L.A.: Biggest laughingstock in the U.S.

According to this:

Elected leaders of the nation's second-largest city on Friday approved a resolution opposing a unilateral war against Iraq and urging the Bush administration to exhaust all diplomatic options before committing military forces...

"I hope people understand we're not a bunch of crazy politicians trying to dictate federal policy," said Councilman Ed Reyes, who voted for the resolution. "We are echoing the sentiments of people who are hurting. Where do we begin to matter in the priority of our federal dollars?..."

It also said the billions of dollars that would be spent on war would likely cause further cuts in federally funded programs that benefit the city. War would also draw away hundreds of police officers and other city employees who are military reservists, it said.

In other words, NWIMBY: No War In My Back Yard. The L.A. City Council and Mayor Hahn care more about social welfare programs than the (admittedly) suffering people of Iraq.

The fact that this resolution opposes a "unilateral" war against Iraq, and that at the very least we'll have a bilateral war, and that they should have known this, just shows what level of foreign policy knowledge we're dealing with here.

In a way, this issue is local: money spent on a war might take away money that these councilmembers could presumably use to fix a pothole or two. However, that also serves to illustrate the underlying immorality of this resolution and their votes.

If I tell you that if you give me $100 we can go in and clean up Iraq, stop Saddam from oppressing his people, and perhaps propel the Middle East forward a few centuries, you can respond in one of several ways:

  1. "I'd give you $100 if I thought that plan would work."
  2. "I think that plan is immoral."
  3. "I don't have $100, and if I did I'd use it to buy food."
  4. "I agree with the plan, and I'd like to help the people of Iraq, and I do have $100, but I'd rather spend that money on some Sheryl Crow CDs."

I think #4 is an immoral choice, and is closer to the choice this resolution makes than #1-#3. If they had stated their opposition to the war on non-NIMBY grounds, their moral position would be a bit stronger. I also wonder whether there's a bit of cowardice and appeasement involved here; perhaps deep inside they think that if they come out against the war L.A. won't be the target of terrorist actions.

As far as I know, this is the voting breakdown:

Mayor James Hahn - MayorHahn@mayor.lacity.org
Ed Reyes - reyes@council.lacity.org
Jan Perry - perry@council.lacity.org
Nate Holden - holden@council.lacity.org
Nick Pacheco - pacheco@council.lacity.org
Eric Garcetti - garcetti@council.lacity.org
Ruth Galanter - galanter@council.lacity.org
Tom LaBonge - Labonge@council.lacity.org
Cindy Miscikowski - miscikow@council.lacity.org
Janice Hahn - hahn@council.lacity.org

Jack Weiss - weiss@council.lacity.org
Dennis Zine - zine@council.lacity.org
Wendy Greuel - greuel@council.lacity.org
Alex Padilla - padilla@council.lacity.org
Hal Bernson - bernson@council.lacity.org

I'll post updates of responses to L.A.'s resolution as they come in; here's A.N.S.W.E.R's report on the Baltimore resolution, and here's the Workers World report on the Chicago resolution. I note also that Jersey City, NJ revoked the anti-war resolution that they had passed, so there might be some hope for a bit of sanity.

UPDATE: Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is reprinting a wire report on the resolution, and la.indymedia.org weighs in with this.