Dennis Kucinich: Well, look. As a member of Congress, I was the foremost spokesperson in challenging U.S. Aggression abroad. I believe that it unfortunately helped to facilitate strengthening al Qaeda in some places instead of weakening it. Do you know, that when we knocked off the government of Libya, arms poured into areas south of Libya? And actually, it's well known that some of those arms helped al Qaeda in the Maghreb attempt to overthrow the Malian government.
And so, we have to look at where the policies took us. They expanded the United States' footprint internationally, with arms, with drones; and have continued to, unfortunately, strengthen the position of radical elements, wittingly or unwittingly. And I have a problem with that. And I said so in the Congress of the United States, over, and over, and over. And I was able to get votes called so that Congress had at least an opportunity to weigh in, whether they had a desire or not to change the policies of the administration. This is nothing new when I say that I broadly opposed the policies of the Obama administration when it came to international matters.
Rob Kall: OK. So let's talk about peace, because this is something that you've put so much of your life and heart into. My impression is that, under an Obama administration, the Peace Movement has been, in many ways, gutted and eviscerated, and made impotent.
Dennis Kucinich: Well, it needed to be visible, and it hasn't been. In March of 2003, before the invasion of Iraq, I joined over a million people in New York City winding down 1st and 2nd avenue, and, I suppose, beyond. Tremendous crowds opposing the United States' entry into the war. I participated in one peace march after another; this was almost ten years ago now. But once the war started, the public opinion and momentum swung in favor of the war, really as a function of the fact that people had sons and daughters in the military. People would say "Well, we support our troops." But the American people were dragged into the war based on lies! Which is what I [signal lapse - "said?"] back in October 2002. I cited chapter and verse the reasons why we shouldn't go to war. Anybody goes to the internet today, Google "Kucinich Iraq Report October 2002" and you'll see I that I had it cold. I knew exactly what was happening.
But you know what? We got pulled into a war. And the Peace Movement, to the extent that there was one, which was maybe not organized in terms of membership, but I will tell you this: the American people do not want to go to war. But we got dragged into it. So, Iraq begat Afghanistan, begat a whole series of incursions into Pakistan and expanded our regional involvement. The Peace Movement was eclipsed; and it needs to be reawakened, and it needs to be visible, and it needs to be called forward with a new mission: t ruth and reconciliation. The American people deserve to know the truth about what took us into Iraq. They deserve to know the truth about Hamid Karzai, and the kind of theft that occurred of US tax dollars in connection with the enterprise in Afghanistan. They deserve to know how US tax dollars ended up helping those who we claim we oppose.
I think that if we are able to move forward with a process of truth and reconciliation, that it can move us towards uniting the Country again. But, as long as we don't know the truth, as long as we're in the fog as to how things happen and why they happen, we're going to continue to stumble along with these debates about "Woulda, coulda, shoulda," instead of standing on the firm ground of truth to rebuild our relationship the world and with each other.
Rob Kall: Well, when you're talking about truth, you know, there is a group who talks about 9/11 Truth, that 9/11 was not covered adequately in it's investigations. What's your take on that whole way that 9/11 was used by the Bush Administration and covered up, really, afterward?
Dennis Kucinich: Rob, there's a couple of elements here. There is no question that 9/11 was used to drag us into a war against Iraq, a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11. That's another reason for the need for truth and reconciliation. Another thing in post 9/11 America: we've seen a sharp decline in trust in government. So the people then don't believe what the government says, what they describe as happening. That has led people of good will and intelligence to raise questions about what happened on 9/11. Look. I've heard from people on all sides of this, and I could not get much support at all in the Congress for an inquiry beyond what the commission did. I think that there's always going to be elements in the narrative of 9/11 that people will be able to point to and say "Well, that doesn't fit." But I would say that the larger question right now is "How can we as a nation try to repair the tear in the fabric of society and the tearing of trust which happened at 9/11?" On September 10th 2001, there was an America that existed that was a little bit more sunny, a little bit more forward-looking, a little less fearful; we need to remember who we were. We need to shake this funereal pall that dropped over this country on September 11, 2001, and reclaim a deeper truth of who we are as Americans! And in a way, in order to do that, Rob, we're going to have to go back to the town hall, and to talk to each other again about what we think happened, and why it happened, and how does America go forward? How can we reclaim what's best about this country, and how can we reunite with the World? Because 9/11 was used to separate us from the world at a time when we could have responded in a way that would have captured the sympathy and love of the world (which is there for all of America), we chose a path of aggression which separated us from the rest of the world.
Rob Kall: I need to take a station ID real quick, and then we'll get back to talking about that.
This is the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360 AM, sponsored by Opednews.com . You don't need to remember Opednews.com , just Google "Liberal News," or "Progressive Opinion," and Opednews usually comes up number one or two, so check us out online.
I'm speaking with Dennis Kucinich. He's left the Congress, he's moving on to some exciting new projects; and Dennis, you just said that at 9/11, we separated ourselves from the world. I want to hear about that, but I also want to make sure that we've covered how my listeners and readers can help and support you in your future and current endeavors? What can we do to help you? We love you!
Dennis Kucinich: Well, the love is returned, and I feel the abundance of support over a period of sixteen years in the House of Representatives. I never take that for granted. I'm very humbled by the opportunity, not just to be on this show and talking to you Rob, but the fact that people care, and they pay attention, and they love America. Kucinichaction.com is a website where people can participate in our political efforts, and if you could sign up there it would be great. In a couple weeks, I'll be announcing a slightly new endeavor to people who have signed up, and they'll be able to learn about that. I will continue to reach out to people and give them a point of view that maybe they're not getting from other places.
I guess it's back to this: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country." So I'm always interested in where I can continue to make a contribution. I'm not a member of Congress right now, and I'm OK with that. I'm not OK with how redistricting worked. (laughs) But I'm ready for a new chapter in my life, and to continue to make a contribution.
The one point I want to make before we're at the end of this show, and I want to thank you for your generosity of time, is that my own spiritual explorations of not just my existence, but the world, and the world that I move in, and the people I deal with - I think that we are at the threshold of an era, if we can break through the thinking that basically encapsulates our world right now. We're at the threshold of an era where people all over are going to come together, where the impulse toward human unity will actually be realized. The technological infrastructure is already there: The internet is there, the ability to travel anywhere, the cellular technology (pick up the phone and call anywhere in the world). We have the technical infrastructure for unity, but we haven't really seen our political systems develop in that direction, our policies develop in that direction.
But it really starts, not from the government, it starts from our own hearts. And I see the willingness of people to try to grow past the partisanship and the ideological differences to try to find those things that unite us, and emphasize that, not just as a nation, but as the human race. So I'm very hopeful that, with our continued efforts, that we can chart a course toward a more peaceful world. But the only way that we can do that, I believe, is to understand the inner equality of all people; to understand that we in fact are all one; that the world is interdependent, and it is interconnected with a latticework that is so fine, that events that happen anywhere in the globe can be felt all over the globe. And because of that, it's time for us to summon the power of our own hearts to continue to try to create love in the world, and to try to replace the hatred that's out there with sentiments of love for our fellow human beings.
This goes way beyond politics. It goes way beyond positionality, to contemplating the power of the human spirit to be able to create new conditions, to be able to evolve, to go beyond where we are in terms of this particular experience in this time and space in the United States of America.