All information taken from Official Webpage
Senator Gravel's position on Iraq remains clear and consistent: to commence an immediate and orderly withdrawal of all U.S. troops that will have them home within 60 days. The sooner U.S. troops are withdrawn, the sooner we can pursue aggressive diplomacy to bring an end to the civil war that currently consumes Iraq. Senator Gravel seeks to work with neighboring Arab countries to lead a collective effort to bring peace to Iraq.
One of the leading opponents of the Vietnam War, Senator Gravel was one of the first current or former elected officials to publicly oppose the planned invasion of Iraq in 2002. He appeared on MSNBC prior to the invasion insisting that intelligence showed that there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq posed no threat to the United States and that invading Iraq was against America's national interests and would result in a disaster of epic proportions for both the United States and the Iraqi people.
Today, more than four years into the invasion, the death toll of U.S. troops has climbed over 3,300 with over 50,000 more permanently maimed, some having lost limbs, others their sight. Tens of thousands more are afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and urgently need psychological care. The Iraqi civilian death toll nears three-quarters of a million, and still there remains no end in sight to the bloodshed.
As President, Senator Gravel will call for a U.S. corporate withdrawal from Iraq and hand over reconstruction contacts to Iraqi businesses which will empower Iraqi nationals to reconstruct their own country.
THE NATIONAL BALLOT INITIATIVE FOR DEMOCRACY (NI4D)
With The National Initiative for Democracy, Senator Mike Gravel is bringing the people into the operation of government as lawmakers. The slogan of the campaign is, "Let the People Decide." The National Initiative is a proposal to amend the constitution and enact a federal statute so the People can be lawmakers in a partnership with their elected officials.
Read more about The National Initiative
There is only one one entity in the U.S. that pays taxes; the individual. Business and corporations do not, they merely collect taxes from consumer of their products and pass on the taxes to the government. The Fair Tax proposal calls for eliminating the IRS and the Income Tax and replacing it with a progressive national Sales Tax on new products and services. To compensate for necessities, such as food, lodging, clothing, etc there would be a "prebate" to reimburse taxpayers for the taxes paid on necessities.
Read more about The Fair Tax
Senator Gravel firmly opposed President Bush's decision to send 40,000 more troops to Iraq. The majority of Americans do not support the move. Key members of the Bush administration, such as national-security adviser Stephen Hadley, are in disagreement. It goes against the recommendation of the Iraq Study Group. Every military commander interviewed by the ISG, including General George Casey, answered that they do not require additional troops, but rather, stressed the need for the Iraqi army to assume a larger role in security operations. The escalation is both dangerously reckless and irresponsible. It sends the wrong message to the Iraqi's; that the U.S military presence in open-ended and that there exists no certain time line for the Iraqi military to take responsibility for the security of their country.
Senator Gravel firmly opposes a military confrontation with Iran and advocates a diplomatic solution to the current situation. Several signs indicate that the Bush administration is moving towards a military confrontation with Iran and Syria; the deployment of a "major strike group" of ships to the Persian Gulf, the detaining of six Iranian officials of a consular office flying the Iranian flag, pointed accusations that both nations are fueling the insurgency in Iraq and the President's remarks that the U.S. would disrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria to those insurgents. The threat of war against another sovereign nation while wars continue to rage in Iraq, the Palestinian Authority and Afghanistan, only serves to further threaten global stability.
GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE
Global climate change must be made an issue of national security. We must act swiftly to reduce America's carbon footprint in the world by passing legislation that caps emissions. By putting a hard cap on greenhouse gas emissions we will improve energy efficiency while generating energy from low-carbon sources. This is critical. Both of these pathways provide lasting benefits from the economic and environmental perspectives. Improved energy efficiency reduces energy costs and makes American-made products more competitive. Growth in the renewable energy technology market creates good-paying, stable jobs in a growing industrial sector. America can become an exporter again if we have the correct visionary policy.
However, any legislation will have little impact on the global environment if we do not work together with other global polluters. Fighting global warming can only be effective if it is a collective global effort. As President, Senator Gravel will see that the U.S. launches and leads a massive global scientific effort to end energy dependence on oil and integrate the world's scientific community to this task.
Senator Mike Gravel wants to put real money in the Social Security Trust Fund, investing it properly and identifying the interests of individual beneficiaries so they can leave their surplus funds to their heirs. He also calls on Congress to stop raiding the Social Security Trust Fund. This is key to ensuring that Social Security will be around long after the Baby Boomers are gone for the next generation of Americans who have paid into it.
NATIONAL HEALTH CARE
Senator Gravel advocates a National Health Care Voucher plan that will give every American health care. Using a voucher paid for by the government, Americans are free to choose their own doctor. Medicine and medical technology in the United States is the finest in the world. However, it is also one of the leading causes of bankruptcies. With the rising cost of health care, it is time to rethink our approach.
Senator Mike Gravel enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1951 and served for three years as an adjutant in the Communications Services and as a Special Agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps. Our war veterans are not, as some would have it, a "special interest" but are our primary interest. As President, Sen. Gravel would ensure that veterans receive full and unambiguous funding for their most important needs, including health care that is indexed to the increasing cost of care and medicine. He would also make permanent the 100 percent disability ratings of those diagnosed as suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He would also make sure that the VA system is fully financed and has sufficient well-trained personnel to provide the finest care that is available. As the senator says, "We can do no less and will do much more."
No Child Left Behind has left far too many children behind. We have a dire situation in America; 30% of our kids do not graduate from high school. Nearly a third of our children are condemned to a substandard economic existence. Education in America must be properly funded. However, money will not solve all the problems. Washington D.C. ranks first in dollars spent, yet ranks last in achievement. We need to approach education comprehensively. We must properly fund education while raising the overall standard of living in America and making education a vital part of a healthy, thriving community.
The United States incarcerates more people and at a higher rate than any other peacetime nation in the world. According to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics the number of US residents behind bars has now reached more than 2.3 million.
We are losing an entire generation of young men and women to our prisons. Our nation's ineffective and wasteful "war on drugs" plays a major role in this. We must place a greater emphasis on rehabilitation and prevention. We must de-criminalize minor drug offenses and increase the availability and visibility of substance abuse treatment and prevention in our communities as well as in jails and prisons.
We must increase the use of special drug courts in which addicted offenders are given the opportunity to complete court supervised substance abuse treatment instead of being sentenced to prison. We must eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing laws. We must increase the use of alternative penalties for nonviolent drug offenders. Drug defendants convicted of nonviolent offenses should not be given mandatory prison sentences. We should emphasize the criminalization of the importers, manufacturers, and major distributors, rather than just the street venders. Prisons in this country should be a legitimate criminal sanction -- but it should be an extension of a fair, just and wise society.