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Council takes up anti-war resolution

City could adopt anti-war resolution

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON Feb. 4, 2003 

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Dissent over a new war in Iraq has taken a decisive turn toward local institutions of government over the last few weeks as city councils around the country have passed resolutions expressing opposition to a new war coupled with concerns about the possible effects of a pre-emptive attack. According to the Institute of Policy Studies, 57 cities and counties have passed resolutions opposing war and at least that many have campaigns currently underway.

Bloomington's City Council will consider such issues at their weekly meeting Wednesday.

"I think it is extremely appropriate for the elected leaders of the community to voice our reservations about this incredibly important issue that affects our local communities, our state, nation and world," said Andy Ruff, councilman at large and sponsor of the resolution. "Our local expression of that through the tool of resolution is entirely appropriate and now is a critical time to exercise that right and responsibility."

If the resolution passes on Wednesday, Bloomington will join Gary as the only other city in Indiana to adopt such a measure. Gary's city council voted unanimously for an anti-war resolution Jan. 7, almost one week prior to when Gary's neighbor to the north, Chicago, voted 46 to 1 for a resolution against "a pre-emptive U.S. 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."

Chicago is the largest city to date to pass an anti-war resolution. Ann Arbor, Mich., Madison, Wis., and Burlington, Vt., are among the cities of comparable size and character to Bloomington that have passed anti-war resolutions.

"No one to date has articulated why war in Iraq is in the best interests of the American citizens," said Alex Cherry, a councilman from Gary and co-sponsor of their resolution. "I felt as a legislator we had a responsibility to let opposition be known."

Cherry, who is a veteran of the Air Force, said there were a number of reason why cities should oppose a new war.

"From what I'm reading, the war would cost anywhere from 200-500 billion dollars. We're sitting here with a grossly underfunded education system and problems with health care for the poor and elderly," Cherry said in an interview. "I don't see how we can afford it."

Ruff said the cost of the war is also an important reason why the city council should vote in favor of the resolution.

"This war is going to have to be paid for. But I don't think it will be paid by tax increases," Ruff said. "This war is going to be paid for by deficit spending and cuts in spending, which will filter down to the local level."

The Bloomington resolution, which is based on a modified version of the one adopted by Chicago, says, in part "Diplomatic efforts have not been exhausted; war would cost billions a month and take money away from other important programs; the Bush administration has not articulated a clear objective and has not garnered support of important allies." It resolves that members of the council should "oppose a pre-emptive attack against Iraq without convincing proof of a clear and imminent threat to the national security of the United States." Council support for the nation's armed forces is also outlined in the resolution.

Ruff, meanwhile, said that he worked with other council members on the resolution and he expects it to pass. He also said a majority of his constituents would back the resolution.

Cherry, the Gary councilman, said he hopes the Bloomington council passes the resolution.

"I think they should think not just about being Bloomington or small city in Indiana, but as all of us

as Americans," he said. "We have a responsibility to speak out to let people know how we feel about the war."

 

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