The talk, sponsored by the HLS Democrats, was entitled “The Truth about Iraq.” Kucinich said that the concept of preemptive war was illegitimate and would actually result in increased danger to U.S. citizens.
Despite the speech being advertised as talk about Iraq, Kucinich opted to use the majority of his prepared time to extol upon the unified, peaceful world toward which he would strive if elected president.
Event organizer and HLS Democrats Vice President Ariel A. Neuman said that the topics covered by Kucinich were appropriate.
“The congressman had some issues he thought were important to the campaign, and those were the issues he chose to talk about,” said Neuman, a second-year law student.
Kucinich said that the United States is presently attempting to place itself above the global community, but that we should instead be equal partners in the world. To achieve that goal, he said, the United States needs to work with others to protect the environment and reduce nuclear proliferation. He called for the reinstatement of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the halt of funding for nuclear weapons and the end of the U.S. space weapons development program.
Kucinich also criticized what he said was a culture of war in America.
“War has infected our words, our thoughts, our deeds and our domestic and international actions,” he said.
To help change this tone, Kucinich said he would create a Department of Peace that would reach out to other nations to achieve worldwide goodwill—a proposal he sponsored in the House of Representatives in the summer of 2001.
“We can expand the power of the human heart far beyond where anyone ever thought it could go. That’s where I want to lead,” he said, after which the audience responded with a standing ovation.
Kucinich also said Americans should aim for peace at home by cutting down on crime and inequality before engaging in conflicts abroad.
After his initial remarks, Kucinich took questions from the audience about his presidential run and both foreign and domestic policies.
When asked about joining Ralph Nader on a presidential ticket, Kucinich responded that he did not foresee such a union.
“Let me make something absolutely clear,” Kucinich said. “My nomination will make Ralph Nader’s candidacy much less necessary.”
Kucinich spoke about Iraq when asked about his ideas by audience members. He said that the United States should turn over control of the rebuilding process to the United Nations.
He added that the nation needs to fund the U.N. peacekeeping effort and completely pay for the reconstruction of Iraq’s infrastructure and for reparations to those Iraqis that lost family members in the war.