Washington, Dec 17 – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) released the following statement in opposition to the 2008 omnibus appropriations bill presently before the House of Representatives:
“The dangerous bill contains three items that I feel compelled to bring to the attention of my Colleagues and the American people: more funding for the war in Afghanistan, more funding for nuclear energy, and funding that would support dirty coal.
“The omnibus bill provides another $31 billion for Afghanistan. The House continues to fund a fruitless war in Afghanistan,” Kucinich said.
“Just as we must get out of Iraq, we must leave Afghanistan as well. I have proposed legislation – HR 1234 – to provide for the stability of Iraq as we exit. We must change our direction in this region. The longer we stay, the greater the disaster.”
Kucinich noted that violence in Afghanistan has increased 30 percent over last year. There is no indication that the violence is ending. He also noted that heroin production has drastically increased since 2001. Afghanistan now provides 92 percent of the world’s opium, the main source of heroin.
“What in the world are American troops doing occupying a country while at the same time opium production is going through the roof? We know why the Bush Administration went into Iraq – oil. What is the reason we are staying in Afghanistan? Our troops are at risk, occupying a narco-state while heroin production is at record levels,” Kucinich said.
The counterproductive nature of the U.S. influence in Afghanistan and the corruption that has followed is clearly exemplified by the opium trade. Afghani government officials warn that, within the Afghan central government, former warlords now work as district and local police chiefs, as well as government officials.
“Instead of suppressing opium production in Afghanistan the trade is increasingly in the hands of warlords while eliminating smaller agents trying to make a living through this illicit trade,” Kucinich said.
“The Congress has condemned poppy cultivation for its financial support of insurgents, militias, and terrorist organizations operating in Afghanistan. Yet under our watch this chaos and corruption has ensued. Additionally our troops are at risk of drug addiction from the easy availability of heroin in Afghanistan.
“As the United States seeks to abate terrorism we must also learn from the consequences related to our foreign policy. After six years of destruction and death the United States should discontinue this immoral policy and immediately begin high-level diplomatic negotiations with the countries of the Middle East in an effort to establish true stability and peace in the region,” Kucinich said.
This omnibus appropriations bill also contains $20.5 billion for subsidies for nuclear energy, which is an attempt to prop up an energy source that is not financially viable without extreme government largesse. It creates toxic waste that lasts thousands of years or longer, even when the United States can’t deal with the waste that has already been generated.
Finally, in this time of heightened awareness of the challenges posed by global warming, this bill provides $8 billion in loan guarantees for dirty coal.
“The urgency of global warming requires that we avoid taking a step backward for every step we take forward. At a minimum, this bill should direct the $28.5 billion for these unsustainable energy sources toward energy sources on which we will come to rely, whether we want to or not, like solar, wind, and geothermal technologies.”
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