Council joins 110 U.S.communities in opposing Iraqi war
Lansing City Council voted unanimously on Monday to take a stance against
war in Iraq, calling upon President Bush to pursue all peaceful diplomatic
alternatives possible. Lansing became one of the latest of 110 cities
and counties to have adopted pro peace resolutions.
Antiwar resolutions have passed in many liberal bastions like Ann Arbor,
Boulder, Colo., Cambridge, Mass., and Berkeley, Calif., where opposition
to government policy is a tradition. But places known for less radical
politics have also been voting for peace, from big cities like Los Angeles,
Chicago and Tampa to smaller ones like Fairbanks, Alaska, and Grants
Of the 110 local governments to approve antiwar resolutions, nine are
in Michigan: Lansing, Ann Arbor, Brown Township, Detroit, Ferndale,
Kalamazoo, Manistee County, Pleasanton Township and Traverse City. There
are campaigns underway in another 14 Michigan communities. This means
that taken together, Michigan ranks second nationally only to California
in its expression of antiwar sentiment through governmental resolutions.
City Council approved the following peace resolution, 7-0, at its
Feb. 24 meeting:
WHEREAS, the Lansing City Council cannot speak for all residents,
but has been asked by many residents to speak out on this momentous
issue facing our nation;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Lansing City Council urges
the United States government to pursue all peaceful diplomatic alternatives
to disarm Iraq.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Lansing City Council calls on the
United States to support the renewal and full completion of the
United Nations inspections in Iraq.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Lansing City Council, hereby, urges
President Bush to continue seeking a peaceful resolution of issues
with Iraq and advises against a preemptive military attack on Iraq
unless it is demonstrated that Iraq poses a real and imminent threat
to the security and safety of the United States.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Lansing City Council gives its unconditional
support to United States military personnel serving at home and
abroad in their tireless fight against global terrorism, and should
the military forces be sent to Iraq, the Council gives its unwavering
support to our young men and women serving in our nations
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Lansing City Clerk send a copy of
this resolution to President Bush and each member of the Michigan
a co-organizer of the Greater Lansing Network against War in Iraq, said
she was glad to see that Lansing had passed a peace resolution. Thats
pretty good, and I can now definitely put this on my banner, she
said. The peace network, which represents 35 organizations in the area,
has been mobilizing against the war since November 2002. They sent buses
of demonstrators to Washington, organized local and statewide rallies,
held numerous peace vigils and asked local governments to pass antiwar
Monteith, a minister for the ecumenical Fellowship for Today in East
Lansing, said she had been concerned that City Council might not see
the urgency of taking sides. But the groundswell against George W. Bushs
plans for a preemptive strike have obviously found a strong echo in
this region, apparently enough to affect local politics. About 2,000
protesters marched from MSU to the Capitol on Feb. 15, making it the
largest demonstration since the Vietnam War.
The trustees of Lansing Community College may join City Council in approving
an antiwar resolution. Trustees will consider one next week at a work
To expand their efforts, several Michigan peace groups, including GLNAWI,
have recently formed a statewide network, called the Michigan Network
for Peace and Against War in Iraq. Michigan activists presented their
antiwar agenda for the next four weeks at a Capitol press conference
on Feb. 21, announcing massive efforts to ask U.S. representatives
and senators to repeal the October 2002 authorization to go to war.
They called for antiwar rallies on Saturday, March 1, in each of Michigans
83 counties. They also plan to organize pro peace rallies in 200 local
towns, schools, colleges, and union halls on March 15, followed by a
statewide rally that same afternoon at the State Capitol.
co-organizer Mike Doyle, says he thinks that this war can still be stopped.
A retired Army lieutenant colonel, Doyle said he doesnt believe
Secretary of State Colin Powell (whom he knew as a captain when they
served together at Fort Benning, Ga.) or any of his former military
comrades really support the war against Iraq. Its archaic
we punish the Iraqis to the point where theyre in dire
straits. Its like being an alcoholic and recovering. How far down
do you have to go before you start to come back?
Doyle said the U.S. government should rather spend money to support
the recovery of education, science and industry in an already destroyed
country. When I asked him if he thought American soldiers might desert
in order to avoid participating in unjustified death intervention, Doyle
said that in this respect he saw parallels with discussions currently
underway in the Israeli army, where an increasing number of soldiers
are deserting. I know of high ranking officers deserting, because
they say they were hired to control the enemies of this country, not
to shoot up homes.
Another unusual Michigan antiwar activist, Mark Powell, a Republican
delegate from Grand Ledge, said the war in Iraq was immoral. Presidents
Bushs dismissal of worldwide concerns in order to support his
current policies reminds me of a quote from Albert Camus, To justify
himself, each relies on the others crime. America can do
better. Powell said he knew several Republican colleagues in the
House for Representatives who were questioning Bushs foreign policy.
But they dont feel that they can say this publicly, for
fear of their political futures. Powell said this might change
with more Republicans like him standing up to articulate concerns. When
the history books are written 50 years from now, I want them to say
that Mark Powell stood up at the time when America needed him the most.
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