Iraq - 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 The sooner U.S. troops are withdrawn, the sooner we can pursue aggressive diplomacy to bring an end to the civil war that currently consumes Iraq.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 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 contracts to Iraqi businesses which will empower Iraqi nationals to reconstruct their own country.
Iran - 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.
Senator Mike Gravel has the strongest anti-war/peace record of any candidate. He lead a successful five month one man filibuster to end the draft in 1971. Also in 1971 he introduced The Pentagon Papers into congress and got them published as public record, thus putting greater pressure to end the Vietnam war and setting the stage for Nixon's resignation. Mike Gravel has called for an end to the Iraq war since the beginning and opposed it before it began. He has introduced legislation to end the war now.
In May 1971, Senator Gravel began a one-man filibuster that continued into September, forcing a deal to let the military draft expire. The drafting of the nation's youth had been defense policy since 1947. In order to save face and break the Senator's filibuster, the Nixon administration agreed to let the draft expire in 1973 if given a two-year extension in 1971.
Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon analyst who helped write the secret Pentagon Papers, attempted to secure the Papers’ release through a member of Congress in order to provide legal protection for the release of this highly classified historical study that detailed how the United States had ensnared itself in the Vietnam War. After congressional leaders Ellsberg initially approached failed to act, he turned to the New York Times and Washington Post, which then published excerpts of the study in June 1971. The Nixon Justice Department sought an injunction against the newspapers, and a Supreme Court decision that was due at the end of June put the publishers at risk. The day before the Supreme Court decision, in an effort to moot any action that might intimidate the newspapers, Mike Gravel officially released the Pentagon Papers in his capacity as a Senator communicating with his constituency. As it happened, the Supreme Court did not rule against the Fourth Estate, but Senator Gravel continued to press for release of the full text of the Pentagon Papers by publishing the papers in book form. He was turned down by every major (and not-so-major) publishing house in the nation, save one. Beacon Press, the publishing arm of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, faced down the Nixon Administration by publishingThe Senator Gravel Edition, The Pentagon Papers.
The Justice Department next brought legal action against Beacon Press and against the Senator's editor, Dr. David Rotberg. Mike Gravel intervened in the case, using his Senate office as a shield for Beacon Press and Rotberg. Decisions at the District Court and the Court of Appeals protected the Senator from prosecution but left Beacon Press and Rotberg at risk, so, against the advice of his attorneys, Gravel took the matter to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court rendered a landmark constitutional decision in the spring of 1972, narrowly defining the prerogatives of an elected representative with respect to the “speech or debate” clause of the constitution. Senator Gravel's defeat before the Supreme Court placed him at risk of prosecution, along with Beacon Press and Rotberg. With Watergate afoot, the Nixon Justice Department lost interest in the prosecution of Ellsberg, Gravel and Rotberg. However, the Court's decision did set the stage for its later decision on the Nixon Tapes, forcing Nixon's resignation from the Presidency.
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.”
Mike calls on either reworking or redrafting the trade agreements in place, such as Nafta, Cafta, etc. They are made to favor managers and business owners and prey upon the workers of both America and the other countries involved. They are the major contributor to the rise in Immigration.
Mike Gravel on Immigration (Speaking in Las Vegas)
Senator Gravel favors protecting our borders and monitoring the flow of illegal immigrants into our country. He also favors a guest worker program and setting up naturalization procedures that would fairly bring existing illegal immigrants into legal status.
The senator's position is that America must address the root cause of illegal immigration. Any discussion of Mexican immigration must include NAFTA and the concept of "free trade." The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a disaster for the working class of both the US and Mexico. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that over 1,000,000 US jobs were lost as a result of NAFTA, a third of them manufacturing jobs. In Mexico, 1.3 million farm workers lost their jobs in the same period. This has led to a wave of immigrant workers looking for work in the US job market.
Major structural changes must be made to NAFTA in order to restore lost jobs. Reforming unfair trade policies will stimulate job growth on both sides of the border and allow Mexican workers to remain in their motherland. We must make fair trade a priority if we are to rebuild the American middle class.
Mike Gravel on the Carbon Tax & Developing New Energy Technologies
Supports a carbon tax on carbon based energy commodities to fund an international scientific consortium to find alternative energy sources. Calls for other industrialized countries to do the same. Supports working with other countries to find new clean sources of energy. With this initiative we could be completely off of carbon fuels in 10 years.
