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L.A.’s Bunker Mentality

In case you were wondering, the Los Angeles City Council doesn’t like Saddam Hussein. Not at all.

On April 8, as U.S. troops mopped up in Baghdad and military leaders speculated whether the Iraqi dictator had been killed in a bombing raid, the council condemned Saddam “in the strongest possible terms” and called on governments around the world to “use all influence possible to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein including urging the dictator into permanent exile.”

The council’s statement, approved without comment, was a response, in part, to its more controversial February resolutions opposing unilateral war on Iraq. That resolution, adopted on a 9-4 vote, followed two days of debate and hours of public testimony. The council’s anti-war vote came before the first military strike on Iraq, but only after many cities around the nation had already voiced their disapproval of an attack.

San Fernando Valley Councilman Dennis Zine, one of the “no” votes on the anti-war resolution and the author of the anti-Saddam statement, explained that he had introduced his motion before hostilities began but that the matter was sent to committee. It did not return to the council floor until the war was all but over.

It is not the first time, by the way, that the City Council has expressed its disapproval of the Iraqi leader. In 1991 — after the U.S. had begun its first war against Iraq — the council passed a resolution deploring the invasion of Kuwait.

This time, though, the council was taking it personally.

“The city of Los Angeles wants the world to know and understand that its action in opposition to war in Iraq is not a sign of support for the leadership in Iraq,” the resolution said. Mayor Jim Hahn plans to sign the resolution and send it to President Bush and the United Nations.


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