What is it good for?

The Richmond City Council has so much free time on its hands that its mayor is ready to push a resolution condemning U.S. military action against Iraq.

In a meandering resolution introduced earlier this week, Mayor Rudolph C. McCollum Jr., stated that the U.S. should not go to war when America’s cities are in such poor financial shape.

“Most cities and states are suffering fiscal crises where programs that benefit working people and the poor are being threatened by severe budget cuts,” the resolution says. “and it has been estimated that a war in Iraq would likely cost the U.S. government over $100 billion, an amount that could go a long way to meeting our health and education needs.”

His resolution also says that President Bush has not proved his case and any such attack would only increase the prospect of terrorism from al Qaida.

If you want to witness terror, walk alone in Church Hill or on West Hull Street after midnight. Richmond has problems that deserve a city council’s attention. The same goes for any other local government taking time to debate U.S. foreign policy and world affairs.

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors could pass a similar resolution supporting the war to counter the actions being considered in the capital city.

“If you move forward, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors will be compelled to consider a resolution supporting the President and our military at its next meeting,” Supervisor Chairman Sean Connaughton told McCollum in a letter dated March 11.

Having heard both arguments, we say this: What’s the point?

Cities around the United States are passing similar resolutions which culminate into nothing more than grandstanding. If you preside over a citizenry where a majority opposes war, you pass a resolution against military action. The opposite is true if a majority of citizens seem to favor it. While you’re at it, why not pass a resolution demanding that Saddam Hussein turn over his weapons of mass destruction or that North Korea dismantle it’s nuclear reactors.

Sure, it’s okay to approve a measure supporting the troops, since soldiers, sailors and Marines come from every city and little town across America. But cities and counties should leave foreign policy to the federal government.

The preamble to the Constitution explicitly states that the government must provide for the common defense. The Constitution does not require the federal government to provide for the common defense only after taking care of every man, woman and child in Richmond or Berkeley, Calif.

It’s okay if a mayor or council members oppose war, but they shouldn’t list their city’s fiscal health as a prerequisite for support.

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