Proposition U - Iraq Funding Policy Statement

Voter Guide
November 1, 2008
This measure appeared on the November 2008 San Francisco ballot.
 

What it does

Proposition U is a non-binding Declaration of Policy which will put San Francisco on record as urging "its elected representatives in the United States Senate and House of Representatives [to] vote against any further funding for the deployment of United States Armed Forces in Iraq, with the exception of funds specifically earmarked to provide their safe and orderly withdrawal."

Why it is on the ballot

Four members of the Board of Supervisors placed Prop. U on the ballot.

In recent years there have been several non-binding measures dealing with foreign policy. In 2004, voters passed Prop. N, which called for an end to the War in Iraq. In 2006, voters approved Prop. J, a non-binding measure calling for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. On both measures, SPUR took "No Position."

Pros

Arguments in favor of Prop. U:

  • The war in Iraq has become a dangerous quagmire with over 4,000 U.S. deaths and over one million Iraqi casualties since the U.S. invasion in 2003. Significant evidence has suggested that the Bush administration and the U.S. Congress used fraudulent data to justify the war to the American people; including that Saddam Hussein had "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and a role in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. San Franciscans are not alone in opposing the war. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll reveals that 67 percent of Americans believe that the invasion was "not worth it," with 25 percent favoring immediate troop withdrawal and 43 percent advocating phased withdrawal during over the course of a year.
  • There is a long history of local governments, including San Francisco, making policy statements about actions at higher levels of government. This is an established role for localities, going back as far as New England townships seeking redress for actions by the English Crown in colonial America. In more recent decades, opposition to the Vietnam War and to nuclear weapons was often expressed through measures passed at the local level.

Cons

Arguments against Prop. U:

  • This ballot measure is non-binding, and SPUR has deep reservations about endorsing any non-binding ballot measure, especially in a crowded election year, no matter how noble the statement.
  • The Bay Area's Congressional delegation is well aware of the fact that their voting records are in contrast with the expressed opinions of the majority of their constituents. Previous non-binding anti-war measures (Prop. N, 2004 and Prop. J, 2007), while successful at the ballot box, failed to make any noticeable shift in the foreign policy of either major party. Opponents of war have a binding option to express their opposition to war and regular opportunities to campaign for candidates who reflect their views.

SPUR’s analysis

Although we recognize the devastating impact of the Iraq war and how the continuation of its funding siphons off federal funds from other needed uses, we also recognize how non-binding policy statements have little or no impact on national policy discourse. We have many pressing issues facing San Francisco and California — in part due to the misuse of federal funds towards adventures like the war in Iraq — which require more urgent attention.

SPUR took a "No Position" on Prop. U.