Osama Bin Laden.

A: Our Constitution has been trashed by this administration. Former President Gerald Ford understood there are dangers when you use assassination as a tool. Assassination is really what’s called an extrajudicial killing. Look at the entire way this administration has changed our Constitution and what America’s values are. Extrajudicial killings are now licensed. Abu Ghraib, tortures--licensed. Guantanamo--people are not permitted to have a right to a trial. Habeas corpus has been trashed. You’re looking at the one person who really understands what this document, the Constitution, is all about. I want equal justice. I want Osama Bin Laden brought to justice. Now, if he resists in an attempt to arrest him, you know, whatever happens, happens. But I think that we as a country need to reinstate this Constitution. This is the basis of our strength.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate , Sep 13, 2007

Iraq plan: Reconstruction, rehabilitation, & reconciliation

Q: 2 out of 3 Hispanics believe that the US should withdraw from Iraq. Under what circumstances would you consider the mission accomplished so that our troops could return?

A: Our troops need to be brought home now, and I have submitted a plan to do just that. Remember, I’m the only one on this stage who actually voted against the war and who voted 100% of the time against funding the war and who presented a plan four years ago to get out of Iraq. Here’s the plan:

  1. We have to end the occupation, bring the troops home, bring the contractors home.
  2. We have to have a simultaneous plan where we reach out to the nations, like Syria and Iran, to form a multinational international peacekeeping force that moves in as our troops leave so there’s no vacuum.
  3. And also, we have to have a program of reconstruction and rehabilitation and reconciliation, and we have to stop trying to steal Iraq’s oil.
Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on Univision in Spanish , Sep 9, 2007

Biden Plan splits up Iraq

Q: The Biden Plan, which got 75 votes, splits up Iraq....

BIDEN: What we voted on was not partition. I don’t want anybody thinking it was partition. And it’s the only time we got 26 Republicans to reject the president’s plan.

KUCINICH: You’re splitting Iraq up. That’s what it does.

BIDEN: No, it’s not.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College , Sep 6, 2007

Use $97 billion of Iraq funding to bring troops home

We need to get out of Iraq and get out of Iraq now, and I have a plan to do just that. The Democratic Congress has the ability to tell President Bush, you got $97 billion six weeks ago; use that money to bring the troops home and set in motion an international security and peacekeeping force that would stabilize Iraq. I’m the only one here on the stage who had the vision and the foresight to not only vote against the war but also vote against funding for the war.
Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum , Aug 8, 2007

November 2006 election meant Dems promised to exit Iraq

Q: What have you and your Democratic colleagues in Congress changed since the midterm elections last fall?

A: First of all, you know, my position is to try to lead the Democrats. And so I have a bill to get us out of Iraq; I’m lobbying members of Congress for that. I, frankly, believe that the Democratic Congress took a major responsibility in November of 2006 to get out of Iraq. They haven’t kept that promise yet, and I’m working all the time to try to get the Democrats to keep that promise to bring our troops home. I’ve been there for every single piece of legislation--health care, retirement security, jobs--and I’m going to be there to keep pushing the envelope to get us out of Iraq, and we shouldn’t have to wait for a Democratic president to do it. The Democratic Congress needs to act now.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum , Aug 8, 2007

Strength through peace: pursue science of human relations

Q: What do you have that Sen. Clinton & Sen. Obama do not have?

KUCINICH: First of all, a clear record as having not only opposed the war from the very beginning--the only one of the stage that actually voted against the war, and also the only one on the stage who voted against funding the war 100% of the time. And so I say we achieve strength through peace. That’s the new doctrine that I’m going to promote throughout this campaign; that we’ll use the science of human relations and diplomacy; that we pursue an approach which says that you can use international agreements and treaties; and that you can work to settle your differences without committing the young men and women to war, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

CLINTON: The issue is: Which of us is ready to lead on day one? I have 35 years of being an instrument and agent of change.

OBAMA: We don’t just need a change in political parties in Washington. We’ve got to have a change in attitudes of those who are representing the people.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC , Jul 23, 2007

Democrats have failed the American people by not ending war

Q: The 2006 election gave the Democrats in office a mandate to end the US occupation of Iraq. Is the reason why we are still in Iraq and seemingly will be for some time due to the Democrats’ fear that blame for the loss of the war will be placed on them by the Republican spin machine?

A: Yes, it is politics. The Democrats have failed the American people. When we took over in January, the American people didn’t expect us to give them a Democratic version of the war. They expected us to act quickly to end the war. And here’s how we can do it. It doesn’t take legislation. That’s a phony excuse to say that you don’t have the votes. We appropriated $97 billion a month ago. We should tell President Bush, no more funds for the war, use that money to bring the troops home, use it to bring the troops home. If people want to send that message to Congress, they can text “Peace,” 73223.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC , Jul 23, 2007

Same thinking that took us into Iraq will take us into Iran

This war in Iraq and the thinking that brought the war in Iraq is so wrong, we have to bring those troops home. We have to end the occupation. We have to get those crooked contractors out of Iraq. We’ve got to stabilize Iraq with an international security and peacekeeping force. We’ve got to realize, as Dr. King said many years ago, when speaking of Vietnam, that the hopes of people of two countries were being destroyed by that war. We have to see the connection between global warring and global warming. It’s about oil. We all know that’s what that war was about. Am I right?

