Council delves in international affairs

Anti-Iraq war resolution finds support

A proposed Kaua’i County Council resolution opposing a preemptive strike by the United States against Iraq unless that country shows itself to be threat to America drew support from the majority of speakers at a council meeting yesterday.

During a meeting at the historic County Building, nearly ten people said the proposed legislation, if adopted, would allow the United Nation’s inspections process to continue.

The measure, they said, also could encourage the United States to look at peaceful options before going to war to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.

Only Eduardo Valenciana, a Kaua’i resident, and Biff Whiting, a retired Marine Corp officer and a Viet Nam veteran, opposed the resolution.

Valenciana said the council resolution didn’t reflect the community, only that of the body, and that the council should work only on issues related specifically to the island.

Whiting said action is needed now to remove Saddam Hussein because he, not the United States, has brought the world to the brink of war. “There comes a time for action,” Whiting said.

The council was poised to take action late yesterday afternoon, but took no vote on the resolution to incorporate some recommendations made by an audience member.

Many audience members and some council members, including JoAnn Yukimura and Joe Munechika, applauded council vice-chair James Tokioka for proposing the legislation.

They said if the measure were passed, it would support resolutions adopted by 117 cities from 20 states that oppose a preemptive strike and call for continued investigations by United Nations inspectors before war against Iraq is considered.

Some audience members wondered whether an approved resolution, which carries no legal weight and only expresses the wish of council, would stop the Bush administration from unilaterally going to war against Iraq.

Councilman Jay Furfaro said he and other council members respect the hundreds of thousands of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen who are in the Middle East now and are preparing for a possible war.

The resolution, including one passed by the Hawai’i state House of Representatives and those by other municipalities, could serve to foil a war, Furfaro said. “It is about dialogue that will satisfy the world community and our friends.”

The council resolution notes that a preemptive strike by America should not take place unless there is proof Iraq poses a threat to the Unite States, its security and its interest.

The resolution urged the Bush administration and Hawai’i congressmen to use “enlightened leadership” to work through the United Nations to have Iraq comply United Nations Resolution 1441.

The resolution calls for Iraq to disarm and to allow full UN weapons inspections.

The proposed resolution noted:

  • that diplomacy should be championed in getting Iraq to disarm peacefully and that a preemptive strike goes against international law and would destabilize the economies of the Middle East.
  • that while people in Hawai’i have embraced aloha, they have risen to America’s defense when the nation has been threatened “by outside forces.”
  • that residents of Kaua’i and Ni’ihau have the deepest respect for those willing to protect the country, but believe military action against Iraq will result in the deaths of thousands of civilians and cannot guarantee the safety of U.S. military personnel.
  • that Kaua’i and Ni’ihau residents support U.S. military personnel who combat global terrorism.
  • that should American military forces be sent to Iraq, “we give our unyielding support to our young men and women … even if we oppose the policy that sent them there.”
  • that the high cost of war – estimated by the U.S. Congressional Budget Office at between $9 and $13 billion a month – will result in a loss of federal funds for domestic programs.
  • that cities and towns in 20 states have passed resolutions opposing a preemptive strike.
  • that a newspaper poll showed 65 percent of Hawai’i’s residents are opposed to President Bush’s unilateral war with Iraq.

If the resolution is approved, copies of it will be sent to Bush and Hawai’i’s congressional team.

Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and lchang@pulitzer.net

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