Congressman Dennis Kucinich was to deliver an impeachment petition to Speaker Pelosi's office today. His Oil for Iraq Liberation Act to prevent American oil companies from profiting from the war.
Thom Hartmann interviews Congressman Dennis Kucinich, 31 July 2008
[Thom Hartmann]: Congressman Dennis Kucinich is on the line with us. I wanted to be sure to get to this topic, this story. Congressman, welcome to the show.
[Dennis Kucinich]: Thom, thank you very much for the opportunity to be on your show.
[Thom Hartmann]: How are we doing with this whole range of stuff that you've been very involved with from the contempt citations, I know what you're not on the committee that's doing it, but, you know, some of us...
[Dennis Kucinich]: I spoke out in favor of doing that.
[Thom Hartmann]: Yeah. So where are we at on this and on Karl Rove, and just, you know, the general, the impeachment of George W. Bush, Nancy Pelosi saying on The View yesterday or the day before yesterday, 'well, I don't know that he's committed any crimes', I mean, what's going on?
[Dennis Kucinich]: Well first of all I want your listeners to know that within the next few hours I will be submitting a petition to Nancy Pelosi in the House of Representatives with the signatures, by email, of over a 100,000 people who have called for impeachment. Most of these have come out in the last few days. Now if any of your listeners want to be included in that they still have a couple hours to do so, because we had a deadline extended slightly and if they go to kucinich.us to the impeachment petition you can sign in and push us over a 100,000.
[Thom Hartmann]: That's great.
[Dennis Kucinich]: And in the meantime the speaker was interviewed yesterday. And it was called to my attention that she had said that she didn't see any evidence of crimes that had been committed. I am more than happy to call to her attention the details of the 35 articles of impeachment that I submitted plus the other article relating to the war plus the articles related to Mr. Cheney. Because individually and in total they categorically state laws that have been broken.
And it may be that in her capacity as Speaker, where she no doubt has the busiest job in the Congress, that she hasn't read those articles. But if she does I think she will see that there is a case for the judiciary to proceed, which is one of the reasons why last Friday was so important; six hours of hearings, over a dozen witnesses, 24 Members of Congress attended this hearing, for the first time we were able to break the silence and begin the discussion about the violations of law that have been committed by George Bush and other members of his administration.
[Thom Hartmann]: Right and you, our listeners, can get over to kucinich.us and sign the petition that Congressman Kucinich in the next few hours is going to be presenting to Speaker Pelosi. And of course you can also go to callCongress.org and get the toll free numbers for Capitol Hill and you can call Speaker Pelosi's office and let your thoughts be known. And call your local member of the House of Representatives and say, 'will you please support Congressman Kucinich in this'. How does that sound?
[Dennis Kucinich]: I mean, that's that's great, and I just want to stress that we had a deadline of midnight on the petitions. I was told that I could submit them to the Congress by the end of business day and they are addressed directly to the speaker. So what I just want to let everyone know who's listening to the Thom Hartmann show right now, you still have a chance to be registered in support of the impeachment petition. Go to kucinich.us and thank you for giving me the chance to mention that.
[Thom Hartmann]: Now you're also, congressman, supporting or sponsoring, I don't have all the details on this, legislation to, that has to do with the Iraq oil; basically the 'no oil for war', you have the phrase for it. Tell us the story about this.
[Dennis Kucinich]: Right, well here's what's going on. You know, everyone who's been following the situation with the war in Iraq understands the connection between the war in Iraq and oil. And I was the first one to bring it up in a debate with Richard Perle on "Meet The Press" back in February of 2003 and now Mr. Perle, according to the Wall Street Journal, is involved in seeking to do business in Kurdistan relating to oil. My legislation, which I'm submitting to Congress today, will bar any US oil companies from either investing in or having any kind of activity that deals with the petroleum resources of Iraq, and thereby, Thom, stopping them from benefiting from the war.
We know that Vice President Cheney and the oil company executives met prior to the war. We know there were massive Iraq oil fields spread out on the table. We know that both Mr. Greenspan and Henry Kissinger noted the significance of oil in terms of this war. We know that the price of oil was about 30 dollars a barrel roughly in 2003 prior to the invasion and today it's over 122 dollars a barrel. A gallon of gas was about a dollar 77 then, today it's about 3 dollars and 97 cents on the average. The oil, the price, the gas didn't go down for the American consumers but the profits sure went up for the oil companies.
[Thom Hartmann]: Right.
[Dennis Kucinich]: And so I'm saying, stop them from being able to do business in Iraq, let the, and stop the privatization of the Iraq oil company. Because that's really what this ends up being. There's an attempt to create 3 petrostates by partitioning Iraq and by letting these oil companies essentially run those areas as, in a matter of what I call oiligarchs. So we need a whole new approach and it begins with this bill that stops the US oil companies from being able to have any dealings at all in Iraq.
[Thom Hartmann]: This is the Oil for Iraq Liberation Act and you can read about that also over at kucinich.us. It reminds me, congressman, of, you know, what has happened in Nigeria. It reminds me of how we were talking on the program yesterday about how the current president of Mexico is now talking about privatizing the oil in Mexico even though their constitution forbids it. Just this is, you know, this transnational petro, these oil companies are, they're larger than most countries.
[Dennis Kucinich]: You're right about that and, you know, consider this: now Chalmers Johnson in his book called Nemesis, which I recommend to your listeners, writes about the United States having 737 bases in 130 countries. So what you do is you've got a government that uses military power to help out corporate interests and the corporate interests capitalizing from US military and foreign policy. We've got to change the direction of this country.
We have to start reminding ourselves what the mission of America was. It wasn't for empire; it was to be able to have a republic which met the needs of its people and we aren't doing that any more. And so that's why in a small way this bill helps to flag the direction that we've gone wrong and hopefully with the members of Congress who have already indicated to me they'd support it, including Mr. Conyers, that we'll have a chance to have some hearings on this and take us in a new direction.
[Thom Hartmann]: That's great. This and Peter DeFazio's 'use it or lose it' on the oil leases.
[Dennis Kucinich]: Good man.
[Thom Hartmann]: Yeah. A lot of great stuff out there. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, kucinich.us, get over there, sign the petition and call your member of Congress and call Speaker Pelosi's office. Congressman Kucinich, once again thank you for the great work you're doing.
[Dennis Kucinich]: Thom Hartmann, thank you.
[Thom Hartmann]: And hopefully our four million listeners will have something to say to their members of Congress. Good talking with you.
Transcribed by Sue Nethercott.