Council officially opposes war on Iraq, at least for now

Amid strong support from speakers at its meeting Thursday night, the Kaua’i County Council approved a resolution opposing an attack by the United States against Iraq unless that country proves it has nuclear and biological weapons that pose a threat to America.

The resolution was approved by a 7-0 vote of the council during its meeting at the historic County Building.

The council was ready to vote, but delayed a decision until later in the evening to incorporate amendments posed by an audience member.

The amendments generally spoke along the lines of supporting peaceful options rather than warfare with Iraq.

The first council resolution essentially asked President Bush to hold off an attack on Iraq until United Nations inspections are completed.

An attack is only warranted if evidence is produced that shows Iraq poses a threat to America’s security and interest, the resolution read.

Council vice-chair Jimmy Tokioka was commended by audience members and council members for having introduced the resolution.

Supporting the resolution, Councilman Joe Munechika said America should exhaust all options before going to war and to seek “U.N. consensus” to peacefully eliminate any Iraqi threats.

Munechika, a Viet Nam veteran, said American troops need to know that their country is behind them to avoid the division that existed in the country during the Viet Nam conflict.

Councilman Mel Rapozo, a 21-year veteran of the Hawai’i Air National Guard, said Bush is “my commander in chief” and that America should wait until a consensus is reached by the United Nations and then “we will do what needs to be done.”

While the resolution has merit, Rapozo said he didn’t think it would “change the president’s mind” about a potential war with Iraq.

Tokioka said he supported the measure because he felt it and similar legislation passed by 117 cities and the Hawai’i House of Representatives can persuade the nations leaders to take steps to avoid a war.

In thanking Tokioka for introducing the resolution, councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura said people on Kaua’i are concerned about the “cowboy” attitude of Bush and his apparent disregard for the U.N. process.

Yukimura said the resolution gives voice to the concerns of Kauaians and that she felt it represented the feelings of all residents of the island. Joining in support of the resolution was former council chair Ron Kouchi.

The resolution sparked opposition from two residents, one saying that some Iraqi citizens want the war to liberate them from the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein and the other saying the council should stick to county business only.

The resolution, which has no legal weight and only expresses a wish of the council, was to be sent to Bush and Hawai’i’s congressional team.

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

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