Democratic presidential-nomination hopeful and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich railed against President Bush's administration and an overall mindset promoting war on Monday at the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Islamic Center.
Approximately 70 people saw Kucinich speak mostly on foreign policy, calling for a new "era of diplomacy."
Kucinich, a two-time long-shot, ran for president unsuccessfully in 2004, and he currently has nearly 1-percent support among likely Iowa caucus attendees in most polls.
He has been a vocal critic of the Bush White House, and he recently attempted to bring articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney.
Kucinich decried the war in Iraq and asserted that the United States must not begin a new war in Iran.
"Even planning for this is a war crime," he said. "Iran is not a threat to us."
Kucinich emphasized the need for an economic shift away from defense industries. He argued that money currently spent on Iraq and more that could be trimmed from the Pentagon's budget and could fund such domestic programs as a European-style rail system.
"They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks," he said, quoting the Bible. "People who make submarines could make transit cars."
Kucinich followed the speech with a question-and-answer period, during which he responded to questions on Middle Eastern relations and how to reduce defense spending.
"He had a very brave opinion, because it's very hard to speak in the way he's speaking and win elections," Cedar Rapids resident Ayman Amer said. "Very hard, very brave."
Amer said he likes Kucinich but will probably caucus for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., because he has a better shot at winning.
Hassan Igram, the center's director, also approved of Kucinich's speech, adding that he believed other candidates would like to say the same things but couldn't.
The center has hosted other presidential candidates over the years, including Al Gore, Bill Bradley, and John Kerry, all Democrats.
"As Muslims, we are conservatives," Igram said. "But it depends on how you define conservative."
© 2007 The Daily Iowan via U-WIRE