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JANUARY 16, 2004
1:22 PM
CONTACT:  Kucinich.US
David Swanson 301-772-0210
Kucinich: Bush Administration Could Precipitate Uprising in Iraq

WASHINGTON - January 16 - Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich today warned that that Bush Administration is inviting the possibility of a major uprising in Iraq which could exact a devastating toll on American troops, as well as invite countless casualties among innocent Iraqi civilians.

“The Bush Administration is exposing our troops and innocent civilians to unacceptable and unnecessary danger,” said Kucinich. “For months the Administration has been aware of the possibility of massive protests over governance issues, which could lead to an uprising. Yet insists on trying to manipulate the structure of a new government in Iraq.

“A hundred and thirty thousand US troops are being asked to defend a emerging government structure which the US already knows is unacceptable to the leader of 15 million Shiite Muslims.

“For the past two months, the Administration has been warned that its continued insistence on shaping a new government runs the risk of precipitating a violent uprising against the US presence in Iraq, pitting millions of Iraqis against 130,000 US troops. The Administration has no right to expose US troops to this level of danger.

“The solution is to turn control of the process over to the United Nations. The lives of our troops and of innocent Iraqi civilians are on the line. Our nation’s financial resources are on the line. When US officials go to the United Nations on Monday, they must ask for a new resolution that would replace US troops with UN peace keepers. The way to make this possible is for the US to offer this 10-point program. Now is the time to act.

“The United States must ask the United Nations to manage the oil assets of Iraq until the Iraqi people are self-governing.

The United Nations must handle all the contracts: No more Halliburton sweetheart deals, No contracts to Bush Administration insiders, No contracts to campaign contributors. All contracts must be awarded under transparent conditions.

The United States must renounce any plans to privatize Iraq. It is illegal under both the Geneva and the Hague Conventions for any nation to invade another nation, seize its assets, and sell those assets. The Iraqi people, and the Iraqi people alone must have the right to determine the future of their country's resources.

The United States must ask the United Nations to handle the transition to Iraqi self-governance. The UN must be asked to help the Iraqi people develop a Constitution. The UN must assist in developing free and fair elections.

The United States must agree to pay for what we blew up.

The United States must pay reparations to the families of innocent Iraqi civilian noncombatants killed and injured in the conflict.

The United States must contribute financially to the UN peacekeeping mission.

The United Nations, through its member nations, will commit 130,000 peacekeepers to Iraq on a temporary basis until the Iraqi people can maintain their own security.

UN troops will rotate into Iraq, and all US troops will come home.

The United States will abandon policies of "preemption" and unilateralism and commit to strengthening the UN.”

Tens of thousands of protesters marched in Iraq yesterday to demand free elections. An aide to Iraq's most senior Shia cleric, the leader of 15 million Iraqis, warned that he may issue a fatwa against the new government proposed by the United States if the demand for free and direct elections is not met. The Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani would issue a ruling that his followers not cooperate with the new government. Hopefully such non-cooperation would be nonviolent, but the US intransigence sets the stage for a whole range of possibilities.

U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer III and a Governing Council delegation plan to discuss the situation in Iraq with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the U.N. Security Council on Monday.


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