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SC City Council: Start Bringing The Troops Home Now

On April 12, the Santa Cruz City Council approved a resolution in support of House Concurrent Resolution 35 - Withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces From Iraq, introduced by Councilmembers Emily Reilly, Tim Fitzmaurice and Mayor Mike Rotkin. Santa Cruz joins other Cities For Peace, including the majority of townships in New Hampshire, demanding that President Bush "Bring The Troops Home Now."

The following is the actual text of the resolution.


AGENDA OF: April 12, 2005

DEPARTMENT: City Council


RECOMMENDATION:  That the City Council, by motion, express support for House Concurrent Resolution 35 (HCON 35),expressing the sense of Congress that the President should develop and implement a plan to begin the immediate withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq, and authorize the Mayor to notify elected officials and interested parties of this action.

BACKGROUND:  In October, 2002, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), which specifically cited Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction and its harboring of members of the al Qaeda terrorist organization as the foundation for the use of United States military force against Iraq.

The Iraq Survey Group, led by American weapons inspector David Kay, was enlisted by the President to search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  In October, 2003, David Kay wrote, in a statement prepared for Congressional committees, that the Iraq Survey Group found no evidence that Iraq had stockpiled unconventional weapons before the United States-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.  In October 2004, Charles Duelfer, whom the President chose to complete the work of the Iraq Survey Group, stated that the 1991 Persian Gulf War and subsequent United Nations inspections destroyed Iraq's illicit weapons capability and that the Iraq Survey Group found no evidence of concerted efforts by Iraq to restart an illicit weapons program. 

In January, 2005, the President officially declared an end to the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq

DISCUSSION:  More than 1,500 members of the United States Armed Forces have been killed as part of the ongoing combat operations in Iraq, including a number of soldiers from our local community; many times that number have been wounded.  Various estimates place the number of unarmed, innocent Iraqi civilians killed as part of the ongoing combat operations in Iraq between 15,000 to 17,000 individuals, and possibly much higher.  Nearly $160,000,000,000 has been allocated for military operations and reconstruction efforts in Iraq, and the President is expected to request as much as $80,000,000,000 in 2005. 

The very presence of American troops in Iraq has become a rallying point for dissatisfied people in the Arab world, and has both intensified the rage of the extremist Muslim terrorists and has ignited civil hostilities in Iraq that have made Iraq substantially less safe.  The removal of the United States military will help diminish one of the major causes of Iraq's growing insurgency.

We are recommending that the Council support the resolution that that President should (1) develop and implement a plan to begin the immediate withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq; (2) develop and implement a plan for reconstructing Iraq's civil and economic infrastructure; (3) convene an emergency meeting of Iraq's leadership, Iraq's neighbors, the United Nations, and the Arab League to create an international peacekeeping force in Iraq and to replace United States Armed Forces in Iraq with Iraqi police and Iraqi National Guard forces to ensure Iraq's security; and (4) take all steps necessary to provide the Iraqi people with the opportunity to completely control their internal affairs.


Submitted by: Mike Rotkin, Mayor.
Emily Reilly, Councilmember.
Tim Fitzmaurice, Councilmember.

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Re: SC City Council: Start Bringing The Troops Home Now

The Council only does nonsense like this to retain their false image of being progressive politicians. They "act" only when "action" can be nothing more than talk. When an issue comes up that would require real action by progressives (like the Pacific Ave marijuana dispenary), they're silent.

The Council should be required to focus on local issues. That way, they can't just pretend to be progressive. That way they have to walk the walk, or reveal themselves for the corrupt politicians they are with their leashes held by business and property owners.

Late Resolution Is Good As Far As It Goes--Which Isn't Very Far

Endorsing the Woolsey resolution in Congress (HCON 35)isn't a bad thing to do. But it was done over two years after the criminal war/occupation was begun.

It would also make more sense and be more locally meaningful if the City Council's resolution involved some local aspects like opposing military recruiting in high schools and campuses, declaring Santa Cruz a sanctuary for those resisting coercion into performing war crimes, a call for disinvestment from war industries, etc.

To understand the background of the situation, it might be helpful to check out the following articles:

"Council Ducks Anti-War Issues; Kennedy Ducks Legal Service" (February 2003)
""U.S. Out of Iraq Now" Resolution Presented to Santa Cruz City Council" (November 2004)
"Call Santa Cruz City Council to Pass the U.S. Out of Iraq Resolution" (November 2004)
"Kennedy's Last Hurrah" (November 2004)

Up in Arcata, Councilmember Dave Meserve is coming back to his City Council with a response on how, as he describes it to "address the madness of the federal government" which will involve both support for those who refuse to participate in illegal wars and actual funding for implementation of this legislation.

Last summer Meserve passed a law through the Arcata City Council (at the initiative of Vets for Peace) that called for "The immediate withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, before one more soldier or civilian needlessly dies".

Our City Council's action, by contrast, taken a year later, merely endorses the Woolsey resolution three months after Farr endorsed it.

The Council couldn't even bring itself to be as timidly liberal as Farr, who himself took a year and a half to call for even a plan for withdrawal.

The action was also taken with no public discussion, without a Town Meeting, during the afternoon as a "slip it through" item. Only one person commented on it. Our own local Vets for Peace never came out to publicly urge City Council to pass this resolution--month after month as the war went on. On April 12th, when the resolution quietly slipped through there we no peace activists to be seen in the chambers---other than the colorful and underrated Michael Tomasi.

Instead of boldly leading, Santa Cruz City Council has timidly and quietly followed.
I'm glad this resolution was passed, but it's damn weak tea, and two years cold.


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