Freedom Fry

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

What Exactly Was the Congressional Bill to Go to War in Iraq that Kerry Voted For?

9:48 PM

A Congressional BillThe Congressional bill that passed in October 2002 that supposedly gave George Bush the power to go to war with Iraq is a much talked-about bill, especially when people refer to John Kerry's "support" for an Iraq war. Kerry voted for this bill and is believed, by many, as a result, to have "voted for the war in Iraq."

Yes, John Kerry voted for the bill, however the bill did not give George Bush the power to go to war with Iraq in the way that he did. Therefore John Kerry did not vote for the current war in Iraq.

It's an interesting bill, and deserves a read:

Take a look at snippets from the summary of the bill:

Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 - Expresses support for the President's efforts to: (1) strictly enforce through the United Nations Security Council all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and (2) obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion, and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions.

The fact is that George Bush did not seek United Nations Security Council support for our invasion of Iraq. He said that he would call for a vote on whether Iraq violated UN resolution 1441, but he did not because France, China, Russia, and Germany said they would vote against it or perhaps veto it.

To continue:
[The bill] authorizes the President to use the U.S. armed forces to: (1) defend U.S. national security against the continuing threat posed by Iraq.

This is a tricky one. We know now that Iraq posed no immediate threat to the United States. However did it pose any threat to us, with our weapons inspectors on the ground? Does "defend" mean "attack Iraq preemptively?"

George Bush "cherry-picked" intelligence that supported a war with Iraq and also used intelligence that was weak. In his October 7th 2002 speech he says Iraq "possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons." He also says, "We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade."

Both of these assertions have been proven wrong by the 9/11 commission: "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States." Contacts did take place, but "they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship."

Bush said, "Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons." These tubes were actually for conventional weapons.

Bush also said, most tellingly:
Later this week, the United States Congress will vote on this matter. I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce U.N. Security Council demands. Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable. The resolution will tell the United Nations, and all nations, that America speaks with one voice and is determined to make the demands of the civilized world mean something. Congress will also be sending a message to the dictator in Iraq: that his only chance -- his only choice is full compliance, and the time remaining for that choice is limited.

Thus it is clear that the bill that John Kerry voted for did not authorize independent U.S. action against Iraq, even in the eyes of George Bush.

And, in fact, that's what the bill says next: It also authorizes the President to
(2) enforce all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

As I said above, the Security Council did not resolve that the United States could invade iraq. It also did not resolve that Iraq violated 1441.

The bill also:
Directs the President, prior to or as soon as possible (but no later than 48 hours) after exercising such authority, to make available...his determination that: (1) reliance on further diplomatic or peaceful means alone will not achieve the above purposes;

It is obvious that peaceful weapons inspections were, indeed, working, although George Bush attempted to say otherwise.

(2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Iraq was not a terrorist state, it had no working connections with al Qaeda.


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