Our Troops Are Stationed in the Wrong Gulf
Dennis Kucinich speaking from the Floor of the House
Link to this entry in the Congressional Record
Sep 2, 2005
Speaking in support of H.R. 3645, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act to Meet Immediate Needs Arising from the Consequences of Hurricane Katrina, 2005, Congressman Kucinich said:
“Mr. Speaker, the amount of money that the House just appropriated is only a fraction of what is needed, and all Members know that. Let it go forward quickly, with bipartisan cooperation and with heartfelt thanks to those helping to saving lives with necessary food, water, shelter, medical care and security.
“Congress must also demand accountability with the appropriations because until there are basic changes in the direction of this government, this tragedy will multiply to apocalyptic proportions.
“The administration said yesterday no one anticipated the breach of the levees. Did the administration not see or care about the 2001 FEMA warning about the risk of a devastating hurricane hitting the people of New Orleans? Did it not know or care that civil and Army engineers were warning for years about the consequences of failure to strengthen the flood control system? Was it aware or did it care that the very same administration which decries the plight of the people today cut from the budget tens of millions needed for Gulf area flood control projects?
“Countless lives have now been lost throughout the South in the cost of hundreds of billions in ruined homes, businesses and the destruction of entire physical and social infrastructure.
“The President said a couple of hours ago that the Gulf Coast looks like it has been obliterated by a weapon. It has. Indifference is a weapon of mass destruction. Our indifferent government is in a crisis of legitimacy. If it continues to ignore its basic responsibilities for the health and economic welfare of the American people, will there ever be enough money to clean up after their indifference?
“As our government continues to squander the human and monetary resources of this country on the war, people are beginning to ask: Is it not time we begin to take care of our people here at home? Is it not time that we rescue our own citizens? Is it not time that we feed our own people? Is it not time that we shelter our own people? Is it not time that we provide physical and economic security for our own people? And is it not time that we stop the oil companies from profiting from this tragedy?
“We have plenty of work to do here at home, and it is time for America to come home and take care of its own people who are drowning in the streets, suffocating in the attics, dying from exposure to the elements, oppressed by poverty and illness, racked with despair by hunger and thirst.
“The time is now to bring back to the United States the 78,000 National Guard troops currently deployed overseas. Many of our troops are already stationed in the wrong Gulf.
“The time is now to bring back to the U.S. the equipment needed to search and rescue for clean up and reclamation. The time is now for Federal resources, including closed Army bases, to be used for temporary shelter for those who have been displaced by the hurricane. The time is now to plan massive public works with jobs going to the people of the Gulf Coast States to build new levees, bridges, roads, libraries, schools, colleges and universities, and to rebuild all public institutions, including hospitals. Medicare ought to be extended to everyone so every person can get the physical and mental health care they need as a result of the disaster.
“The time is now for the Federal Government to take seriously the research of scientists who have warned for years about the dangers of changes in the global climate, and to prepare other regions of the country for other possible weather disasters until we change our disastrous energy policies. The time is now to change our energy policies, to end the domination of oil and fossil fuel, and to invest heavily in alternative energy, including wind and solar, geothermal and biofuels.
“As bad as this catastrophe will prove to be, it is in fact only a warning. Our government must change its direction. It must become involved in making America a better place to live, a place where all may survive and thrive. It must get off the path of war and seek the path of peace, peace with a natural environment, peace with other nations, peace through a just economic system.”