Howie Hawkins for Syracuse Councilor At-Large

The War in Iraq and its consequences for Syracuse

Syracuse: The Poverty Capital of America is a Casualty of US Militarism

The Iraq war is just the tip of the iceberg of US militarism.

US now spends $1 trillion a year on the US military when military expenditures in all departments in addition to Defense and interest on the debt for past military spending are counted.

US war spending is robbing American cities like Syracuse of funds needed for schools, housing, health care, infrastructure, environment, and the elimination of poverty.

Some facts about the local costs of the war and militarism:

War Taxes
War taxes paid by Syracuse residents since the Afghan and Iraq wars were launched:
Over $200 million for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan
Over $1 billion for overall military expenditures.

Syracuse has the highest black poverty rate (42.5% in 2005) of America's 100 largest cities.
Syracuse has the third highest overall poverty rate (31.3% in 2005) of America's 100 largest cities.
45% child poverty rate in 2005.

Fiscal Crisis
The city faces a long-term structural deficit necessitating repeated cuts in city services.
More than half of city property is tax exempt ? including federal, state, and county government buildings, Syracuse University, and the four big medical complexes.
Over 40,000 suburbanites commute to the city, largely to tax-exempt institutions, use city services, and pay no taxes for them.

Underfunded Schools
Repeated staffing and program cuts since 1996.
The lowest per student spending of the Big Five city school districts in New York State.
50% dropout rate from city schools.
Adult literacy: 27% functionally illiterate; 24% barely literate.

Destruction of Affordable Housing
60% of Syracuse residents live in rental housing.
48% of Syracuse renters pay more than 30% of income in rent.
No new public housing projects in decades.
Syracuse has thousands of abandoned houses and empty lots.
The city has lost over one-third of its population.
Harrison House and Townsend Tower - low-income rental projects built with tax breaks for developers that are now slated for conversion to market rates.
The Kennedy Square project on E. Fayette St. also built as low-income housing with tax breaks for developers, now slated for appropriation by SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Mass Incarceration
Note the "Justice" Center to the North of the Everson Plaza Rally, the only "public housing" built in Syracuse in decades and now overflowing its capacity.

Environmental Racism
Instead of federal infrastructure funding to separate the 100 year-old combined sewage and rain runoff sewer lines, chlorine swirler sewage treatment plants are being forced on Syracuse's poorest neighborhoods with predominantly black and latino residents.

Greens Support GI Resistance

Support GI Resistance! Vote Green to Stop the War!

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) has resolved to support and protect service members who resist this war.

The Green Party supports this strategy of GI resistance. The Democratic and Republican parties will never do that.

Mass civilian marches, rallies, and civil disobedience - by themselves - will not end the US military occupations in the Middle East. Civilian protest alone did not end the US occupation of Vietnam.

It was the combination of civilian protest, GI resistance, and indigenous resistance in Vietnam - each element encouraging the others - that forced the US to withdraw. The same combination is needed to force a full US military and corporate withdrawal from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East.

Democrats Support Bush's War

The Democrats claim - and the corporate media dutifully echoes this myth - that they don't have the two-thirds votes they need to override a Bush veto of a bill to stop the war.

In fact, all the Democrats need is a simple majority to vote down the $190 billion war supplemental Bush requested this week, which they have in both houses of Congress.

Indeed, in the Senate, the Democrats could filibuster the war supplemental with just 41 of the 100 Senators. But the Democratic leadership won't vote to cut off funds for the war because, in fact, they support the war. The Democrats in Congress voted to authorize the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and have voted through five supplemental war spending bills since 2003.

The Democratic leadership in Congress has already capitulated again for FY 2008. They've made it clear that they won't vote down the pending $190 billion war supplemental. In fact, even before the supplemental passes in October or November, they have committed to voting through a Defense Department appropriation for FY 2008 beginning October 1 with a provision that allows the Pentagon to move money between accounts, thus allowing funding for the war to continue.

Instead of voting down war spending supplementals, the Democrats have postured against the war in a cruel charade of voting for troop withdrawal deadlines attached to supplementals that they know Bush will veto. They do this in order to allow some Democrats to go on record against the war when they know full well this approach won't stop the war.

The harsh reality is that the Democratic leadership supports the bipartisan foreign policy goal of military-industrial elites: US military bases and occupation of the Middle East and Caspian Basin in order to dominate the world by dominating the region with most of the world's oil.

Democrats' "Iraqization" Policy

The Democratic leadership criticizes Bush for his "incompetence" and "mishandling" of the war, not that the war is wrong.

The leading Democratic presidential candidates (Clinton, Obama, Edwards) all call for "redeploying" only "combat units" out of Iraq, leaving tens of thousands of US troops in Iraq to continue the occupation, staffing the massive military bases the US built, training the army and police of the Iraqi puppet government, and providing the air war, advisors, and special forces to support the Iraqi government's army and police.

At the September 26 Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards would not even commit to withdrawing all combat units of Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013. Democratic "redeployment" will escalate the US military profile throughout the Middle East - in Kuwait and Qatar, in a new military surge in Afghanistan, and possibly expanding on the 3000 US special forces already deployed to the Somalia occupation, or in a new war on Iran.

The leading Democratic presidential candidates all call for expanding US troops by 100,000 more soldiers and Marines, which will be used to sustain the occupations of the Middle East. None of these Democrats call for cuts in the $1 trillion US military budget.

The Democratic leadership has made it clear it will implement an Iraqization of the Iraq war similar to Nixon's Vietnamization of the Vietnam War - US ground troops draw down gradually while US air power and military trainers and advisors and special forces continue the war by supporting allied local forces conducting ground missions. The US is already moving in this direction: US bombs dropped on Iraq are up five-fold in 2007 over 2006.

Green Party Peace Slate in '08

Most of the peace movement has supported the Democrats as the "lesser evil" in hopes of stopping the war - under the slogan Anybody But Bush in 2004 for Kerry who campaigned for 40,000 more "boots on the ground" in Iraq, and under the slogan Take Back Congress in 2006 for Democrats who have since refused to use their majorities in both houses to vote down war funding.

The Democrats don't stop the war because they believe they can take the peace movement for granted. They believe we have nowhere else to go in elections.

The Green Party gives the peace movement somewhere else to go.

The Green National Committee resolved this year to run an all-out presidential campaign to make the peace and justice movement a strong, independent force in the 2008 presidential election in all 50 states and DC.

The Green Party of New York State is looking for candidates to run against any and all of the incumbent Representatives in Congress in 2008 who voted for war funding in 2007.