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Monday, June 20, 2011

Fund U.S. communities — “bring ‘war dollars’ home” says USCM

Editing by Carolyn Bennett

BE IT RESOLVED, again: Not for Kandahar but for Kansas City, not Baghdad but Buffalo and Baltimore

A month ago, the City Council of Baltimore, Maryland, the city now hosting the 79th meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, unanimously approved and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake signed a draft U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) resolution calling on U.S. President Barack Obama and Congress to end the decade-long wars and “‘redirect military spending to domestic priorities.’”

“‘The severity of the ongoing economic crisis,’” the Baltimore statement said, “‘has created budget shortfalls at all levels of government and requires us to reexamine our national spending priorities.’ The American people ‘are collectively paying approximately $126 billion dollars to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan,’” Since the coalition attacks began “‘6,024 members of the U.S. armed forces have died in these wars and at least 120,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.’”

Over the weekend, the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Baltimore, representing mayors of more than 1,200 U.S. cities with populations exceeding 30,000, submitted several important resolutions. Among them was a resolution sponsored by 12 mayors again pointing to deep economic and social crises in U.S. towns and cities and “CALLING ON CONGRESS TO REDIRECT MILITARY SPENDING TO DOMESTIC PRIORITIES.” Its text —

1. WHEREAS, the severity of the ongoing economic crisis has created budget shortfalls at all levels of government and requires us to re-examine our national spending priorities; and

2. WHEREAS, the people of the United States are collectively paying approximately $126 billion dollars per year to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan; and

3. WHEREAS, 6,024 members of the U.S. armed forces have died in these wars; and at least 120,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the coalition attacks began.

4. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors supports efforts to speed up the ending of these wars; and

5. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors calls on the U.S. Congress to bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy.

Burnsville, Minnesota, Mayor Elizabeth Kautz, the outgoing president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said, “Safety at home should be the top priority and, along with that, it is about our economy and getting people back to work. It is about reinvesting in those efforts that will help us retain jobs and create jobs in our country.

Incoming president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa reflected, “That we would build bridges in Baghdad and Kandahar — and not in Baltimore and Kansas City — absolutely boggles the mind.”

Sources and notes

No. 59 Resolution Submitted by: The Honorable Kitty Piercy Mayor of Eugene, OR, The Honorable David Coss Mayor of Santa Fe; The Honorable Gayle McLaughlin Mayor of Richmond, CA; The Honorable Bob Kiss Mayor of Burlington; The Honorable R.T. Rybak Mayor of Minneapolis; The Honorable Frank C. Ortis Mayor of Pembroke Pines; The Honorable Matthew T. Ryan Mayor of Binghamton; The Honorable Joy Cooper Mayor of Hallandale Beach; The Honorable Brenda L. Lawrence Mayor of Southfield

Among PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS at 79th ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF MAYORS Baltimore, MD - June 17-21, 2011, http://www.usmayors.org/79thAnnualMeeting/documents/2011proposedresolutions.pdf

The U.S. Conference of Mayors in May released results of a 176-city survey showing 96 percent of U.S. mayors believe the federal government should increase spending on transportation infrastructure to reverse decades of underinvestment in cities.

“Ending wars, creating jobs, top mayors' agenda” (Tim Wheeler), June 14, 2011,

 “U.S. mayors call for end to Afghanistan war,” June 17, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/usdetail/185133.html

“Military spending on the agenda as US mayors meet” (Alex Dominguez, Associated Press), June 17, 2011, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110617/ap_on_re_us/us_mayors_conference_2

“The United States Conference of Mayors 79th Annual Meeting:  Baltimore, MD — First Time Since Vietnam War Nation’s Mayors Have Called For End to Military Engagement,”
Press Conference Friday, June 17, 2011, Press Conference Monday, June 20, 2011, (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110125/MM36443LOGO)

U.S. Mayors Announce Call to End Afghanistan War and Invest in Job Creation, June 17, 2011, http://gamutnews.com/20110617/27700/u-s-mayors-announce-call-to-end-afghanistan-war-invest-in-job-creation.html


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