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Chicago City Council Passes Resolution Demanding Removal of US Troops from Iraq
Earlier March, Rally & Presence at Hearing
Show Support for Resolution, Welfare of Troops
CHICAGO (September 15, 2005) -The Chicago City Council Wednesday passed a resolution demanding the removal of US troops from Iraq. Passing by a Council vote of 29 to 9, with 12 abstaining or not voting, the resolution urges 'the United States government to immediately commence an orderly and rapid withdrawal' from Iraq. In addition to the death and suffering of the war, the resolution stressed that 'Chicago residents' share of monies appropriated for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now exceeds $2.1 billion.'
Chicago is now the largest U.S city to take this stand. The only other major US city to pass a similar resolution is San Francisco. The Evanston, IL City Council voted against the war yesterday, and Gary, IN did so last month.
'It's time to call a halt to the bloodshed. It's time to load up the ships, load up the planes and welcome home the troops to a ticker-tape parade in New York and a ticker-tape parade in Chicago,' declared Alderman Burton Natarus on the 42nd Ward. Immediately following his impassioned plea to vote 'yes' on the resolution, Natarus fell ill, collapsed and was taken out of the chambers by medics, interrupting the debate for nearly 20 minutes. The debate resumed once it was learned that the 72-year-old alderman was OK.
Most of those opposing the resolution did not make a strong case for the war, but argued that since troops were there, it would undermine them to call for their return. Most, however, argued the best thing to do for the troops was to bring them home.
The landmark decision shows the Federal Government that this war is not supported by a majority of Chicagoans, and the removal of US troops is the only course of logical action available. Supporters of the resolution are sending a strong message to the Federal Government that the sacrifices made by troops and their families for this ill-conceived conflict must be brought to an end.
Crowding the Committee on Human Relations hearing Monday afternoon in the hearing before today's vote, members of Chicagoan Against War and Injustice (CAWI), Peace Pledge Chicago, Chicago Code Pink, Women for Democracy and Fair Elections, and other neighborhood peace groups spoke and showed support for the resolution. Over 6500 signatures from Chicagoans in every Ward were presented to committee members and over a dozen speakers shared their thoughts and concerns.
'The City Council voted to oppose Bush's 'war of choice' at its onset,' said Carl Davidson, co-chair of Chicagoans Against War and Injustice, 'we have had a good debate, and now they are setting an example for major cities throughout the nation on how to follow suit and help end it. Now it's very important to follow up in the streets with a huge turnout at the march on Washington, DC, Sept 24.'
A City Hall peace rally and march, was also held on Tuesday, Sept 13, on the eve of the vote, featuring the dramatic 'die-in' demonstration. The hundreds gathered at the door of City Hall provided the final push for supporters of the resolution. Meant to serve as more than a typical antiwar protest, the rally featured military families and others with strong ties to the Iraq War. Alderman Joe Moore (49th) delivered a powerful denunciation of the cost of war at home.
'CAWI, Peace Pledge Chicago and literally hundreds of other peace groups should be proud of their efforts in organizing this positive vote,' Davidson continued. 'But we still have a long way to go.'
The City Hall rally and march was sponsored by the following: Peace Pledge Chicago, Chicagoans Against War and Injustice, Women for Democracy and Fair Elections, Code Pink Chicago, Gay Liberation Network, 8th Day Center for Justice, Prairie Fire Organizing Committee, American Friends Service Committee, International Solidarity Movement, Tikkun, and others.
Michael Lynn - Peace Pledge Chicago
Carl Davidson - CAWI