This administration is preparing a ground war for an attack on Iran right now. The same kind of thinking that took us into Iraq will take us into Iran. I’m talking about a shift in thinking here. I’m talking about a shift in policy. To end war is an instrument of policy, to seek the security of this nation through peace.

Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum , Jul 12, 2007

Path to peace runs right through Jerusalem

We need to have an initiative not only to go to Syria and Iran to help us put together an international peacekeeping force that would move in as our troops leave, but we need to go to all the nations of the region to create a design for peace in the region.

I believe that the path to peace runs right through Jerusalem, and it’s time a president had the ability to approach things in the Middle East with an even hand, with an understanding of the suffering of the Palestinians and of the desire of the Israelis for dealing with the existential threat.

We need a president who understands that peace in the Middle East requires this even-handed approach. We need a president who has compassion for both sides, who has the understanding that a healing hand is needed.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference , Jun 20, 2007

The Iraq war has been based on lies

I honor the people who served. We all owe them a debt of gratitude, but those who sent those soldiers were wrong. They should have never been sent there in the first place. This war has been based on lies, and we could have a productive evening if all of my colleagues would commit to telling the Democratic leadership not even to offer a funding bill because that’s really the way to end the war, Just say no money, the war’s over. You want to end it, bring them home, stop the funding.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

Democrats were elected to end the war

This is where Clinton says well this is Bush’s war. Oh no. There’s a teachable moment here, and a teachable moment is that this war belongs to the Democratic party because the Democrats were put in charge by the people in the last election with the thought that they were going to end the war. Well, they haven’t. They have to stop the funding. And I certainly am urging all of my colleagues here, don’t give them any more money. The money’s in the pipeline right now, enough to bring the troops home.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

End the Iraq occupation & use the military for peacekeeping

This country has to end its occupation of Iraq. We should simply not provide any bill at all, and not to even offer a bill & tell Bush he had some money in the pipeline to bring the troops home. With respect to this war, this war has degraded our service ability. We need to have, certainly, a strong Army, but peace is the way we reflect our strength. So I want to see an American military that will be a strong peacekeeping force, not one that is being misused, like the one in the Bush administration.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

Use Iraq funding only to bring the troops home

Q: You want to stop funding this war in Iraq. You don’t want additional funds to be appropriated. Is that right?

A: Well, the money’s there right now to bring the troops home. And I think that, given a choice between using the money to bring the troops home or using the money to continue the war, I think the American people want a process to begin that will bring our troops home. And then we need to announce we’re going to close those bases. And at that point, we can begin a political process.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jan 7, 2007

Best way to support the troops is to bring them home

Q: Where do you stand on this notion that if you cut the funds for the war you’re going to, in the end, hurt the US troops?

A: Well, first of all, we all support our troops. And I believe the best way to support the troops is to bring them home. There’s money there, right now, we can use to start the process of bringing our troops home, and to start the process of bringing in an international security force. But we have to make a determination that we’re not going to let this war continue.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jan 7, 2007

Bush’s Iraq plan failed because it was predicated on lies

Q: Bush and his supporters are suggesting you want to just cut and run and admit failure.

A: Well, the president’s trapped by his policy, and we need to help the president. There are Democrats & Republicans alike who are uniting around an alternative. And that’s why I’m bringing an alternative forward. I’m saying what many generals are saying. There’s no military solution. Now, if there’s no military solution, why in the world would we want to leave our troops there? We need to begin a political solution. That political solution starts when we determine that we’re going to withdraw, that we’re going to end the occupation, that we’re going to close the bases, that we’re going to let the Iraqis handle their own oil assets, not try to privatize oil So the president has had four years for his policies to work. They haven’t. They’ve shown to be a failure. Unfortunately, they’re predicated on lies. So let’s rescue not only this president but our nation and the world from these failed policies.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jan 7, 2007

Stop building Israeli wall; start rebuilding infrastructure

Q: How are you going to end the Israel-Palestine conflict?

A: It is urgent for the US to become closely involved in the efforts to reach a peaceful agreement which protects Israel and which provides for the creation of an autonomous Palestinian state. Additionally, such an agreement must call for the rebuilding of the Palestinian areas which have been devastated. The US can help to lead the way in such an agreement by participating in rebuilding housing, schools, hospitals, businesses, roads and other infrastructure. Such agreements would engender trust and confidence building and create the possibility where the parties can then deal with the issues of borders and right of return. I believe the government of Israel can help take a step in the direction of setting the stage for negotiations by stopping the building of new settlements and by ceasing in the building of walls.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A , Nov 4, 2003

Barred from CIA briefing, but considers them misleading

Q: You have been consistent in your opposition to war, but you refused to sign the intelligence nondisclosure form, which means you are not allowed to see all the information collected by the CIA and FBI. How can you oppose something you do not know?

