by Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Washington, Aug 31, 2010
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s speech from the Oval Office regarding the future of Iraq:
“The President is rightly celebrating that less American troops are in harm’s way. I join the President in that celebration.
“We need to dispense with the fiction, though, that this announcement in any way diminishes our financial or resource commitment to Iraq. Fifty thousand “non-combat” troops will remain, and that number does not include the State Department’s plan to double the amount of mercenaries through next year–whose only loyalty is to the highest bidder–and fortify numerous ‘enduring presence posts’ throughout the country. This fortification will include the recent State Department request for Black Hawk helicopters, mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles, and advanced surveillance systems. Such a substantial reliance on mercenaries amounts to a privatization of war.
“We will continue to spend billions in Iraq with absolutely nothing to show for it. Two weeks ago, one of the most influential Iraqi bishops–Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad–went so far as to say that US combat troops are leaving the country in worse shape than they found it. Indeed, just last week a series of coordinated attacks in 13 cities throughout the country killed and wounded dozens of people.”
“We must admit that our mere presence there undermines any hope for a peaceful and stable Iraq. We need to remove all American forces–military and otherwise–and commit to working diplomatically for a viable government.
“I am, however, encouraged that the President acknowledges that our economy continues to sputter as 15 million Americans desperately search for work. My constituents and I will be eager to hear how the President plans to restart our manufacturing sector and create opportunity for Americans.”
Kucinich has been one of the leading Congressional voices in opposition to the US military involvement in Iraq.