National Defense Authorization Act Shifts Burden From President Onto Congress by Dennis Kucinich

Dandelion Salad

by Dennis Kucinich

Kucinich Organizes 15 Members of Congress; Sent Letter To Senate Armed Services Committee Urging Withdrawal Of Section That Could Lead To War With Iran

Washington, Jan 18 – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) sent a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee today, asking for a section from the National Defense Authorization Act to be removed when the bill is brought up for consideration in the Senate. The section lays the groundwork for authorization for a war with Iran.

“Congress is taking the responsibility for the Administration’s plans for war with Iran,” Kucinich said.

“This is intolerable, unconscionable and intellectually dishonest and this language must be stripped out of this bill.”

Kucinich, who led the charge on the floor of the House of Representatives this week in opposing the bill, organized 15 Members of Congress to sign onto the letter. Kucinich spoke out on the House floor, pointing out to his Colleagues that a section was left in the bill claiming Iran poses a nuclear threat, even after a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report proved otherwise.

“There is absolutely no intelligence to back up these erroneous claims made by the Administration. All they are doing is ratcheting up tensions between the United States and Iran. Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. Let’s keep it that way by pursuing a policy of diplomacy instead of war,” Kucinich said.

The text of the letter is below:

January 18, 2008

Senator Carl Levin
Chairman
United States Senate Committee on Armed Services
228 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Levin:

We urge you to remove Section 229 of H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act before bringing this bill to a vote in the Senate. Removal of this section will reflect the findings contained in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran that was released on December 3, 2007.
Section 229 states:

“Congress finds that Iran maintains a nuclear program in continued defiance of the international community while developing ballistic missiles of increasing sophistication and range that pose a threat to the forward-deployed forces of the United States.”

The remaining language in Section 229 states that it is therefore “policy of the United States” to develop an “effective defense” against that nuclear threat.

However, the NIE states:

“We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program… We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007…”

In voting for the bill, Members of Congress are therefore asked to endorse a US policy of weapons build-up based on pretenses now proven to be false. Such policy has not served us well in the recent past. We hope you agree the provision should be removed.

Sincerely,

Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress

Raul Grijalva
Member of Congress

Tammy Baldwin
Member of Congress

Maurice Hinchey
Member of Congress

John Conyers, Jr.
Member of Congress

Jim McDermott
Member of Congress

Jim McGovern
Member of Congress

Peter DeFazio
Member of Congress

Donald Payne
Member of Congress

Bob Filner
Member of Congress

Lynn Woolsey
Member of Congress

Bobby Rush
Member of Congress

Luis Gutierrez
Member of Congress

Eleanor Holmes Norton
Member of Congress

Barbara Lee
Member of Congress

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