Monday, July 14, 2008

The City of Bellingham has some Nerve

Monday - July 14th, the City of Bellingham discusses the adoption of a Resolution in Opposing Military Intervention in Iran without the full approval of Congress. It is ratified by all councilors.

In summary, the City states that the Resolution is being submitted to the Bellingham City Council at this time out of a growing concern regarding a run-up to military intervention in Iran and the concern for the devastating cost in human lives and the fiscal cost to all America that such action could incur.

According to the Bellingham Herald, there is a similar resolution being circulated among mayors, but, only 34 mayors across the nation have signed the Resolution, which, in my opinion, doesn't demonstrate much support for the Resolution, considering that there are hundreds of thousands of mayors in this nation.

The Bellingham Resolution, introduced by Councilor Bornemann, contains 12 Whereas that recommend that the U.S. avoids taking a proactive position to stop nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. This recommendation is based on the assumption that Iran is not an imminent threat to the United States, U.S. troops in the Middle East and/or U.S. allies.

Bornemann bases his "no threat" theory on a 2007 NIE estimate that Iran froze it's nuclear weapons program in 2003, when the U.S. entered Iraq. However, the Resolution does not take into consideration the wealth of other classified intelligence that may contradict Bornemann's hypothesis.

The bill number is AB018043.

Why am I opposed to the City adopting this Resolution?

The U.S. Constitution provides a framework for the establishment of a stable and perpetual government. It limits the powers of each branch of federal and state governments, and establishes certain permanent rights for all free citizens.

Article III of the Constitution says "the states enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense for the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding them to assist each other, against all force offered, mentioning attacks by trade as well as war. Next, the Articles describe what a state or local government may not do in direct dealings with other nations, except in unison as agreed in Congress." In other words, the City of Bellingham does not have authority under the U.S. Constitution to initiate legislation on matters of foreign policy.

Chief Justice Marshall, of the Supreme Court, in McCulloch vs. Maryland (1819) wrote, “The government proceeds directly from the people; is ordained and established in the name of the people. Its powers are granted by them and are to be exercised directly on them for their benefit.” Hence, the role of government, whether local, state or national, is to serve the public interest by providing a means to do collectively, what individuals can not do alone.

In promoting the general welfare, government fosters equal opportunity for all Americans. But the role of government is not to guarantee success for every citizen; nevertheless, in America, government does have a duty to protect human rights, facilitate fairness of opportunity and stand firm against all forms of injustice.

Granted, the war in Iraq may have cost $500 billion and over 4,000 American lives. But each one of those 4,000 soldiers voluntarily chose to serve in Iraq - out of a sense of duty, cooperation, compassion and justice. Despite objections by family members and activists who are against the peace keeping mission in Iraq. Those soldiers did not sacrifice their lives to be used by Councilor Bornemann or the City as justification to avoid dealing fairly, but firmly with Iran.

I wonder, what the cost be, in human lives and dollars, if Iran or Iraq launched a nuclear attack against one of it's neighbors?

How many people will die in Israel and Palestine if Iran's new president makes good on his repeated promises to destroy Israel?

Should the U.S. and the United Nations stand by and allow Iran or any other nation to destroy a neighboring nation out of hatred? (We've been though this before in WW II - didn't we learn anything from that experience)?

Is genocide "acceptable" as long as its not taking place within our borders? (I guess so, we've tolerated enough of it in Africa and other politically charged nations). Is the practice of isolationism appropriate - when hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children are being murdered by their own governments?

Yes, there is a price tag associated in protecting humanity from nuclear proliferation and aggression. Sometimes, it costs lives. But U.S. soldiers are willing to pay that price, voluntarily, so the rest of us can sleep peacefully at night.

Councilor Bornemann has publicly stated that he is opposed to all military action in the Middle East. (As demonstrated by his past rants against the U.S. government involvement in Vietnam and Iraq). And, he is certainly entitled to his position on this issue, as long as he can demonstrate that he understands that other people have a right to disagree with him - and does not over-step his authority as a city councilor by taking advantage of his elected position to advance his own personal agenda.

Sorry Councilor Bornemann, but millions of Americans do not agree with you that the U.S. government used misinformation to inspire U.S. aggression in Vietnam and Iraq.

