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23 Dec, 2009 08:02

We’ll force a vote on whether to stay in Afghanistan – Congressman Kucinich

US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who is circulating a resolution to end the war in Afghanistan, says he is simply trying to reclaim the forgotten constitutional responsibility of Congress to start and end war.

Kucinich reminds the basic principles that “It is not appropriate for generals to be making decisions on their own about whether the United States goes into battle. They do not have the final judgment, not in a democracy. In a democracy this final judgment has to go to the elected officials.”

Kucinich says more defense spending may lead to the collapse of the US economy.

“I can understand that [Afghan President] Karzai wants the US to be there pumping a $100 billion year after year. I don’t know where he thinks we are going to get the money from,” questions the Congressman. “Because we have over 15 million people unemployed, 10 to 12 million will lose their homes in the next year, 47 million Americans go to bed hungry every night and don’t have any healthcare, millions of Americans have lost their investments, their pensions, their retirement security. We have those to take care here at home. And we cannot continue to spend money on these foreign adventures.”

Kucinich says you don’t need to be a general or a politician to understand that the strategy to buy off the opposition in Afghanistan is perverse.

“You cannot buy friends, everyone knows this… The friends who you try to buy are the least reliable of your friends. The friends we try to buy in Afghanistan are with us one day, and the next day they are shooting at us.”

“War is a drain on the economy because war is capital intensive,” goes on Kucinich. “War spends money on high technology, which costs a lot of money. War is capital intensive, not labour intensive.”

He points out that “war is not a way to create jobs – it’s a way to kill jobs.”

“Each soldier costs on average about a million dollars a year. For $1 million a year you could create 25 jobs that would pay $35,000 a year. So the ratio is at least 25:1, jobs in the civilian sector as oppose to the military sector with spending a million dollars.”

Kucinich says American government wants now to put the bill for unemployment benefits into a bill to fund the war.

“What they are telling the American people is this: If you agree to put your sons and daughters on the firing line, then we will pay you for standing on the unemployment line. They have tied the two together. It is grossly immoral.”

“What they are saying is that war is a part of our permanent economy and a war-based economy is eventually going to collapse,” Kucinich warns.