The Los Angeles City Council has voted to support a resolution calling for the end to the war in Iraq, becoming the largest U.S. city to take such an action.
In voting 12-2 to support the resolution Tuesday, October 16th, the City Council called for the immediate and complete withdrawal of United States military personnel from Iraq.
City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who introduced the resolution, said the vote sent a very clear message to the federal government that the City of Los Angeles wanted troops and resources returned to the United States.
“We have lost too many of our young men and women to this war,” Rosendahl said. “Supporting our troops means taking them out of this war and bringing them home.”
The council resolution urges the federal government to redirect financial resources used for the war in order to address neglected domestic needs, including healthcare, education, mass transit, infrastructure and homeland security.
“This war has diverted funding that could improve the quality of life for Los Angeles residents,” Rosendahl said. “Our city is in tremendous need of mass transit, affordable housing and improved infrastructure, and should not have to forego federal dollars because of an unjust war.”
Several community groups attended the meeting to voice opposition to the war and also called for war funding to be redirected to city priorities.
“We’re thrilled with the results of the vote,” said Brian Joseph, coordinator of End the War LA. “We want to thank Councilmember Rosendahl for bringing our resolution forward, making Los Angeles the largest city in the U.S. to speak out against the war.
“This sends a really strong message to Washington that the people are being affected locally and they demand an end to this illegal war.”
The resolution also urges the federal government to provide medical, psychological, financial, and educational assistance for war veterans.
Since the start of the war, more than 3,500 members of the United States Armed Forces have been killed and more than 25,300 have been wounded, according to the U.S. State Department. Approximately 409 soldiers from California have been killed in Iraq, including 115 soldiers from the Los Angeles area and 25 soldiers from the City of Los Angeles, of whom 18 were under the age of 24.
Rosendahl, a Vietnam-era Army veteran, said that war veterans deserved to receive comprehensive assistance from the federal government.
“Our soldiers have served with honor and distinction in an unnecessary war,” Rosendahl said. “Those who return home should be given the best care we can provide.”
The United States is currently spending $2 billion per week to occupy Iraq, according to various reports, and more than $4.5 billion in tax revenues have been diverted from Los Angeles to support the war and the subsequent occupation in Iraq, city officials said.