RK= Rob Kall
DK= Dennis Kucinich
RK:I'm running a piece on what things would look like if congress refused to fund the war any further.
DK: THis is the way the war can end. The leadership of the house goes to the president and tells the president, "we're not going to provide the funds for the war anymore." That he has to use the money he has in the defense budget to bring the troops and the equipment home. Thatwould cost about $5-10 billion and the money is there to do that now.
Concurrent with that has to be the creation of an internation security and peacekeeping force that would move in as our troops leave. That's what would have to happen. That's the plan that I'm promoting.
RK: What kind of the support do you have for it?
DK: Nationally, tremendous support for it, but in the congress, congress is temporizing on the issue of the war. There is no majority will being expressed here. The leadership has refused to challenge the president directly. Instead, what they're saying is that they don't have the votes to end the war, when in fact, you don't need the votes to end the war. There's an approach being taken that I really disagree with.
RK: DO you have an support in the house, for this?
DK: I think there are probably a couple of dozen members who would generally agree with what I'm saying.
But the leadership has made it very clear that they are not going to cut off funds. They made it clear that they are not going to tell the president that they are not going to fund it. They are going to keep funding it and keep funding it under the notion that notion-- under the fatal notion that this is the way to support the troops.
RK: Usually, in congress you work to put together a bill and pass it. Is there a mechanism, is there a way for you and those couple dozen to organize against further legislation? It's not like you go into committee.
DK: What has to be done has to be done by the leaders. The leaders have to go to the president and tell him, "We're not going to give any more money." It's the leadership that schedules the bill.
RK: THe fact is, if Nancy Pelosi or Harry decided not to let the motion come to the floor, either one of them, all by themselves, could stop this dead in its tracks, couldn't they?
DK:The leadership of either the house of the senate, if either leadership determined, we're not going to let a bill come to the floor of the house or senate, the war would be stopped. They'd have to, essentially, force the presiden't hand on the war.
That's what they have to do. They have to take a stand and they haven't done that yet.
t's exactly what they have to do.
RK: How can our readers help?
DK: Urge and send messages to the democratic leadership of the house and the senate, that ending the war doesn't take legislation-- that it takes the will of the leadership to go to the president and say that they are not going to offer a bill-- that the president has to take the steps to bring the troops home. Now a parrallel process must ensue, and that is a peacekeeping and security force in the region would have to be assembled that would come in as our troops leave, because you don't want to leave a vacuum.
Now some people will say, if the congress takes this action, the president is just going to refuse to do anything.
And I would say that's a direct path to his removal from office, because he can't leave the troops out there without protection. And if he's keeping them there, despite the will of the congress being expressed, then he would be in kind of a tough way.
RK: So, the will of the congress will be basically be stated by one of the leaders in either the house or the senate...
DK: Actually, that's what's being done right now, by continuing to fund it. If they determine they're not going to fund it anymore, and tell the president that, then it's over.
RK: The one question I want to be relly clear on, either Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid, individually, could stop this war by going to the president and saying, I'm not going to bring legislation to the floor that will fund the war any further. Either one of those individuals could do now, right?
DK: Nancy works on concensus, with the other democratic leaders. But if the democratic leadership, and I don't work with Harry Reid, so I'm not sure how he works, but if the Democratic leadership went to the president and told him what I told you, we'd be on the way to ending the war.
RK: IF this happened, if we got this to happen, what would you expect the president do? The Republicans? The media? How would they respond to this. It seems to me it is important to plan how to respond to their response.
DK: The American people already made the decision to get out of Iraq by voting for a Democratic house and senate, so the way you respond is to say you are just bowing to the will of the people as expressed in the 2006 election.
RK: There is a lot of talk that the Democrats are afraid of being attacked viciously, if they do this and stop the funding.
DK: Fear is not a basis to run a government in a Democracy.