Baltimore City Urges Troop Withdrawal
Tuesday, November 22, 2005; 7:12 AM
The City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday night that urges President Bush and Congress to "commence a humane, orderly, immediate and comprehensive withdrawal" of military personnel and bases from Iraq.
Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. had opposed a similar council resolution in 2002 against the Iraq war. But he said Monday night that he decided now is the time for the city to speak up.
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Mitchell said he was influenced by the deaths of soldiers from Baltimore and Maryland, including a Marine whom he once taught in high school.
"This is not foreign policy," Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector said. "This is hitting us locally."
The council's action is similar to resolutions passed in cities such as San Francisco, Chicago and Sacramento, Calif.
Maryland's governor and the state's Republican Party were displeased with the council's action.
"It's clearly political grandstanding by the City Council," said Audra Miller, a spokeswoman for the Maryland GOP. "They should concern themselves with the war going on in Baltimore every day."
Sharesse DeLeaver, spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich, said President Bush commands the Maryland National Guard and the council should be more focused on the city's "failing schools" and high crime rate.
But Myles Hoenig, a community activist who asked Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke to introduce the resolution, said the Republican Party should not be so dismissive of a resolution that he believes represents a groundswell of opposition.
"Tell them (Republicans) to join the Army and stand behind their words," Hoenig said.
The Baltimore City Council has previously passed resolutions demanding the right of self-determination for the Lithuanian people, condemning slavery in Mauritania, criticizing the repression of the Ahmadiyya religious movement by the Pakistani government, and calling for the end of violence in Northern Ireland and apartheid in South Africa.