The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Monday for a resolution recalling the 9-11 tragedy, which occurred six years ago today.
The resolution was far more responsible than those offered in past years by Republican House leaders bent on using the commemoration to score political points. Unfortunately, the vote was scheduled for the day on which the Bush administration and its congressional allies had cynically scheduled the testimony of General David Petraeus, as part of an effort to link the failed occupation of Iraq with the “war on terror” that the president launched in a supposed response of the attacks of September 11, 2001.
The administration’s latest attempt to establish a “connection” between 9-11 and the Iraq quagmire is expected to culminate later this week with a pro-war speech by Bush to the nation.
This White House has exploited the memory of 9-11 in so many inappropriate and dangerous ways that it is hard to muster the energy to complain any longer. But one House member used his vote on the 9-11 resolution to object to the shameless actions of the Bush team.
Some 334 House members – 180 Democrats, 154 Republicans – voted for the measure. Another 94 – 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans – abstained. The solitary “no” vote was cast by Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich.
Just back from a trip to the Middle East, and more upset than ever by the failure of official Washington to promote peace rather than to stir tensions, Kucinich explained that, “I honor the memory of those who died on September 11 and extend sympathies to their family members and to those who lost their lives trying to save lives.”
But the congressman and Democratic presidential candidate added, “I believe the best way to honor the memory of those who died on September 11 is to tell the truth of what the Administration did in the wake of September 11. The Bush Administration launched a war against Iraq, conflating the true tragedy of September 11 with lies about weapons of mass destruction.”
“On this, the sixth anniversary of September 11, it is important that Congress wake up to the truth and exercise its obligation under the Constitution to save our nation from being destroyed from the lies that took us into Iraq, the lies that keep us there, the lies that are being used to set the stage for war against Iran and the lies that have undermined our basic civil liberties here at home The September 11 resolution that Congress considers today should have made reference to those matters. It does not, so I cannot support it,” added Kucinich.
“This Administration long ago politicized the September 11 attacks, distorted it and dishonored it. If Congress really wanted to honor the memory of those who died on September 11, we would cause the full truth to be told to the American people. If Congress really supported our troops we would bring them home and not provide more funding for the war.”
Kucinich will not get much credit for trying to insert some nuance into the discussion. But his is surely an appropriate response to politicization of this solemn day.
John Nichols’ new book is