Bay Area city councils on record vs. attacking Iran

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OAKLAND, Calif. — In a resolution passed Nov. 6, the Oakland City Council declared its strong opposition to the Bush administration’s growing threats to attack Iran, and called on California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to lead efforts for Congress to exert its authority over U.S. military policy and funding.

The resolution, introduced by Councilmembers Jane Brunner and Nancy Nadel, passed unanimously.

“In a strategy eerily reminiscent of the lead-up to the Iraq war and occupation, the Bush administration and its congressional allies are using unreliable sources, exaggerated threat assessments, the selective use of information, questionable accusations about Iran’s nuclear program and its involvement in the violence against Iraq as centerpieces of their case to the American people for war against Iran,” the resolution said.

Citing the large numbers of U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians killed and grievously wounded in the war and occupation of Iraq, and the huge U.S. expenditures there, the measure emphasized that a new military campaign “can do nothing but further exacerbate international tensions, endanger the lives and livelihoods of millions of people both here and abroad, and do little or nothing to address the most serious problems facing the American people and humanity.” It called for “strong leadership in Congress to limit the war authority of the Bush administration with respect to encouraging any military action against Iran.”

The resolution’s passage was preceded by a public comment period during which close to 20 speakers, many of them Iranian Americans, expressed their support.

One of those speakers was Jacqueline Cabasso, an anti-nuclear weapons activist and U.S. representative of the worldwide anti-nuclear group Mayors for Peace.

Calling the resolution “an example of pre-emptive municipal diplomacy,” Cabasso said it follows in the U.S. tradition of cities adopting resolutions declaring themselves “nuclear-free zones” or divesting from apartheid South Africa.

Foreign policy is a local issue, she added, as people everywhere feel the effects of the Iraq war on jobs, health care, education and other vital services.

Also on Nov. 6, the Richmond City Council passed a measure urging area representatives in Congress to bar funding for military action against Iran without congressional approval, and urging them to back rapid troop withdrawal from Iraq.

mbechtel @pww.org