By Dennis Kucinich
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement detailing why he voted against the National Defense Authorization Act.
“The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 4310, authorizes a total of $642.7 billion. According to Congressional Quarterly, defense spending is expected to constitute nearly 60% of all federal discretionary spending this year. This expensive piece of legislation is a bad investment. It doubles down on war as an economic engine at a time when our domestic economy desperately needs attention.
“H.R. 4310 includes language that paves the way for war with Iran. It specifically calls for aggressive deployment of our armed services to begin ‘credible, visible preparations for a military option.’ It directs the Secretary of Defense to pre-position the U.S. Armed Forces in key locations in the Middle East in order to threaten Iran. It specifically authorizes actions ‘including military action if required.’ I strongly supported an amendment by Representative John Conyers, Jr. that clarified that nothing in the underlying bill authorizes war with Iran. The acceptance of that amendment was a critical victory, but the bill still prepares for war, making war more likely.
“The inclusion of this threatening language ignores the facts; The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as U.S. and Israeli intelligence, have all agreed that Iran does not currently have a nuclear bomb, is not building a nuclear weapon and does not have plans to do so. Both U.S. and Israeli officials also agree that a strike on Iran would only delay their nuclear program and actually encourage them to pursue a nuclear weapon.
“In addition saber-rattling and preparing for war with Iran, the NDAA includes language that could undermine our diplomatic relationship with Russia and thwart the implementation of the historic Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) follow-on. It contained language, adopted without a recorded vote in the middle of the night, that singles out Russia by limiting the availability of funds for Cooperative Threat Reduction Activities with Russia until the Secretary of Defense ‘can certify that Russia is no longer supporting the Syrian regime...’
“In addition to the $1.3 trillion we have already spent on the war in Afghanistan, H.R. 4310 authorizes an additional $88.5 billion to continue the war and the general war on terror. By continuing to authorize funds for this increasingly unpopular war, Congress is demonstrating just how woefully out of touch it is with the American public. A recent poll by the Associated Press showed that less than 25% of the American public support the war.
“It’s time for America to come home, to stop waging wars abroad, to focus on our own needs at home, to stop roaming the world looking for dragons to slay. This piece of legislation is out of touch with who we are as a nation.”
This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/kucinich-ndaa-who-we-are-nation-1337614419. All rights are reserved.