Kucinich stumps in Hilo
He advocates cutting the president's funds to force troops home
HILO » The way to stop the war in Iraq is to cut off money to President Bush, Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Rep Dennis Kucinich told a Hilo audience yesterday.
"Mr. President, we're not going to give you another dime," said the Ohio congressman.
The president already has enough money to bring the troops home, he said.
Kucinich made the challenge -- as much to his fellow Democrats as to the president -- at an appearance at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
Kucinich will speak on Maui today and in Honolulu tomorrow.
President Bush is saying that troops cannot leave Iraq until benchmarks are met, but people do not realize that one of those benchmarks is turning control of Iraqi oil over to international oil companies, primarily those controlled by Americans, he said.
"We need Iraq to have control over its own oil resource," Kucinich said.
Kucinich advocated "strength through peace" and described a plan to bring peace to Iraq.
Not only troops, but also "mercenaries" and contractors should be removed from Iraq, he said.
Surrounding nations, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, should then meet in an international conference to bring reconciliation to Shiites and Sunnis, he said.
Kucinich referred to American shipments of $12 billion in $100 bills to Iraq in 2004, money that quickly disappeared with no accounting controls, as a "criminal enterprise."
An "honest" reconstruction program should follow a U.S. withdrawal, he said.
The Iraqi people should receive "reparations" for the deaths of innocent people, he said.
He referred to a study by the British medical journal the Lancet published 15 months ago that estimated 650,000 "excess deaths" in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in 2003.
Estimating an update for that figure, Kucinich said, "It is quite possible that 1 million innocent Iraqis have lost their lives due to the conflict that was started with a lie" regarding weapons of mass destruction.
Kucinich also touched on other issues, calling for universal health care, kindergarten instruction and college education, as well as rebuilding America's infrastructure and creating new energy systems.
Kucinich is skipping the island of Kauai this trip, but his wife, Elizabeth, visited the Garden Isle yesterday.
Kucinich's Hawaii schedule
» Today, noon, Maui County Democratic luncheon, Kahului
» Tonight, 7 p.m., Maui Community College, Kahului
» Tomorrow, 10:30 a.m., Queen Kaahumanu Mall, Kahului
» Tomorrow, 2 p.m., Department of Architecture, UH-Manoa
» Tomorrow, 7 p.m. Kaimuki High School
» Tomorrow, 8:30 p.m., fundraiser, Ala Moana Hotel