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Berkeleyan

Bush’s worldview ‘leaves war inevitable,’ Kucinich says
Democratic presidential contender spoke on campus last week

| 30 April 2003

 

kucinich

Dennis Kucinich
Puneet Kakkar photo

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) castigated the Bush Administration for what he called its “national insecurity strategy” last week in a speech to a packed room in LeConte Hall. Kucinich, a declared Democratic presidential candidate and prominent critic of the war in Iraq, was invited to speak by the Faculty Peace Committee; he delivered the keynote address of an antiwar teach-in sponsored jointly by the committee and the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition.

In a scene reminiscent of earlier days on the Berkeley campus, about a hundred people stood outside LeConte Hall waiting to hear the words of an antiwar activist while other activists handed out newsletters and leaflets to the crowd. Once inside, the overwhelmingly supportive audience listened approvingly as Carlos Munoz, professor emeritus of ethnic studies and a member of the Faculty Peace Committee, praised Kucinich for his opposition to the war in Iraq and his commitment to finding peaceful solutions to America’s foreign-policy challenges.

Kucinich’s speech, entitled “Reclaiming our Democracy,” resonated with the sympathetic crowd of 300 students, faculty, and community members. The Bush Administration’s tendency to see the world in black-and-white terms, Kucinich said, shows that they are “committed to a view of the world that leaves war inevitable.” By contrast, he said, working through the United Nations and creating a cabinet-level Department of Peace would lead to a more secure America. “Now is the time,” Kucinich declared, “to set aside war as an acceptable policy doctrine.”

Kucinich’s central concern, repeatedly expressed in his speech, was the “militarization of thought” in American society. The resources allocated to the expanding military budget, he said, could be better used to provide health care and retirement security to all Americans. According to Kucinich, America is on the verge of becoming “the Sparta of the 21st century, armed to the teeth, but without the capacity to care for our own people.”

After the speech, Kucinich — rated by a recent Field Poll as the first-choice presidential candidate of just 1 percent of registered Democrats statewide — joined Chancellor Berdahl and 20 members of the Faculty Peace Committee at the Faculty Club for lunch.