NYC Council passes (barely) anti-war resolution: but, it's the 'thought' that counts...

Mike Friedman mikedf at
Wed Mar 12 22:23:57 MST 2003

It's Official: NYC Council Opposes War

POSTED: 3:57 p.m. EST March 12, 2003
UPDATED: 8:38 p.m. EST March 12, 2003

NEW YORK -- In a vote that elicited a range of emotional responses, the
City Council approved a resolution Wednesday opposing war with Iraq except
as a last resort.

The 31-17 vote in the city hardest hit by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
came after months of behind-the-scenes debate about whether the council
should take a position, particularly given the city's position as a symbol
in the war on terrorism.

"If we're going to be looking for a fight, let's fight poverty, let's fight
firehouse closures, let's fight racism and sexism," said Yvette Clarke, a
Brooklyn Democrat who supported the resolution.

But Queens Democrat Alan Jennings said that after losing one of his closest
friends in the World Trade Center attack, he was in no mood to vote for an
anti-war measure.

"Our troops are in the Middle East at this time to fight for our
democracy," Jennings said. "I think this resolution sends the wrong message
to our men and women in uniform."

The resolution was first drawn up in October, but got stalled in back-room
battles over semantics. Last month, it was abruptly pulled off the agenda
moments before the council had been scheduled to vote on it.

The wording of the original resolution opposed a war "without the authority
of the United Nations" and said that such a war would pave the way for
"similar "actions by other rival states such as Taiwan and China and India
and Pakistan."

Those words were replaced with language that allows for a pre-emptive
attack if "other options for achieving compliance with United Nations
resolutions calling for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and
the means of their development have failed."

Despite the toned-down language, City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, a
Manhattan Democrat who is the leader of the panel, said the measure was
clearly "an anti-war resolution."

"War should be the last possible resort and we're not sure we've reached
that last possible point," Miller said.

Debate over the resolution seeped out publicly in recent weeks after
100,000 to 350,000 people took part in an anti-war protest near the United
Nations last month. Recent polls show that 75 percent of New Yorkers oppose
a war without the support of the United Nations.

Since last September, anti-war resolutions have been approved in cities
including Los Angeles; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Chicago; Portland, Maine; and

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