Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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City Council calls for end to Iraq war

The Daily Northwestern

Evanston City Council adopted a resolution 8-1 Monday, calling for the withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq, a decision that received a standing ovation from onlookers.

Nearly 150 people attended the council meeting, many wearing blue and white buttons reading “Troops out now” and signs declaring “Billions for hurricane victims, not for war” and “A war based on lies is NOT a noble cause.” About 50 of the attendees watched from outside the city council chamber.

The Democratic Party of Evanston brought the resolution to the city’s human relations department after passing it at their own board. The organization hoped to add to growing pressure on Washington caused by similar resolutions across the country, said board member Sue Schell. The council passed a revised version of the party’s resolution.

Chicago City Council adopted a similar resolution this week, making Chicago the largest city in the United States to do so.

“If we have city after city speaking out, hopefully Washington will have to take notice,” Schell said.

Evanston’s resolution is largely symbolic, much like the resolution the council passed in May 2003 opposing the Patriot Act. Ald. Edmund Moran (6th) cast the dissenting vote.

“I believe there is no doubt that there is no person in this room who does not want out troops to come home,” Moran said Monday. “But the fact is, we need to stay the course. Make no mistake about it: The terrorists have their eyes on Iraq at this point.”

Moran said Thursday that troop withdrawal would send a message of poor resolve to insurgents and terrorists, potentially leading to more attacks. But Ald. Steven Bernstein (4th) said the U.S. government is not creating democracy, but rather imposing its own beliefs on a foreign culture.

“We have no right or business to be in Iraq,” he said Wednesday. “I came to the decision before the war began. You shouldn’t have people walking around the world with rifles.”

Forty-three people signed up for citizen comment at the meeting though a few ceded their time to others. All but about five spoke on the war resolution.

Most speakers cited a lack of reasons for going to war, the money being spent and the number of Americans and Iraqis who have died. As of Sept. 15 the number of U.S. military dead in Operation Iraqi Freedom was 1,896, according to the Defense Department.

Doug Hostetter, a peace pastor at Evanston Mennonite Church and a Northwestern sociology lecturer, spoke on behalf of his church, recalling his personal experiences in Vietnam as a conscientious objector teaching local children how to read and write.

“For three years I watched my government destroy my village around me and for three years I educated children whose schools had been destroyed,” he said. “I watched the people of Tam Ky grow to hate the American people. And we are making the same mistake 30 years later.”

Some dissenters simply felt the resolution was too political. One, Evanston resident Kathleen Corydon, received boos from the crowd until Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) said she would move to hold the resolution if disruptions continued. But Evanston resident Margaret Nagel said the resolution was a chance to try to make a difference.

“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” Nagel said. “And good citizens don’t let their government go down a path of war, torture and economic piracy.”

The Daily’s Breanne Gilpatrick contributed to this report.

Reach Elizabeth Gibson at [email protected].

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City Council calls for end to Iraq war