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Maya Schenwar: Interview With Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Interview With Rep. Dennis Kucinich


by Maya Schenwar,
t r u t h o u t | Interview

Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced a new article of impeachment against President Bush in the House last Thursday. In a single, pointed resolution, he charged the president with lying to Congress about the presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq, in order to obtain permission for a US attack.

In the hour before Kucinich brought his resolution to the floor, he sat down with Truthout for an interview.
We discussed the politics of justice, the quest for peace and the rationale for holding the administration accountable for its decisions on Iraq.

"The case for war was based on fraud," he said. "That's the core charge in this impeachment resolution. And it just takes one article to be able to force the administration and the president to the consequences of their deceit."

No one said impeachment would be an easy fight. House leadership has repeatedly stated its distaste for the idea, and even some progressive Congress members have shied away from taking such a forceful stand against the president, late in his last term. But Kucinich isn't big on easy fights: He is fond of quoting Spanish philosopher Miguel De Unamuno, who said, "Only he who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible."

Kucinich may be making some headway on the "impossible," this time around. The morning of our interview, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had previously dismissed impeachment as "off the table," told reporters that Kucinich's resolution may well reach the Judiciary Committee for a hearing.

Even if impeachment is ultimately achieved, it's doubtful that the congressman will sit tight for long. Kucinich's pesky habit of dreaming big extends beyond impeachment. In our interview, he elaborated on one of his most broad-ranging dreams: the establishment of a federal Department of Peace, the scope of which would range from developing diplomatic solutions to tough international conflicts, to preventing domestic violence, to providing support for peer mediation in schools.

Envisioning a shift from fear and defensiveness to peaceful cooperation, Kucinich points to the US's historical ideals of liberty and democracy - as delineated by the Constitution - as models for moving into the future.

"9/11, as a metaphor, has plunged this country into a very fear-based approach to policy," he said. "But that's not really who we are ... The Department of Peace is aimed at reestablishing peace as a central theme in our society."

The congressman emphasizes that he is not deterred by the rampant, unceasing violence currently wracking our country and our world. Rather, he quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson, saying, "Every jet of chaos which threatens to exterminate us is convertible by intellect into a wholesome force."

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Maya Schenwar is an editor and reporter for Truthout.

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