KUCINICH: I knew enough not to vote for the war without having to sit in on briefings that were phony. Those briefings are designed to mislead members of Congress, so I thought I’d work on things that were more important. I’ve presented an exit strategy to get the UN in and the US out of Iraq. That involves three points:

  1. To have the UN handle oil with no privatization.
  2. To have the UN handle contracts with no war profiteering.
  3. To have the UN handle new governance in Iraq until the Iraqi people can be self-determining.
Source: Democratic Presidential 2004 Primary Debate in Detroit , Oct 27, 2003

Supports Palestinian security and Israeli security

I declare my support for the State of Israel and for the security of the Israeli people. I also declare my support for a Palestinian state and for the security of the Palestinian people. We are missing an opportunity to lead people of the Middle East toward a secure and stable future together. Our [current] policy is undefined, amorphous, without borders, and without limits. [We should] acknowledge the pain and suffering of the people of Israel [and also] the pain and suffering of the Palestinians.
Source: 2004 House campaign website, Kucinich.us, “On The Issues” , Aug 1, 2003

Establish a cabinet Department of Peace and Nonviolence

As President, I will repeal Bush’s preemptive war doctrine. It is a centerpiece of my campaign. When Bush arrogates to himself the right to wage wars to “prevent” wars, as Bush has done, he opens the door to aggression against any nation, for practically
Source: MoveOn.org interview , Jun 17, 2003

America should not be the world’s policeman

We should drop the self-defeating policy of regime change. Policies of aggression and assassination are not worthy of any nation with a democratic tradition.

The question isn’t whether or not America has the military power for victory in Iraq. The question is whether we destroy something essential in this nation, by asserting that America has the right to do so anytime we well please.

American cannot and should not be the world’s policeman. America cannot and should not try to pick the leaders of other nations. Nor should America and the American people be pressed into service of international oil interests and arms dealers.

We must work to bring Iraq back into the community of nations, not through destruction, but through constructive action worldwide. America, with the international community, can help negotiate a resolution with Iraq which encompasses unfettered inspections, the end of sanctions, and the cessation of the regime-change policy.

Source: Speech in Baraboo WI, in Prayer for America, p. 47 , Sep 7, 2002

Dennis Kucinich on Iraq War

The surge strategy is fueling the insurgency

Q: Is Petraeus correct when he says that the troop increase is bringing security to Iraq?

A: No. The occupation is fueling the insurgency. In 2003, I put forth a plan to get out of Iraq. I’m actually the only one on this stage who voted against the war & the funding the war 100% of the time, and has a plan to bring the troops home. They should be brought home now. And let me tell you something, the Democrats in Congress have not done the right thing for the American people. They should tell Bush that we’re not going to give you another dime. We’re not putting a bill on the floor. When you talked about Pakistan, you cannot look at Pakistan & the destabilization that is occurring in many Muslim nations without understanding the role that our aggression against Iraq has played in contributing to that destabilization. I am speaking about a new policy of strength through peace, no more unilateralism, no more preemption, no more first-strike, open-dialogue diplomacy, and adherence to international law.

Source: 2007 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada , Nov 15, 2007

FactCheck: $2 trillion for Iraq? High, but accurate estimate

Kucinich used a figure on the high side when estimating the eventual cost of the Iraq war. Kucinich said, “[The US] will spend anywhere from $1 trillion to $2 trillion on this war.”

There’s some support for Kucinich’s figure. It depends on how long the war continues and what one counts as a cost. The Iraq war already has cost $448 billion, counting emergency appropriations. If current Pentagon requests are approved, the cost for Iraq will reach $564 billion. And depending on how soon and how quickly troops can be withdrawn from Iraq, total funding for Iraq & the GWOT [Global War on Terror] could reach from about $980 billion to $1.4 trillion by 2017. So far 74% of GWOT spending has been for the war in Iraq.

Other studies put Iraq costs even higher Kucinich may have been referring to a Feb. 2006 report [which] estimated that the total cost of the war in Iraq could range from $1 trillion to $2 trillion, including such things as higher fuel prices and future health care costs for wounded soldiers.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard U. , Jun 28, 2007

We’re in Iraq for oil & looking at attacking Iran for oil

KUCINICH: You previously said that all options are on the table with respect to Iran. The real meaning of that, is that you’re setting the stage for another war. I think it’s important that we move away from global warming and global warring. And the connection is oil. We’re in Iraq for oil. We’re looking at attacking Iran for oil. And until we change our international policies, which quit using war as an instrument of policy and change our energy policies we will continue to repeat this sorry cycle.

OBAMA: I think it would be a profound mistake for us to initiate a war with Iran. But, have no doubt, Iran possessing nuclear weapons will be a major threat to us and to the region. They’re in the process of developing it. And I don’t think that’s disputed by any expert. They are the largest state sponsor of terrorism, of Hezbollah and Hamas.

KUCINICH: It is disputed.

