US Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s Remarks to the United States House of Representatives on September 7, 2011
Tonight I wish to speak to this Congress and to my fellow Americans about international policy and its relation to the domestic economy. I will advocate a new direction America must take in the world so that we can meet the needs of our people here at home.
For the past decade we have relied on the force of our arms to make America secure while our economy has rotted from within. America has lost its focus. America has spent more time concentrating on reshaping the world than on reshaping our economy.
We have created hundreds of thousands of jobs for military contractors all over the world, while we just learned that we created zero jobs here in the United States in the month of August as unemployment continues to stay above 9%.
Come home America. We must begin to focus on things here at home and stop roaming the world looking for dragons to slay. We have a right and an obligation to defend our nation. That includes working for peace abroad and seeking peaceful resolution of conflict, a capacity that, at our peril, we have not fully developed: I call it strength through peace. It involves the pursuit of what President Franklin Roosevelt called the “Science of Human Relations,” actually engaging those with whom we disagree most to attempt to find a way to co-exist peacefully. As Dr. Martin Luther King said at a commencement address at Oberlin College in 1965:
“We must find some alternative to war and bloodshed… I do not wish to minimize the complexity of the problems to be faced in achieving disarmament and peace. But we shall not have the courage, the insight, to deal with such matters unless we are prepared to undergo a mental and spiritual change. It is not enough to say we must not wage war. We must love peace and sacrifice for it. We must fix our visions not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but upon the positive affirmation of peace. We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, far superior to the discords of war.”
I believe the American people have the capacity to ‘undergo a mental and spiritual change’ that Dr. King spoke about. People are about that work in their own private lives everyday. The question is does our government and those who lead it have that capacity. Are we willing to look, recognize that the path we are on leads only to destruction and poverty and are we willing to embark courageously on a new path. To those who say that this is naïve, I ask has the strategy of military intervention which took us and keeps us in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya made us any safer? The muscle-bound “with us or against us” mindset which passes for statecraft has placed us on a march of folly that in the past decade has left America with thousands of dead young soldiers, over a million dead innocents in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the surrounding region, a new generation of terrorists and trillions upon trillions of dollars in debt. As poverty and war are twins, so are peace and prosperity.
Mindful of the disaster of spreading war and being an eyewitness as to how easily our country seems to be drawn into conflict, I traveled to Syria this year, to personally urge their leader to stop the violence, respect human rights, and begin a transition toward a democratic state.
I traveled to Lebanon afterwards to hear the concerns of leaders who also believe that the violence in Syria must stop and are concerned that if radical fundamentalism results in the overthrow of the government of Syria, the same fires will consume their own nation which developed a fragile political and social consensus after years of civil war.
I opposed the war in Libya, not only because it was unconstitutional, but it was and is unconscionable for America to precipitate or take sides in a civil war, spending perhaps billions in an ongoing war while we have so many pressing needs here at home. We went in because we were told a massacre could occur, yet civilian casualties in Libya mounted after the U.S. and NATO attacked.
Watch the whole address here: