A picture of Representative Dennis J. Kucinich
Dennis K.
Former Democrat OH 10
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    Urging European Union to Designate Hezbollah as a Terrorist Organization

    by Former Representative Dennis J. Kucinich

    Posted on 2012-12-31

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    KUCINICH of ohio in the house of representatives Monday, December 31, 2012 Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, I challenge the wisdom of House Resolution (H. Res. 834) which urges the governments of Europe and the European Union to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization and imposes sanctions.

    This resolution could have an effect opposite to that which was intended--to strengthen Israel. The UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the end of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel, is now being enforced by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with the participation of European governments. There are reports that Hezbollah has been cooperating with UNIFIL in stabilizing south Lebanon and that the relationships developed are channels for peaceful dialogue in the future.

    Asking Europe to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization could be counter-productive, increase dangers and lessen the effectiveness of European troops in UNIFIL. There will be adverse consequences of the resolution on the situation in south Lebanon.

    I have visited the region and have worked to end the conflict between Israel and Lebanon, even as it was starting. I offered a peace plan to try to end the war. I further visited Lebanon and Israel on after the war. I visited an apartment house in Qana, south Lebanon, which had been destroyed by a bomb which killed fifty women and children.

    I brought the bomb fragment back from the site and kept it on display in my office, together with three dog tags of kidnapped Israeli soldiers to remind of the great human tragedy of the conflict, and the suffering on all sides.

    The passage of this bill means that Congress must take up the responsibility of making sure that the Lebanese army is sufficiently equipped to protect the country.

    At this very moment America is roaming the world strenuously involved in promoting the Art of Governing. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Serbia, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and all points north and south, east and west, it is our State Department with its large plans, it is our Central Intelligence Agency with its drone strikes, our military by its active presence, our Defense Intelligence Agency, and our military contractors all of whom are the instructors involved in a show of unparalleled force to display not only American power but to make the case for American exceptionalism.

    If the machinations concerning the so-called fiscal cliff mean anything, they illustrate the conceit that somehow we have a right to tell others how to govern their affairs, and use our military to enforce our worldview. What is our case for democracy and cooperation elsewhere, if we have such difficulty practicing it or demonstrating it here at home? Where, with our unemployment, mortgage foreclosures, school closings, pension fund collapses, neighborhood violence, oh where is our showcase of democracy? For all of our foreign entanglements, our military occupations and preoccupations, our spy-in-the-sky-surveillance, death dealing from drones on high to those who we see as a threat, for all of this--we are not safer.

    We may in fact be less safe. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Al Queda has been strengthened by the US support for military action in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and by extrajudicial killings through the use of drones which are exacting a high toll on innocent civilians.

    John Quincy Adams once said America ``goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy''. How far we have journeyed from that wise aspiration of a Founding Father? To paraphrase Shakespeare's Cassius in Julius Caesar: `We act as a Colossus bestride the narrow world . . . and petty men walk under (our) huge legs.' It is an illusion.

    Through our endless interventions, we have lost our way in the wide world, by trying to conquer it. We cannot conquer the world. We cannot rule the world. We cannot be the policeman of the world. We cannot afford it militarily, financially or spiritually. American control of the fate of others in faraway land is an expensive fantasy and can no longer be indulged.

    We will spend trillions of dollars in pursuit of a war on terror, which has become like a war against apparitions which shift shapes, loyalties and directions, consumes lives and money and at the end we meet in the distorted mirror of our fears the prophecy of Walt Kelly's Pogo: ``We have met the enemy and he is us.'' The cost of the wars is a threat to our freedom. The money spent for war inevitably comes from pressing domestic needs for job creation, infrastructure rebuilding, education, health care, retirement security. Since 9/11 we have let fear set our priorities and that fear has cost us mightily. It is worth recalling President Eisenhower's full warning about the undermining of freedom which comes from out of control military spending: ``Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.'' The wars have been a disaster for innocent civilians. More than one million innocent Iraqis perished in a war based on lies, a war executed by an American president and vice president who flat out lied to the Congress, lied to the American people, lied to the media and escaped responsibility and accountability because we just moved on.

    We will never recover from the tragedy which we wrought upon the people of Iraq, we will never recover from the sordid legacy of torture, rendition, indefinite detention, we will never recover from the effects of 911 unless America has a deep, searching period of Truth and Reconciliation, where the principle decision-makers are required to come before a public tribunal to tell the truth or to face the consequences of their perfidy. We need such a process not only to set straight the historical record, but to remove the dark stain upon the soul of this nation which an unjust war fixes firmly.

    There must be a new role for America in the world, where we can work with the community of nations for comprehensive international law enforcement, to assure security abroad, and protection here at home with democratic governance through strengthening our community safety forces.

    This is much to be preferred to the architecture of the national security state here at home which increasingly requires American citizens to give up their civil liberties to achieve a measure of security. Big Brother is hard at work in America, assembling huge databases of personal information, warrantless wiretaps, tracking phone calls, emails and internet searches, watching closely with new networks of cameras, new sophisticated drone technology, observing everything but the US Constitution.

    Our right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure has been annihilated through the legal acrobatics of high technology.

    It was Benjamin Franklin who wrote ``Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.'' What is outermost in the conduct of our foreign affairs is a reflection of what is innermost in our domestic affairs. And what is innermost in ourselves becomes outermost in our families and our communities. This is the ironclad law of reciprocity in human affairs. It is not simply `do unto others as you would have them do unto you', but as you do unto others, so you do unto yourself.

    It may not be possible for the US to bring peace to anywhere except the U.S.

    Peace inside the United States is possible. Peace in our communities, our neighborhoods, our homes is possible. Yet the omnipresence of violence in our society mirrors the violence which the United States visits on nations across the globe.

    The fate of humanity is written not large in the sky, but in a cursive across the tablet of our heart. How bold we stand for peace and love in our daily lives informs the strength of the impulse of our hearts to radiate outward to establish new conditions of our existence and in the lives of each person we touch.

    The peace we claim for ourselves is the peace we can give to others. But it requires conscious thought in every moment. Peace necessarily involves a structured approach, within our lives, intersecting with the lives of others. An awareness of the consequences of our every action, how it affects us and how it affects others.

    This is not a theoretical exercise. For the past 16 years, this Congress has been my human relations workshop in which I have tested ideas of conflict resolution, of standing for truth, of fiercely engaging in debate, of moving forthrightly into partisan debates, of negotiating around partisanship, of alignment with another person on matters of personal interest, of even building friendships from the broken pieces of partisan battles.

    We are locked into a cultural matrix of thinking which produces violence and we are shocked when its heartbreaking effects emerge. It's ``Us vs. them'' thinking, the evocation of enemies, whoever they are.

    On a global level, this type of thinking justifies war and brings the slaughter of innocents.

    [[Page E2030]] Nationally it sows seeds for murder. Yet, war abroad and violence at home are not inevitable. We have it within our power to recreate America today. Are we not the land of the free, the home of the brave? Is there not something uniquely American which gives us the ability to transcend our woes and seek a more perfect union? Even at the darkest moment we Americans can stand bravely for our freedoms. Mindful of our inherent unity, we must break the ``US vs. them'' mindset and move beyond survival mode to security through cooperation.

    Let us create an organized structured approach to become architects of a new culture of peace, in our homes, our schools, our workplaces.

    This is what the ``Dept. of Peace'' (H.R. 808) is about. Let us establish that America's national security and peace at home includes jobs, housing, physical and mental health care, education, retirement security for all. We are, the land of the free, the home of the brave. Freedom and bravery, courage and democracy are our birthright, our inheritance, our destiny.

    And let us not propagate to Europe and the European community the fears which have infected this county. The Scriptures bid us to make peace with our brothers and sisters. This is the higher calling for the United States. This should be our new raison d'etre in the world and at home. God Bless America.


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