OBAMA: It is important for us to recognize that nuclear proliferators are a profound security threat for America.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC , Apr 26, 2007

FactCheck: Iraqi oil production has fallen during war

In Iraq for Oil? Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio repeated once again the claim that “we’re in Iraq for oil,” something always denied by the Bush administration and hardly supported by the record. In only one month since the invasion has Iraqi oil production risen above its pre-war levels, and production today still lags far behind pre-war output, according to the Brookings Iraq Index. If the U.S. really went in for oil, it has so far gotten less, not more.
Source: FactCheck on 2007 South Carolina Democratic debate , Apr 26, 2007

Insurgency in Iraq is being fueled by US occupation

Q: What is the best and fastest way to end the war in Iraq?

A: The best and fastest way to end the war in Iraq is to adopt my plan which is embodied in H.R. 1234. It’s a plan to end the war in Iraq and it begins with an understanding that the insurgency in Iraq is being fueled by the United States occupation, and that once the US declares its intentions to withdraw US troops and close military bases, that’s the point at which we can engage the world community.

Source: Virtual Town Hall on Iraq, sponsored by MoveOn.org , Apr 10, 2007

New direction in Iraq, and that direction is out

We need to take a new direction in Iraq, and that direction is out. If you would look back at the history of this engagement, you’ll see that I was the one who stood up in Congress and warned not to go to Iraq. You’ll see that I did an extensive analysis back in October 2002 which proved chapter and verse that the President had no right to take this country to war.

I’ve shown the wisdom and the judgment and the clarity right from the start about not going to war, about voting against each and every appropriation for the war, which as we know, keeps the war going, and having a plan for peace, not only having a plan for peace with Iraq, but having a plan for peace with Iran, of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I’m not just the peace candidate, but I’m the person who’s demonstrated the practical understanding of the necessity of working for peace at all times, and that’s what my plan, H.R. 1234, accomplishes.

Source: Virtual Town Hall on Iraq, sponsored by MoveOn.org , Apr 10, 2007

Bring in UN troops, and pay reparations to Iraq

My Iraq plan in H.R. 1234 includes: stop the funding and the occupation, withdraw the troops as you close the bases, create a parallel process which involves the United Nations, move peace-keeping troops in, as our troops leave, and have the simultaneous return of all US contractors.

We should be providing funding for that UN mission, at least 50% of the troops should come from Muslim nations, and should remain there until the Iraq government is capable of having its own security. We have to have a program of reconciliation between the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds. the US occupation prevents that from happening. We should not partition Iraq.

We need a program of reparations. The Iraqi people have had enormous destruction to their lives, to their property, and the US has a moral obligation to repair that bridge. We need to have a serious reparation program that addresses the fact that perhaps as many as a million innocent civilians have been killed.

Source: Virtual Town Hall on Iraq, sponsored by MoveOn.org , Apr 10, 2007

Cut off the funds; end the occupation of Iraq

Q: Sen. Biden’s question is: What next?

A: I’ve had this plan, in legislative form, and that is, it’s time to end the occupation. Congress must cut off the funds. The administration must be told no more money. There’s money there to bring the troops home for sure. But when you cut off the funds, you go to the world community, you say, “Look, we know the occupation’s been fueling the insurgency. We’re going to close the bases, end the occupation, bring our troops home,” and once you do that, the international community will be prepared to have a peacekeeping and security force move in.

I’ve talked to people at the UN, people who have worked on international security and peacekeeping missions and military experts about this and they agree -- end the occupation. That’s the first step, but it’s not enough. You have to have a program for reconciliation between the Shi’ites, the Kurds, and the Sunnis. The U.S. occupation will not permit that to happen. We have to have honest reconstruction.

Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada , Feb 21, 2007

Reparations to Iraq for 650,000 innocent civilians killed

We have to make sure that there’s a program for reparations. Over 650,000 innocent civilians have died. Our moral standing in the world is at risk here, and we have to have a plan that includes reparations. We have to do more than that. We have to stop trying to steal the oil that belongs to the people of Iraq.

What was the biggest reason we went to Iraq? Oil! Most American people are aware that if Iraq had not had oil, highly unlikely we would have gone in there. And the reason right now why privatization is on the table is because the Bush administration is doing everything it can to stay in Iraq so they can use their resources & influence to effect the privatization of oil. And it’s wrong. We need to make sure the Iraqi people control thei oil and stop any efforts to try to change their national laws.

And we have to have a reconciliation program between Iraqis and the American people because we did real harm to the people there. They had no quarrel with us. Our occupation is illegal.

Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada , Feb 21, 2007

International Cooperation: US out of Iraq, UN in

International Cooperation: US out of Iraq, UN in: America must return to its role as the most admired--not hated--nation. The doctrine of “pre-emption” must be retired, as well as the current aggressive, unilateralist foreign policy that makes our homeland less secure, not more. Our security will be enhanced by working with other nations and the UN instead of acting like an Empire.

I continue to work to implement two measures I sponsored in Congress: the Space Preservation Treaty, which bans space-based weapons, and a cabinet-level Department of Peace, to establish nonviolence as an organizing principle in both domestic and international affairs.

We must cut bloated and unneeded weaponry from a military budget that now almost equals the military spending of all other countries combined. The resulting peace dividend can then be invested in other pressing domestic needs.

Source: 2006 House campaign website, www.kucinich.us , Nov 7, 2006

Democratic Party is divided over the war in Iraq

Q: Is your party divided over the war?

KUCINICH: Of course it is. I took the position of organizing 126 Democrats who voted against the Iraq war resolution, and I happen to think it was the right position. Today we’re faced with over 500 casualties, a cost of over $200 billion. And it could rise-the casualties could go into thousands and the cost could go over half a trillion-if we stay there for years, as a number of people on this stage intend to see happen.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College , Jan 22, 2004

Disavowing Iraqi oil creates entirely different direction

Q: You’ve said that within 90 days, you’ll remove American troops from Iraq, and seek a UN force to replace them. What if there’s no cooperation from the UN? Do you leave Iraq anyway?

KUCINICH: No. The plan is predicated on the UN being presented with an entirely different direction: that the US would disavow any interest in the oil. Ask the UN to handle the oil assets of Iraq on behalf of the Iraqi people, until the Iraqi people are self-governing. Ask the UN to handle the contracts until the Iraqi people are self-governing. The US should renounce any interest in privatization of the Iraq economy. And we should ask the UN to help construct a cause of governance in Iraq with a new constitution and elections. [In addition, my plan would] fund a UN peacekeeping mission; provide repairs for what we destroyed in Iraq; reparations for the families of innocent civilian noncombatants. That would enable the US to go to the UN and 90 days later, we’ll have our troops home.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College , Jan 22, 2004

90 days to bring US troops home and rotate the UN troops in

Q: Does anyone have a time frame for when the US troops can be pulled out?

A: The resolution that I talked about, going to the UN with a totally different approach -- from the time the UN approves that, 90 days later we can bring our troops home, rotate the UN troops in and bring our troops home. The only difference between a rut and a grave is in the dimensions. We are not stuck there.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Presidential Debate in Durham NH , Dec 9, 2003

Let go of Iraqi oil and let the UN in

Q: Do we have to keep if not the same number, possibly even a greater number of US troops in Iraq for some extended time?

DEAN: I think we need to bring in foreign troops. You cannot expect the Iraqis to think that they have their own government if we’re appointing their people. We need an election. Over a period of a few years, until the Iraqis really are able to have a democracy which is strong enough not to allow Al Qaida to emerge and has a constitution that’s widely enough respected so they will not have a fundamentalist Shiite regime.

KUCINICH: The war is not over. We have 130,000 troops there. And the occupation equals a war. My plan calls for the end of the occupation, for the US to get out. Now, the UN will not cooperate unless the US takes a change of direction. And here’s the change of direction: The Bush administration must let go of its aspirations to control the oil in Iraq. They must hand over to the UN the handling of the oil, on a transitional basis.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Presidential Debate in Durham NH , Dec 9, 2003

Let the UN rebuild Iraq and develop its governance

Q: If American soldiers were immediately withdrawn, how would Iraq be rebuilt?

A: It is imperative that the USA get out of Iraq. It was wrong to go in. It is wrong to stay in. We must go to the United Nations with a new resolution which represents a shift in US policy, a resolution which signals that the US is ready to rejoin the world community in the cause of securing Iraq and in helping to create greater security across the globe. That resolution (on my website, www.kucinich.us) calls for the UN to handle all the oil assets of Iraq on behalf of the Iraqi people, without any privatization of oil assets. Next the UN would handle all the contracts in Iraq. No more sweetheart deals for Halliburton and no-bid contracts for political contributors. And the UN should be charged with developing new governance in Iraq so that the Iraqi people can move toward self-determination. My plan, if immediately brought to the UN would enable our troops to be home by the beginning of the New Year.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A , Nov 4, 2003

Have UN handle all Iraqi oil contracts

Q: In Sunday night’s speech the president said, “We have learned that terrorist attacks do not come from the use of strength, they come from the perception of weakness.” Do you agree?

KUCINICH: We have to understand that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, nor with Al Qaida’s attack, nor did they have anything to do with the anthrax attack. What we need to do now is to get the UN in and to get the US out. And the way to achieve that is to have the UN handle the collection and distribution to the Iraqi people of the oil revenues with no privatization, have the UN handle all the contracts, no more Halliburton sweetheart deals, and have the UN create the circumstances for rebuilding an Iraqi government. Nothing less than that will enable the US to get out of there and extricate ourselves.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate , Sep 9, 2003

End Bush’s blunder: Bring US troops home & bring UN in

Q: Should we expect the rest of the world to come to the aid of the US in Iraq?

