Will Cincinnati City Council Stand for Peace?

(Photo: Peacefuljewelry.com).

What a difference four years and 3,100 American deaths can make in changing people’s minds.

When Cincinnati City Councilman David Crowley introduced a resolution in February 2003 asking his fellow council members to take a stand opposing the impending war in Iraq, he couldn’t muster enough votes on the nine-member group to ensure passage so he dropped the matter.

Crowley and two fellow Democrats, Vice Mayor Alicia Reece and Councilwoman Minette Cooper, went on record supporting the Cities of Peace Resolution that had been passed by 93 other cities. The three council members held a press conference on City Hall’s steps to rally support, while hundreds of people sent e-mails to council, urging action. But with blind patriotism running high in the nation and memories of the 9/11 terrorist attacks still fresh, other local politicians strenuously avoided taking a public stance on the war due to fear of political backlash.

Now Crowley is preparing a resolution opposing President Bush’s military escalation in Iraq and his plans to send 21,500 more troops in the next few months. Crowley will introduce the resolution Monday at council’s Finance Committee meeting. With Reece and Cooper no longer on council, it’s unclear whether the measure will pass.

With Bush’s approval ratings at an all-time low and Republicans taking heavy losses in last fall’s election, mostly due to public disillusionment with the Iraq War, it’s no longer a politically risky move to oppose the U.S. occupation. For example, Mayor Mark Mallory recently took part in an anti-war march in Washington, D.C., while he was there for a convention.

Regardless, Crowley wants city council — especially his Democratic colleagues Jeff Berding, Laketa Cole, John Cranley and Cecil Thomas — to make their views known to their constituents.

It’s appropriate to introduce the resolution in the Finance Committee, Crowley said, because in addition to the war’s high cost in human lives, it’s also depleting resources that could benefit cities like Cincinnati. Since the war began, the city’s grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has decreased. The grants are allocated to help rebuild the urban core and provide critical housing services for the poor, the disabled, and for people with HIV/AIDS.

Between 2002 and 2007, Cincinnati experienced a decrease of $6.2 million in annual HUD funding levels, without accounting for inflation. By comparison, Congress has appropriated more than $250 billion to fund military operations and reconstruction in Iraq

To assuage possible criticism, Crowley’s resolution includes a provision that states, “supports the U.S. troops currently serving Iraq, as well as those that have previously served, and those that have been killed or wounded during such service, and their families.”

Council’s debate on the resolution is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Monday. Let the squirming and spinning begin.

— Kevin Osborne

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One Comment on “Will Cincinnati City Council Stand for Peace?”

  1. David Gallaher Says:

    As sympathetic as I am to the various methods of promoting peace, and as convinced as I am that war can never accomplish anything good, even if it is a war on an intangible, such as poverty, it is unethical for Clowncil to waste my tax money on votes like this.

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