A Cautious Man
September 09, 2003
 
Iraq: Resolution and Deception
Going forward, I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot about the approval, by the House and Senate, of resolutions authorizing military action in Iraq. The text of those resolutions may be found at this government web site. Just to add to our "enjoyment", we'll be hearing about this in discussions among Democrats, as well as between Democrats and Republicans.

In any of these discussions, it will always be a good idea to keep in mind what the resolutions actually state. Congress authorized the following:

"The Congress of the United States supports the efforts by the President to —

"(1) strictly enforce through the United Nations Security Council all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq and encourages him in those efforts; 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 regarding Iraq."

In doing so, it attached very specific conditions:

"In connection with the exercise of the authority granted ... to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon thereafter as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that —

"(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

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

Force was authorized if there was no other way to protect us from an imminent threat, and in particular to protect us from terrorists similar to, or associated with, the 9/11 attackers. We now know that Congress, and the rest of us, may have been misinformed.

That's what the debate should focus on.

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