KUCINICH: It is time to bring the troops home, it is time to bring the UN in and get the US out. The United States can move away from Bush’s blunder, which Iraq will be known as, because there was no reason to go war with Iraq in the first place. And everyone who took the responsibility on this stage has to answer to the American people for voting for that war. I led the effort against it.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico , Sep 4, 2003

War in Iraq was wrong, and isolated the US

The war in Iraq was wrong. The Administration led America into a war based on false pretenses. There is no credible evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction -- weapons that, according to the Administration, posed an immediate and imminent threat to our nation and our allies, and could not be eliminated through international weapons inspectors. The Administration has isolated the US from the international community and threatens to make our country less safe not more safe.
Source: 2004 House campaign website, Kucinich.us, “On The Issues” , Aug 1, 2003

Question Bush’s truthfulness on Iraq

Q: How will you demand the truth and an end to this conspiracy of deceit of Bush on the war?

A: I have been publicly questioning the truthfulness of Bush on Iraq day after day on the House floor, on national TV and on the campaign trail across the country. It is clear that Bush led this nation to war on the basis of a pretext. I believe this deception exceeds the magnitude of Watergate, and if driven home by the Democratic nominee, could defeat Bush and usher in a Democratic tidal wave.

Source: MoveOn.org interview , Jun 17, 2003

No credible evidence for offensive against Iraq

There is no credible evidence linking Iraq with 9/11, with al Qaeda, or with the anthrax attacks. There is no credible evidence that Iraq has usable weapons of mass destruction, the ability to deliver those weapons, or the intention to do so. Though Iraq possessed and used such weapons years ago, they did so, quite sad to say, with the knowledge of, and sometimes with materials from, the US.

By the way, it’s called the Department of Defense, not the Department of Offense. Unilateral action on the part of the US, or in partnership with Great Britain, would for the first time set our nation on the bloodstained path of aggressive war.

Source: Speech at UC-Berkeley, in Prayer for America, p. 58-59 , Sep 14, 2002

Dennis Kucinich on Voting Record

One cannot be against Iraq war yet still fund it

Q: Do you think one can be against the war and yet still fund it?

A: No. I think it’s inconsistent to tell the American people that you oppose the war and, yet, you continue to vote to fund the war. Because every time you vote to fund the war, you’re reauthorizing the war all over again. My good friends here from the Senate just came back from Washington where they voted to continue funding the war. The Democrats have the power to end the war right now, and that’s what we should do. They were under no obligation to give George Bush any money at all. The money’s in the pipeline to bring the troops home. And that’s exactly what ought to be done, at this moment. I have a plan, H.R. 1234, a plan to end the war in Iraq, which calls on the international community to provide peacekeepers and security forces that will move in as our troops leave. But we can’t do that until we determine we’re going to end the occupation. And we will do that when we stop the funding.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC , Apr 26, 2007

Lack of info was no excuse for voting for Iraq war

Q: Sen. Edwards , you apologized for your vote for the Iraq war. Should others?

EDWARDS: Anyone who voted for this war has to search themselves and decide whether they believe they’ve voted the right way. If so, they can support their vote.

CLINTON: I take responsibility for my vote. Obviously, I did as good a job I could at the time. It was a sincere vote based on the information available to me. If I knew then what I now know, I would not have voted that way. But I think that the real question before us is: What do we do now?

KUCINICH: I don’t think that it’s sufficient to say that if we had the information at the beginning that we would have voted differently. That information was available to everyone. And, if you made the wrong choice, we’re auditioning here for president of the United States. People have to see who had the judgment and the wisdom not to go to war in the first place, and I made the choice not to go to war.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC , Apr 26, 2007

2003 war vote was audition for presidential decision-making

Q: You were anti-war before the anti-war position started surging in the polls. Why don’t you think you have more traction politically?

A: That may change when people understand not only that I opposed the war from the start, but I opposed the idea of using war as a matter of policy. I don’t think it reflects America’s greatness. I also think that this isn’t “American Idol” here. We’re choosing a president. And we have to look at the audition that occurred that in 2003, when my good friends were calle upon to make a decision and then made the wrong decision. Apologies aren’t enough, because we’ve had 3,333 Americans die, & perhaps as many as 650,000 innocent Iraqis. People are looking for a president who has the wisdom to make the right choices about America’s security and who also has the integrity to be able to take a stand that may be unpopular. When people see that this campaign comes from a place of the heart and wants to reconnect with the world, I think they’ll be ready to support it.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC , Apr 26, 2007

I voted against war because I saw no proof from Bush

It must be really tough for candidates for president to claim that they were tricked, deceived, misled by George Bush. Well, here’s one person who wasn’t. Now think about the consequences when you’re tricked, deceived or misled by George Bush -- because this becomes serious -- because we have 3,100 of our brave men and women who have died in this war. Over 650,000 innocent Iraqis have perished. Hundreds of billions of dollars spent on this war.

When someone wants to be president, they have to have the clarity of vision to be able to make the right decisions on life and death matters. I saw the same information that all these other candidates saw. I studied the same reports that they studied. I came to a different conclusion because everything I saw was there was no proof that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11 or had weapons of mass destruction. People are looking for a president who has the ability to do the right thing when it matters the most, and I’ve demonstrated that.

Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada , Feb 21, 2007

No on $87B for Iraq-bring the troops home before it’s $245B

Q: [Bush has asked for] $87 billion for the ongoing war on terrorism. Your vote, yes or no, and if no, what’s the message you would send to the troops who are there today?

KUCINICH: The message is now I will not vote for the $87 billion. We should support the troops and I think we best support them by bringing them home. Our troops are at peril there, because of this administration’s policy.

We were each provided with a security document that advised “don’t cut and run,” commit up to 150,000 troops for five years at a cost of up to $245 billion. A matter of fact, General Clark was one of the authors of that document that was released in July.

I led the effort in the House of Representatives challenging the Bush administration’s march toward war. I say bring the troops home unequivocally. Bring them home and stop this commitment for $87 billion, which is only going to get us in deeper. Bring them home.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

$87B to “protect troops” is cynical; end the war

Q: Will you vote yes or no on the president’s request for $87 billion to continue the effort in Iraq?

KUCINICH: I am going to vote no because I believe the best way to protect our troops is to bring them home. The UN in and the US out.

Q: What about protecting the troops?

KUCINICH: We’ll be there forever unless we challenge this thinking where the administration cynically uses our troops to pursue a war that was unjust. What we need to do is vote no, bring the UN in and get the US out. End the war

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate , Sep 9, 2003

We authorized a response to 9/11, not war without end

Let us pray that our country will stop this war. We licensed a response to those who helped bring the terror of September 11. But we the people and our elected representatives must reserve the right to measure the response, and to correct the response.
Source: Speech to the So. Cal. ADA, in Prayer for America, p. 15-16 , Feb 17, 2002

Voted YES on banning armed forces in Libya without Congressional approval.

RESOLUTION Declaring that the President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of US Armed Forces in Libya, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution.
    The House of Representatives makes the following statements of policy:
  1. The US Armed Forces shall be used exclusively to defend and advance the national security interests of the US.
  2. The President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon US national security interests for current US military activities regarding Libya.
  3. The President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the US Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is to rescue a member of the Armed Forces from imminent danger.
The President shall transmit a report describing in detail US security interests and objectives, and the activities of US Armed Forces, in Libya since March 19, 2011, including a description of the following:
  1. The President's justification for not seeking authorization by Congress for the use of military force in Libya.
  2. US political and military objectives regarding Libya, including the relationship between the intended objectives and the operational means being employed to achieve them.
  3. Changes in US political and military objectives following the assumption of command by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  4. Differences between US political and military objectives regarding Libya and those of other NATO member states engaged in military activities.
  5. The specific commitments by the US to ongoing NATO activities regarding Libya.
  6. The anticipated scope and duration of continued US military involvement in Libya.
  7. The costs of military, political, and humanitarian efforts concerning Libya as of June 3, 2011.
Congress has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding for any unauthorized use of the US States Armed Forces, including for unauthorized activities regarding Libya.
Reference: Resolution on Libya; Bill HRes294 ; vote number 11-HV410 on Jun 3, 2011

Voted YES on removing US armed forces from Afghanistan.

Congressional Summary:
    Directs the President, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution, to remove the U.S. Armed Forces from Afghanistan:
  1. by no later than 30 days after this resolution is adopted; or
  2. if the President determines that it is not safe to remove them by such date, by no later than December 31, 2011.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Kucinich, D-OH]:The American people oppose this war by a margin of two to one. Nearly 2/3 of Americans say the war isn't worth fighting. We are spending $100 billion per year on this war. There are those who are saying the war could last at least another 10 years. Are we willing to spend another $1 trillion on a war that doesn't have any exit plan, for which there is no timeframe to get out, no endgame, where we haven't defined our mission? The question is not whether we can afford to leave. The question is, can we afford to stay? And I submit we cannot afford to stay. The counterintelligence strategy of General Petraeus is an abysmal failure, and it needs to be called as such.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL]: This resolution would undermine the efforts of our military and our international partners in Afghanistan and would gravely harm our Nation's security. 3,000 people died on Sep. 11 because we walked away once from Afghanistan, thinking that it didn't matter who controlled that country. We were wrong then. Let us not make the same mistake twice. Completing our mission in Afghanistan is essential to keeping our homeland safe. This is about our vital national security interests. It is about doing what is necessary to ensure that al Qaeda and other extremists cannot reestablish safe havens such as the ones they had in Afghanistan when the 9/11 attacks were planned against our Nation and our people. The enemy, indeed, is on the run. It is demoralized and divided. Let us not give up now.

Reference: Resolution on Afghanistan; Bill HConRes28 ; vote number 11-HV193 on Mar 17, 2011

Voted YES on investigating Bush impeachment for lying about Iraq.

OnTheIssues.org Explanation: This vote is on referring the impeachment resolution to a Congressional Committee to decide further action (not on impeachment itself).

Congressional Summary: Resolved, That President George W. Bush be impeached for committing the following abuses of power:

Proponents' arguments for voting YEA: Rep. Kucinich: Now is the time for this Congress to examine the actions that led us into this war, just as we must work to bring our troops home. This resolution is a very serious matter and I urge the Committee on Judiciary to investigate and carefully consider this resolution.

