Questions to ask the Candidates
in 2004 national election campaigns

Friends Committee on National Legislation


Advancing Budget Priorities for Human Security

The war in Iraq, the wasteful, run away military budget are taking scarce resources away from addressing other urgent national needs. What will you do to reduce wasteful military spending?

The unwise, unfair tax cuts enacted recently are leaving the government without the resources it needs to meet urgent national needs. The U.S. needs to invest more to assure quality, affordable nutrition, health care, housing, education, and child care; to provide living wage jobs and a healthy environment for all; and to provide for our aging population in the years ahead. What will you do to assure that the federal government has sufficient resources to meet the long-term challenges ahead?

Promoting Arms Control and Disarmament So many people are killed each year by small arms that these weapons have been called the real weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, landmines continue to claim tens of thousands of victims around the world each year. If elected, what would you do to spur concrete actions by the U.S. to better control and reduce the proliferation of small arms and to eliminate the scourge of landmines?

In 1992, Congress declared a moratorium on nuclear testing, but the current administration has threatened to reverse this stance. This could very well start another major arms race. Would you stand by the testing moratorium and support ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty?

What would you do to make sure that the U.S. does not build any new nuclear weapons?


Promoting Peaceful Alternatives to the War on Terror

I'd like you to address the doctrine of "preemptive war." The invasion and occupation of Iraq was based on this doctrine, which posits that the U.S. can unilaterally attack any country or other entity that it deems a threat. What prevents another country from claiming the same doctrine when it decides to act aggressively against its enemy? Shouldn't the U.S. be working to strengthen-not undermine-international norms against the use of unilateral force?

Roughly half of the Army's 10 divisions are currently deployed overseas. The military is over-stretched. U.S. unilateralism has meant that neither our old nor our new allies are much inclined to assist. Military spending is on the rise and new bases are being opened across the globe. How will you reduce these costly overseas deployments? What will you do instead to promote cooperative approaches to peace and security?

The current administration says it is keeping all options, including military options, open when it comes to the North Korea nuclear issue. North Korea says it needs nuclear weapons as deterrence against U.S. military threats, but that it is willing to give up these weapons in exchange for a non-aggression pact from the U.S. What would you do to ensure a peaceful resolution of the current stand-off?

In world affairs, just as in medicine, preventing harm is always better than treating it after the fact. International organizations like the European Union, the United Nations, the African Union, the World Bank and development agencies like the U.S. Agency for International Development have made important progress in developing early warning systems and conflict prevention programs, increasing capacities for the peaceful resolution and management of conflict, and addressing the causes of conflict before violence erupts. If you are elected, what policies will you support to help prevent future wars and address the root causes of terrorism and violent conflict?


Protecting Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Under the USA PATRIOT Act, civil liberties have been greatly curtailed and the U.S. Constitution undermined. Please provide three concrete ways you would correct this problem.

Attorney General Ashcroft supports indefinite secret detentions and an option for the death penalty for conviction of any act that the Administration deems "terrorist." These extreme views, if enacted into law, would undermine everyone's constitutional rights. Do you support General Ashcroft's positions?

The United States has a long history of using weapons sales to buy friends with abysmal human rights records-from the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, the Taliban against the USSR in Afghanistan, and now abusive, undemocratic regimes in Uzbekistan and Pakistan. What exactly will you do to ensure that U.S. weapons don't wind up in the hands of dictators or oppressive regimes?

The United States is increasing its involvement with the Columbian government and that nation's civil war at a time when ties between the Colombian military and right-wing paramilitaries show no sign of loosening, and aerial fumigations are increasingly destroying legitimate crops, thereby impoverishing farmers across the country. What will you do to reverse the damaging course of U.S. policy and promote human rights and development in Colombia?


Removing Oil as a Source of Conflict

The wasteful consumption of oil in the U.S. has become a source of violent international conflict and a threat to public health and the environment. If current trends continue, these problems will grow worse. What will you do to help reduce wasteful oil consumption in the U.S. and to help protect and restore the environment?

The transportation sector uses two-thirds of the oil consumed in the U.S. For the sake of the environment, economic development at home and abroad, and international peace and security, the U.S. must reduce its dependence on oil in the transportation sector. What exactly will you do to promote expanded public transportation, high-efficiency automobiles and trucks, and alternative, renewable fuels?

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