The U.S. Conference of Mayors has just done something it hasn't done since Vietnam, passing a resolution that supports efforts to speed up the ending of our current wars and calls on the President and Congress to "bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs."
Here's a page that organized this: http://www.wardollarshome.org
Activist groups are already taking the opportunity to ask Congress and the President to finally listen to what has, after all, been majority public opinion for a long time.
The President is about to announce whether he will violate his commitment to a significant withdrawal from Afghanistan in July. The House of Representatives is passing amendments blocking funding for the Libya War, and 10 congress members have sued the president in court to end it. Iraq, we are told, may soon "request" a continued occupation into next year. A CIA war in Yemen is ramping up, along with that in Pakistan. Congress will soon vote on $530 billion for the Department of "Defense" and another $119 billion for the wars. Meanwhile, Robert Gates just told the New York Times these are wars of choice. The American people and the U.S. Conference of Mayors seem to want a different choice made.
Here's the resolution's key language. There are two "resolved clauses." The first reads:
"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports efforts to speed up the ending of these wars; and"
The second was edited and debated on the floor of the conference to read (I think):
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the U.S. President and Congress as soon as strategically possible to bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy, and reduce the national debt."
Prior to editing, it had read:
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the U.S. Congress to bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy."
This resolution could have passed in a batch of resolutions without debate, but Mayor Pete Lewis of Auburn, WA, asked that it be pulled, resulting in a debate and vote individually on this resolution.
Lewis expressed horror that such a resolution might have been passed during Vietnam or other previous wars - What would have happened?! he asked. But the US Conference of Mayors did pass a resolution in 1971 urging that the US military get out of Vietnam, a stronger resolution in fact than the new one.
Here's how the debate went down on Monday.
11:16 a.m. Pete Lewis speaks first. "I live in a military state." [As opposed to WHAT?] "Making political statements in this forum about the war I do not believe is proper." He equates this with bashing Vietnam veterans, even as he is also claiming to recognize the need for the redirection of the funding.
11:18 Mayor Soglin of Madison, WI, points out the resolution that was passed during Vietnam. He calls this new resolution "rather temperate" as it "does not call for an immediate withdrawal."
11:21 Mayor John Dickert of Racine, WI, mentions meeting with Mayor of Kabul (the actual mayor of Kabul, not Karzai) and mentions the horrible state of U.S. infrastructure and its low rating. He wants troops cared for at home and wants the resolution passed.