While Senator Gravel fully supports the 2nd Amendment, he believes that fundamental change must take place with regards to gun ownership. The senator advocates a licensing program where a potential gun owner must be licensed as well as properly trained with a firearm before they may own one.
Supports legalization of the use and possession of marijuana
Supports regulation of other drugs; treat drug problem as public health issue, not as a criminal issue
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.
Senator Gravel supports same-sex marriage and opposes the Defense of Marriage Act. He supports expanding hate-crime legislation and opposes laws that allow discrimination against sexual orientation, as well as discrimination on the basis of one's gender identity or expression. In the absence of full marriage rights, the senator supports domestic partner benefits for all Americans. He strongly opposes the military's 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' legislation on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, as it restricts the rights of gay Americans, and he opposes any state or national constitutional amendment that restricts the rights of the LGBT community. He unequivocally supports same-sex marriage and adoption.
Senator Gravel believes that global climate change is a matter of national security. As President, he will act swiftly to reduce America's carbon footprint in the world by passing legislation that caps emissions, and lead the fight against global deforestation, which today is second only to the energy sector as a source of greenhouses gases. However, any legislation will have little impact on the global environment if we do not work together with other global polluters. Today, China and India are surpassing the U.S. in carbon emissions. 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 in this task.
The budget needs an overhaul in many areas. The passage of the Fair Tax would make the tax system and budget transparent to the people. With the National Initiative the people would help control spending and since it is the peoples money being spent and them that benefit from spending, they would insure the money is spent wisely. The Fair Tax and National Initiative would also allow for a surge of employment and investment thus spurring the economy.
Senator Mike Gravel wants to put real money, rather than borrowed 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.
With the introduction of the sales tax would come a prebate to all citizens. The prebate would give a small guaranteed income to all citizens. Those that spend at or below the poverty level would have their tax expenses covered by the prebate, with perhaps a little left over.
Net Neutrality aims to keep the Internet free from large companies who are using their networks to limit the amount of websites their customers can view, and the speed at which they can view them. Examples range from, being forced to use the search engines your Internet Service Providers (ISP), only being able to view streaming videos that your ISP deems acceptable, and charging a website an extra fee to maintain the usual connection speed. Senator Gravel guarantees a free and open Internet with no restricted access to any site, for any reason. He will do this by supporting legislation and regulation that keeps you in control of your Internet usage.
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. For example, 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 should look to other countries that educate children from “start to Ph.D.” as models.
“If we’re so powerful and rich, we should be able to do as well as them,” Mr. Gravel wrote. “I think it’s an abomination that you have to pay for your higher education, and I’ll change the direction of this country to make the cost of higher education borne by society, meaning the government, at all levels.” --Mike Gravel 
Senator Gravel advocates a universal health-care voucher program in which the federal government would issue annual health care vouchers to Americans based on their projected needs. Under the Senator's plan, all Americans would be fully covered and would be free to use their vouchers to choose their own health care professional. No one would ever be denied health insurance because of their health, wealth, or any other reason. A universal health-care voucher plan will also relieve American businesses of the financial responsibility of insuring their workers while ensuring that their workers get adequate care.
Senator Gravel supports a woman's right to choose and a woman's control over her own body. That is why the Senator supports the Constitutional right of all Americans to privacy under the 14th Amendment and the 1973 Supreme Court Case, Roe v. Wade, which upholds this principle. Any discussion on abortion should include the proper role of government when it comes to a women's body and her health. Throughout his twelve years in the US Senate, Senator Gravel advocated for womens rights, including reproductive rights. The Senator will continue to advocate for a women's right to choose. He issued the following statement on the recent Supreme Court decision limiting a woman's reproductive rights: "I am opposed to today's ruling that places restrictions on reproductive freedom. Today's decision authorizes federal intervention to prohibit a procedure that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has found at times to be medically necessary. Any decision on abortion should remain between a woman and her doctor. There is no room for interference from politicians and judges." Senator Gravel believes that supporting reproductive rights is to embrace a "pro-life" position. A woman's right to terminate her pregnancy stems from the fact that she has a right to her life and to do with it as she sees fit.