[Marxism] Sacramento City Council votes 8 to 1 for troop withdrawal

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Wed Nov 2 09:24:31 MST 2005

Council: Bring troops home

By Phillip Reese -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PST Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Story appeared on Page A1 of The Bee
The Sacramento City Council called Tuesday night for the "rapid and 
comprehensive withdrawal of United States military personnel and bases 
from Iraq," citing the financial and human costs of the war on local 

The resolution, sponsored by council members Lauren Hammond and Ray 
Tretheway, puts Sacramento on a short but growing list of cities 
nationwide pressing for a quick withdrawal. Chicago's council recently 
approved a similar measure. San Francisco made the same call a year 
ago. And dozens of towns in Vermont have called for a withdrawal.

  "When enough Congress members see there are enough cities throughout 
the United States saying it's time to bring our troops home, they will 
come up with a good exit strategy," Hammond said.

Councilman Robbie Waters, on the other hand, said the City Council had 
little business taking an official stance on an issue largely beyond 
its control.

"This is a matter best left to our elected officials in Washington, 
D.C.," Waters said.

The resolution, which passed 8-1 with Waters opposed, cited a number of 
reasons the United States should leave Iraq soon, including:

* The deaths of more than 2,000 U.S. troops.

* The billions of dollars spent on the war, including an estimated $300 
million from Sacramento alone.

* The government's failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, 
one of the reasons cited for undertaking the war.

* The "grave harm to the people of Sacramento, especially its 
low-income residents and communities of color."

More than 100 people attended Tuesday's hearing, most of them opponents 
of the war. Sacramento anti-war activists praised the council's 

"We're not Berkeley or San Francisco," said Cres Vellucci, who is with 
the Sacramento Coalition to End the War. "If our city does something 
like this, it sends a message up and down the state."

It has been more than two years since the United States toppled the 
regime of Saddam Hussein. Since then, hundreds of soldiers and 
thousands of Iraqi civilians have died. At the same time, however, Iraq 
has moved toward a democracy, recently adopting a draft constitution.

Public support for the administration's handling of the war has waned: 
More than half of Americans now believe it was a mistake to send troops 
to Iraq, according to the latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll.

The nation is divided about when all troops should come home. In a poll 
last month taken by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio 
University, about 48 percent of Americans said they wanted a rapid 
withdrawal from Iraq, while 46 percent favored staying until Iraq is 
more secure.

Even some who opposed the war aren't in favor of immediate withdrawal. 
Erik Gustafson, executive director of the Washington-based Education 
for Peace in Iraq Center, said the war in Iraq was a bad idea, but 
leaving tomorrow would create a number of problems.

"You have insurgents who are determined to use violence to overthrow 
Iraq's elected government, to derail the political process, to see the 
clock set back and return to an authoritarian regime," he said, 
contending that immediate troop withdrawal would allow such groups to 
operate more freely. "That serves nobody's interests."

While saying he neither supported nor opposed the city's resolution and 
noting that anything that stimulates discussion of Iraq is a good 
thing, Gustafson said he has problems with parts of the measure's 
language. The resolution doesn't do enough, he said, to note America's 
responsibilities to Iraq.

"This is what is now at stake: Iraq's fledgling democracy, the violent 
partitioning of Iraq, abandoning the Iraq people once again," said 
Gustafson, a veteran of the first Gulf War.

On the other hand, others who opposed the war think it's time for 
America to leave. Michael Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the 
State University of New York at Stony Brook who has written against the 
war for several left-leaning publications, argues that the presence of 
American troops in Iraq is stimulating the violent insurgency.

"It is in reaction to this brutality of this American occupation that 
most of the violent acts of the insurgency take place," Schwartz said 
in an interview Tuesday.

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