A local blogger, “Wally Wonders Why” asks readers, is the City's Resolution subversive? Perhaps...

After all, the City of Bellingham is adopting a Resolution that calls the federal government (democrats and republicans alike) a "pack of liars" who use misinformation to fan the flames of military aggression abroad.

Shame on the City of Bellingham!

My advice to the City, focus your attention on legislation that you have the statutory authority to adopt. The people of Bellingham did not elect you to introduce or pass legislation matters of national security or foreign policy.

If Councilor Bornemann wants to tackle federal issues, he should run for the U.S. Senate or for U.S Congress. If Bornemann truly enjoys the political support that Sam Taylor at the Bellingham Herald and others claim he has, then he will be elected as a federal representative and can legitimately introduce legislation on matters of foreign policy.

What’s the harm in indulging Mr. Bornemann’s whim?

Bellingham is a diverse City, populated by citizens who work for the federal government, served in the U.S. Military or who have immigrated to America to escape the violence, suppression of basic human rights in other nations. Those citizens will not attend tonight's meeting. Sadly, we've been taught by this and other administrations that opposing opinions are not welcome at the City of Bellingham.

Some of our "neighbors" have family members who live, work and/or attend school in Middle East.

I would hope that the Mayor and City Councilors can demonstrate a modicum of empathy for constituents who have family members who live or are stationed in the Middle East. Despite claims to the contrary, not all families or soldiers oppose military intervention in Iraq.

Once again, the City of Bellingham has no legal authority to introduce legislation on matters of national security or foreign policy. This renders the City's Resolution useless. It may allow a certain segment of the population to feel good, but it has no bearing or influence on decisions made at the federal level.

City Councilors - please do not insult me or other members of my family by telling the President of the United States that you represent my views on foreign affairs. Nothing could be further from the truth - and I did not authorize you to act on my behalf on national or international issues. I'm not someone that you can use to advance your own personal agenda on Iraq or Iran. Nor did I elect you to perform this function.

And this comes from a city resident who grew up on military bases during the Vietnam War. No one, including me, who has first hand knowledge of the destructiveness of war; chooses war - unless all other choices have been systematically eliminated. Military families understand what it means to have a loved one deployed to a nation that is torn apart by hatred. We have been dealing with the mixed feelings of pride and fear for generations.

I have not forgotten all of the dads who were killed in missions during Vietnam. Nor will I allow my name to be attached to Mr. Bornemann’s spiteful resolution. In our little neighborhood at K.I. Sawyer AFB in Michigan, 5 dads were killed or were listed missing in action in a 12 month period. Those men died to protect the national interests of the United States of America. They died to protect Mr. Bornemann's right to express his opinion freely, without censorship, or fear of retaliation. But those men and women did not sacrifice their lives so that Mr. Bornemann and other anti-war protesters could use them as bargaining chips against the government of the United States of America.

Those soldiers were placed in harm's way by Democrats and Republicans alike. (A number of Presidents from both political parties have placed peace keeping troops/policing forces in nations that are torn apart by civil war and cultural strife.

I hate to rain on the City's parade, but Congress has historically provided amble funding for peace keeping efforts in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Congress has also provided funding for military peace keeping operations in Africa and other parts of the Middle East as requested by former President Clinton and President Bush Sr. and Jr.

Iran and Iraq are not the same. Comparing the two nations is like comparing apples to oranges.

The least we can do as citizens, is demonstrate a solemn respect for the sacrifices U.S. and United Nations forces have made on our behalf, regardless of our personal poltical position on Vietnam, Iraq or U.S. intervention in the Middle East.

Personally, I appreciate knowing that the United Nations, including the United States, is committed to preventing the horror of international nuclear Holocaust. And, yes, prevention costs money. Lots and lots of money. The deployment of peace keeping troops is expensive. Do I wish the world was different? That we could all learn to live together peacefully, without hatred, jealousy and spite? Of course I do.

But last time I checked, nuclear fallout is no respecter of the practice of pacifism, opposing religious/cultural beliefs or international borders. Unfortunately, nuclear war, and it's accompanying radioactive fallout remains an equal opportunity killer.

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