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Chicago City Council Gets Resolution on Iraq Withdrawal
FROM: Marilyn Katz, Chicagoans Against War and Injustice, 312-822-0505, firstname.lastname@example.org
RESOLUTION TO WITHDRAW FROM IRAQ INTRODUCED TO CHICAGO CITY COUNCIL
Over 40 of 50 Alderman Already Supportive
Citing the failure of the Bush Administration to substantiate their basis for going to war and the rising cost of the war in Iraq in terms of both lives and dollars, Chicago Aldermen Helen Shiller, Freddrena Lyle and Gene Schulter today introduced a resolution into the ChicagoCity Council calling on the 'United States government to immediately commence an orderly and rapid withdrawal of United States military personnel from Iraq to prevent further casualties, both American and Iraqi, resulting from a misguided and unjustified war.'
The 'Resolution Urging a Cessation of Combat Operations in Iraq and the Return of U.S. Troops' begins by outlining the claims upon which the Bush Administration sent the nation to war and its failure to prove their claims of either the presence of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or any ties to Al Qaeda despite the president's legal responsibility to do so as a first premise for the call for cessation of war .
The Resolution then goes on to describe the cost of the war in terms of lives, including not only the l700 American lives lost, but also the 100,000 Iraqis killed (as estimated by the British Medical journal,Lancet), since the 2003 invasion, and dollars - more than $200 billion, including $2.1 billion of Chicago tax payer dollars.
Introducing the resolution, Alderman Gene Schulter said, it is time for the nation's local elected leaders to speak up for those they represent. When in January 2003 Chicago led the more than 135 cities throughout the nation by passing a resolution that voiced our opposition to a war that we felt was unnecessary, unjustified and misguided, we were told by those in Washington, that cities did not have the knowledge to make that call. Yet, today, two years and thousands of lives later, we know not only that we were right in doubting the claims of the Administration, but also that the war in Iraq would be fought with the lives of our city's youth and on the backs of our city's residents.
As the resolution explains not only have four Chicagoans have been killed, scores more have been injured and more than $2.1 billion Chicago-tax dollars have gone into the war coffers.
Alderman Freddrena Lyle was explicit about needing to bring the troops and dollars home. 'War is not an abstraction to the people of Chicago- they feel it when funds for public safety, schools, housing are denied their neighborhoods. They feel it when there are cutbacks in college funds for their kids, but an army recruiter at every high school in the Black and Latino community. They feel it when their friend, neighbor or relative sends them the awful news that one more youth has been cut down - in a war built on false premises, in an army built on false promises.'
According to the National Priorities Project the funds spent by Chicago taxpayers on the war and occupation in Iraq could have provided the following: 238,056 children attending Head Start for one year; or medical insurance for one year for 1,076,242 children; or 31,147 public school teachers for one year; or 16,183 additional housing units.
Alderman Helen Shiller, who began her political life more than 30 years ago protesting the war in Vietnam, spoke about the rising tide of public dissatisfaction and disbelief. 'The action that we take today is consistent with the will of the American people, who in increasing numbers have come to the inescapable conclusions that not only did the Bush Administration mislead the country on the reasons for war, but that the Administration's actions have rendered us less secure than ever before.'
In closing the resolution states that it joins members of the Illinois Congressional in their opposition to the war and calls on the city council to resolve:
1. That the City Council of Chicago, on behalf of the citizens of Chicago, urges the United States government to immediately commence an orderly and rapid withdrawal of United States military personnel from Iraq to prevent further casualties, both American and Iraqi, resulting from a misguided and unjustified war.
2. That the City Council of Chicago, recognizing that the stability of Iraq is crucial to the security of the citizens of Chicago and to all Americans, urges the United States government to provide the people of Iraq with all necessary non-military material aid as shall be necessary for the security of Iraq's citizens and for the rebuilding of the devastation wrought by United States military action.
3. That the City Council of Chicago, recognizing that the financial resources used to prosecute the war in Iraq have inevitably come at a severe cost to necessary health, education, and security funding at home, and that these costs have been borne disproportionately by residents of America's great urban centers, urges that these resources be redirected to urgent needs among the most vulnerable portions of our population.
The Aldermen said that the resolution is being circulated to all Council members for their sign-on and that various peace groups, including Chicagoans Against War and Injustice, Peace Pledge Chicago, the American Friends Service Committee, Logan Square Neighbors for Peace, Hyde Park Neighbors for Peace, Women for Democracy and Fair Elections and Lincoln Park Neighbors for Peace and others will be passing petitions in support of the resolution and the hoped for action of the City Council as protectors of the lives and resources of the people of Chicago.
Ann-Breen Greco, of Women for Democracy and Fair Elections said her group will do everything possible to support the aldermen. 'On the one hand Bush's ill- conceived and brutal actions in Iraq have created not only a recruiting ground not only for terrorists, On the other hand,Bush's combination of tax cuts for the wealthy and war payments for the poor, have left communities bereft of the real security that only education, health care, public safety and job security can bring. This war, which has been a disaster for Iraq and the United States, must end.'