Rep. Wasserman-Schultz: Impeachment is a lengthy process which would divide Congress and this nation even more deeply than we are divided right now. Referring this resolution to the House Judiciary Committee is the constitutionally appropriate process that should be pursued.

Rep. Ron Paul: I rise, reluctantly, in favor of referring that resolution to the House Judiciary Committee for full consideration, which essentially directs the committee to examine the issue more closely than it has done to this point.

Reference: The Kucinich Privilege Resolution; Bill H.RES.1258 ; vote number 2008-401 on Jun 11, 2008

Voted YES on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days.

To provide for the redeployment of US Armed Forces and defense contractors from Iraq. Requires within 90 days to commence the redeployment; and to complete such redeployment within 180 days after its commencement. Prohibits the use of DOD funds to increase the number of US forces serving in Iraq in excess of the number serving in Iraq as of January 1, 2007, unless specifically authorized by Congress. Authorizes retaining in Iraq US forces for providing security for diplomatic missions; for targeting al-Qaeda; and for training Iraqi Security Forces. Requires the President to transfer to the government of Iraq all interest held by the US in any military facility in Iraq.

Proponents support voting YES because:

This war is a terrible tragedy, and it is time to bring it to an end. This is a straightforward bill to redeploy our military forces from Iraq and to end the war in Iraq. This bill does not walk away from the Iraqi people. It specifically continues diplomatic, social, economic, and reconstruction aid. Finally, this bill leaves all the decisions on the locations outside of Iraq to which our troops will be redeployed wholly in the hands of our military commanders.

Opponents support voting NO because:

This legislation embraces surrender and defeat. This legislation undermines our troops and the authority of the President as commander in chief. Opponents express concern about the effects of an ill-conceived military withdrawal, and about any legislation that places military decisions in the hands of politicians rather than the military commanders in the field. The enemy we face in Iraq view this bill as a sign of weakness. Now is not the time to signal retreat and surrender. It is absolutely essential that America, the last remaining superpower on earth, continue to be a voice for peace and a beacon for freedom in our shrinking world.

Reference: Out of Iraq Caucus bill; Bill H R 2237 ; vote number 2007-330 on May 10, 2007

Voted NO on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date.

Reference: Resolution on Prevailing in the Global War on Terror; Bill HRES 861 ; vote number 2006-288 on Jun 12, 2006

Voted NO on authorizing military force in Iraq.

Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq: Passage of the joint resolution that would authorize President Bush to use the US military as he deems necessary and appropriate to defend U.S. national security against Iraq and enforce UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. It would be required that the president report to Congress, no later than 48 hours after using force, his determination that diplomatic options or other peaceful means would not guarantee US national security against Iraq or allow enforcement of UN resolutions and that using force is consistent with anti-terrorism efforts. The resolution would also give specific statutory authorization under the War Powers Resolution. Every 60 days the president would also be required to report to Congress on actions related to the resolution.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Hastert,R-IL; Bill HJRes114 ; vote number 2002-455 on Oct 10, 2002

Voted YES on disallowing the invasion of Kosovo.

Vote on an amendment to the "Kosovo and Southwest Asia Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act" which would prohibit the use of funds for any invasion of Yugoslavia with U.S. ground forces except in time of war.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 1664 ; vote number 1999-119 on May 6, 1999

Impeach Dick Cheney for lying about Iraq.

Kucinich sponsored impeaching Dick Cheney for lying about Iraq

Sets forth articles of impeachment stating that Vice President Cheney:

  1. has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, to justify the use of the U.S. Armed Forces against Iraq in a manner damaging to U.S. national security interests; and
  2. has openly threatened aggression against Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and has done so with the U.S. proven capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining U.S. national security.
Bill has 24 co-sponsors. Related Bill H.RES.799 came up for vote on Nov. 6, 2007, but was considered as "privileged matter," then failed a motion to table (kill the bill), and finally was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Source: Motion to Impeach Vice President Richard Cheney (H.RES.333) 07-HR333 on May 4, 2007

Member of the Out-of-Iraq Congressional Caucus.

Kucinich is a member the Out-of-Iraq Congressional Caucus

The Out of Iraq Caucus was created in June 2005 to unite members of the House in favor of returning American troops from Iraq. The group's chair, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said the following when announcing its formation:

"The Out of Iraq Congressional Working Group is a newly formed effort whose sole purpose is to be the main agitators in the movement to bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our efforts will include the coordination of activities and legislation designed to achieve our goal of returning our troops home. Through floor statements, press conferences, TV and radio appearances and other actions, we will provide leadership for the American Public who has been waiting too long for our collective voices against the war."

In a speech on the floor of the House shortly after the group's first meeting, Waters emphasized that the group was not calling for an exit from Iraq on any specific date. Rather, she said it more generally opposed a continued U.S. presence in the country. Waters promised that the caucus would do the following towards this aim:

Source: Out-of-Iraq Caucus website 07-OIC0 on Jan 23, 2007

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