- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2003

NEW YORK Political leaders in this city devastated by the September 11 attacks have voted against war with Iraq except as a last resort, joining at least 125 municipalities nationwide that have passed some kind of anti-war resolution.
New York's City Council voted by roll call 32-17 for the resolution, which says war is permissible only if "other options for achieving compliance with United Nations resolutions calling for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and the means of their development have failed."
Peter F. Vallone Jr., a Democrat who opposed the resolution, said: "I'm very disappointed. New York City was attacked by terrorists a few blocks from where this resolution is being debated. I can't forget that.
"If we don't disarm [Iraqi leader] Saddam [Hussein] now, we won't have enough streets to name after the victims of the next attack."
The recognition that the World Trade Center attacks still traumatize the city did not head off a movement by liberals to secure an anti-war resolution. Although three of the 51 council members are Republicans, views on the issue did not always follow party lines.
Yvette Clarke, a Democrat who supported the resolution, said, "If we're going to be looking for a fight, let's fight poverty, let's fight firehouse closures, let's fight racism and sexism."
Democrat Alan Jennings said that after losing one of his closest friends in the World Trade Center, he was in no mood to vote for an anti-war measure.
"Our troops are in the Middle East at this time to fight for our democracy," Mr. Jennings said. "I think this resolution sends the wrong message to our men and women in uniform."
The bitter debate in the council was fueled by last month's anti-war demonstration in which an estimated 10,000 anti-war protesters turned out in the vicinity of the United Nations. Citing security considerations, the city refused to give the marchers a permit.
A first draft of the City Council resolution opposed a war "without the authority of the United Nations." The first indication of conflict within the council emerged Feb. 26, when a scheduled vote on the proposal was postponed at the last minute.
Sources said the bill was deadlocked in the Cultural Affairs Committee, where it had originated.
To garner enough votes, sharp criticisms of the Bush administration and predictions of dire consequences for the United States were dropped from the proposed resolution.
Since September, anti-war resolutions have been approved in such cities as Los Angeles; Chicago; Milwaukee; Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Portland, Maine.

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