Additional Note from Alderman Joe Moore 7/29/2005:
As you know, a number of Aldermen introduced a resolution in the City Council on Wednesday calling for an "orderly and rapid withdrawal of United States military personnel from Iraq. In drafting the resolution, we borrowed heavily from a bipartisan resolution currently pending in Congress and a proposal drafted by Ann Breen-Greco and others. Aldermen Helen Shiller and Gene Schulter were especially instrumental in securing the signatures of 40 of our colleagues. This is a remarkable feat and underscores the growing dissatisfaction with the war in all neighborhoods in our city.
The following aldermen have NOT signed the resolution
Manuel 'Manny" Flores (1st Ward) [Not present at Wednesday's meeting.]
Dorothy Tillman (3rd Ward) [Supportive, but didn't have a chance to sign]
John Pope (10th Ward)
James Balcer (11th Ward) [Only Alderman to vote against 2003 Iraq War Resolution]
Ed Burke (14th Ward) Thomas Murphy (18th Ward) Virginia Rugai (19th Ward)
Walter Burnett (27th Ward) [Not present at Wednesday's meeting]
Theodore Matlock (32nd Ward)
Brian Doherty (41st Ward) [City Council's lone Republican ]
The resolution was referred to the City Council Committee on Human Relations, chaired by Alderman Billy Ocasio (26th Ward). That is the same committee that considered and passed the January 2003 resolution opposing a pre-emptive military invasion of Iraq. We hope to pass the current resolution at the next City Council meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, September 14th. Hearings on the resolution will be held before then. I will let you know when the date for the hearings is set.
Current Full Text of the Resolution:
RESOLUTION URGING CESSATION OF COMBAT OPERATIONS IN IRAQ AND THE RETURN OF U.S. TROOPS
WHEREAS, The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 was passed by the U.S. Congress on October 11,2002, and that Public Law 107-243 cited Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction as a primary reason for the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq; and
WHEREAS, On January 12, 2005, President Bush officially declared an end to the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; and
WHEREAS, The United States initiated combat operations in Iraq on March 19, 2003; and
WHEREAS, Hundreds of thousands of members of the United States Armed Forces have served with honor and distinction in Iraq; and
WHEREAS, More than 1,700 members of the United States Armed Forces have been killed and more than 12,000 members of the Armed Forces have been wounded in substantially accomplishing the stated purpose of the United States of giving the people of Iraq a reasonable opportunity to decide their own future; and
WHEREAS, The United States military occupation of Iraq has placed significant strains on the capacity of the United States Armed Forces, both active duty and reserve and the National Guard.
WHEREAS, The armed forces of Iraq number more than 76,000 troops as of June 8, 2005, and are growing in number and capability daily; and
WHEREAS, The forces of the Iraqi Interior Ministry number more than 92,000 personnel as of June 8, 2005, and are growing in number and capability daily; and
WHEREAS, More than $200 billion has been appropriated by Congress to fund military operations and reconstruction in Iraq, and Chicago residents' share now exceeds $2.1 billion; and
WHEREAS, The funds spent by Chicago taxpayers on the war and occupation in Iraq could have provided Head Start for one year for 238,056 children; or medical insurance for one year for 1,076,242 children; or 31,147 public school teachers for one year; or 16,183 additional housing units, according to the National Priorities Project; and
WHEREAS, The war and continued occupation have resulted in the devastation of Iraq's physical and social infrastructure and led to widespread and continuous resistance to U.S. occupation that threatens the lives of Iraqi civilians and the men and women who compose the ranks of U.S. and other occupying forces; and
WHEREAS, The presence of United States forces in Iraq and the alleged torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other facilities have inflamed anti-American passions in the Muslim world and increased the terrorist threat to United States citizens, both at home and abroad; and
WHEREAS, Polls show that less than half of the American people support the war; and
WHEREAS, Illinois Congresspersons Rush, Lipinski, Emanuel, Davis, Schakowsky, Jackson, Gutierrez, and Costello joined more than 100 other Congresspersons in voting for a House resolution on an Iraq exit strategy; and
WHEREAS, On January 2003, the Chicago City Council passed a resolution 47-1 opposing the war in Iraq prior to its commencing in March 2003;now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, That the City Council of the City of Chicago, on behalf of the citizens of Chicago, urges the United States government to immediately commence an orderly and rapid withdrawal of United States military personnel from Iraq; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City Council of Chicago, recognizing that the stability of Iraq is crucial to the security of the citizens of Chicago and to all Americans, urges the United States government to provide the people of Iraq with all necessary non- military material aid as shall be necessary for the security of Iraq's citizens and for the rebuilding of Iraq; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the financial resources used to prosecute the war be redirected to address the urgent needs of America's great urban centers and the most vulnerable portions of our population, including health, education, and homeland security; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution shall be sent to George W. Bush, President of the United States, and the members of the Illinois Congressional delegation.