Iraq War Resolution Revisited

Iraq War Resolution Revisited

by
Dennis Kucinich

Dear Friends,

Seven years ago this week the
House of Representatives debated the Iraq War Resolution which was
presented by President Bush. I made the case for NOT
going to war. I analyzed the Bush war resolution, paragraph by
paragraph, and pointed out "Key Issues" which argued against Congress
voting to go to war. I distributed the attached analysis, personally,
to over 200 members of Congress from October 2, 2002 until October 10,
2002 when the vote occurred.

When you hear people say: "If only we had known
then what we know now," remember, some did know of the false case for
war against Iraq. And since so many know now that we should not have
gone to war against Iraq, then why are we still there?

Please read this analysis and let me know what you think.

Thank you.

Dennis Kucinich

P.S. - The "Whereas" clauses were verbatim from the 2003 Bush Iraq War
Resolution. The "Key Issue" represented my commentary.


Analysis of Joint Resolution on Iraq
by Dennis J. Kucinich
October 2, 2002

Whereas in 1990 in response to Iraq's war of aggression against and
illegal occupation of Kuwait, the United States forged a coalition of
nations to liberate Kuwait and its people in order to defend the
national security of the United States and enforce United Nations
Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq;

KEY ISSUE:
In the Persian Gulf War there was an international coalition. World
support was for protecting Kuwait. There is no world support for
invading Iraq.

Whereas after the liberation of Kuwait
in 1991, Iraq entered into a United Nations sponsored cease-fire
agreement pursuant to which Iraq unequivocally agreed, among other
things, to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons
programs and the means to deliver and develop them, and to end its
support for international terrorism;

Whereas the efforts of international
weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi
defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of
chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that
Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much
closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had
previously indicated;

KEY ISSUE: UN
inspection teams identified and destroyed nearly all such weapons. A
lead inspector, Scott Ritter, said that he believes that nearly all
other weapons not found were destroyed in the Gulf War. Furthermore,
according to a published report in the Washington Post, the Central
Intelligence Agency has no up to date accurate report on Iraq's WMD
capabilities.

Whereas Iraq, in direct and flagrant
violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons
inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction
stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the
withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998;

KEY ISSUE: Iraqi
deceptions always failed. The inspectors always figured out what Iraq
was doing. It was the United States that withdrew from the inspections
in 1998. And the United States then launched a cruise missile attack
against Iraq 48 hours after the inspectors left. In advance of a
military strike, the US continues to thwart (the Administration's word)
weapons inspections.

Whereas in 1998 Congress concluded that
Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital
United States interests and international peace and security, declared
Iraq to be in "material and unacceptable breach of its international
obligations" and urged the President "to take appropriate action, in
accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United
States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international
obligations" (Public Law 105-235);

Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing
threat to the national security of the United States and international
peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material
and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among
other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical
and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons
capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations;

KEY ISSUE: There is no
proof that Iraq represents an imminent or immediate threat to the
United States. A "continuing" threat does not constitute a sufficient
cause for war. The Administration has refused to provide the Congress
with credible intelligence that proves that Iraq is a serious threat to
the United States and is continuing to possess and develop chemical and
biological and nuclear weapons. Furthermore there is no credible
intelligence connecting Iraq to Al Qaida and 9/11.

Whereas Iraq persists in violating
resolutions of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to
engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby
threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing
to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully
detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to
return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait;

KEY ISSUE: This
language is so broad that it would allow the President to order an
attack against Iraq even when there is no material threat to the United
States. Since this resolution authorizes the use of force for all Iraq
related violations of the UN Security Council directives, and since the
resolution cites Iraq's imprisonment of non-Iraqi prisoners, this
resolution would authorize the President to attack Iraq in order to
liberate Kuwaiti citizens who may or may not be in Iraqi prisons, even
if Iraq met compliance with all requests to destroy any weapons of mass
destruction. Though in 2002 at the Arab Summit, Iraq and Kuwait agreed
to bilateral negotiations to work out all claims relating to stolen
property and prisoners of war. This use-of-force resolution enables the
President to commit US troops to recover Kuwaiti property.

Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its capability and
willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations
and its own people;

Whereas the current Iraqi regime has
demonstrated its continuing hostility toward, and willingness to
attack, the United States, including by attempting in 1993 to
assassinate former President Bush and by firing on many thousands of
occasions on United States and Coalition Armed Forces engaged in
enforcing the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council;

KEY ISSUE: The Iraqi
regime has never attacked nor does it have the capability to attack the
United States. The "no fly" zone was not the result of a UN Security
Council directive. It was illegally imposed by the United States, Great
Britain and France and is not specifically sanctioned by any Security
Council resolution.

Whereas members of al Qaida, an
organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States,
its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on
September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

KEY ISSUE: There is no
credible intelligence that connects Iraq to the events of 9/11 or to
participation in those events by assisting Al Qaida.

Whereas Iraq continues to aid and
harbor other international terrorist organizations, including
organizations that threaten the lives and safety of American citizens;

KEY ISSUE: Any
connection between Iraq support of terrorist groups in the Middle East,
is an argument for focusing great resources on resolving the conflict
between Israel and the Palestinians. It is not sufficient reason for
the US to launch a unilateral preemptive strike against Iraq.

Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001
underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of
weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations;

KEY ISSUE: There is no connection between Iraq and the events of 9/11.

Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons
of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either
employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United
States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists
who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to
the United States and its citizens from such an attack, combine to
justify action by the United States to defend itself;

KEY ISSUE: There is no
credible evidence that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. If
Iraq has successfully concealed the production of such weapons since
1998, there is no credible evidence that Iraq has the capability to
reach the United States with such weapons. In the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq
had a demonstrated capability of biological and chemical weapons, but
did not have the willingness to use them against the United States
Armed Forces. Congress has not been provided with any credible
information, which proves that Iraq has provided international
terrorists with weapons of mass destruction.

Whereas United Nations Security Council
Resolution 678 authorizes the use of all necessary means to enforce
United Nations Security Council Resolution 660 and subsequent relevant
resolutions and to compel Iraq to cease certain activities that
threaten international peace and security, including the development of
weapons of mass destruction and refusal or obstruction of United
Nations weapons inspections in violation of United Nations Security
Council Resolution 687, repression of its civilian population in
violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688, and
threatening its neighbors or United Nations operations in Iraq in
violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 949;

KEY ISSUE: The UN Charter forbids all member nations, including the United States, from unilaterally enforcing UN resolutions.

Whereas Congress in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against
Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1) has authorized the President "to use
United States Armed Forces pursuant to United Nations Security Council
Resolution 678 (1990) in order to achieve implementation of Security
Council Resolutions 660, 661, 662, 664, 665, 666, 667, 669, 670, 674,
and 677";

KEY ISSUE: The UN
Charter forbids all member nations, including the United States, from
unilaterally enforcing UN resolutions with military force.

Whereas in December 1991, Congress
expressed its sense that it "supports the use of all necessary means to
achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 as
being consistent with the Authorization of Use of Military Force
Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1)," that Iraq's repression of
its civilian population violates United Nations Security Council
Resolution 688 and "constitutes a continuing threat to the peace,
security, and stability of the Persian Gulf region," and that Congress,
"supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United
Nations Security Council Resolution 688";

KEY ISSUE: This clause
demonstrates the proper chronology of the international process, and
contrasts the current march to war. In 1991, the UN Security Council
passed a resolution asking for enforcement of its resolution. Member
countries authorized their troops to participate in a UN-led coalition
to enforce the UN resolutions. Now the President is asking Congress to
authorize a unilateral first strike before the UN Security Council has
asked its member states to enforce UN resolutions.

Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public
Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the
policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the
current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic
government to replace that regime;

KEY ISSUE: This "Sense
of Congress" resolution was not binding. Furthermore, while Congress
supported democratic means of removing Saddam Hussein it clearly did
not endorse the use of force contemplated in this resolution, nor did
it endorse assassination as a policy.

Whereas on September 12, 2002,
President Bush committed the United States to "work with the United
Nations Security Council to meet our common challenge" posed by Iraq
and to "work for the necessary resolutions," while also making clear
that "the Security Council resolutions will be enforced, and the just
demands of peace and security will be met, or action will be
unavoidable";

Whereas the United States is determined
to prosecute the war on terrorism and Iraq's ongoing support for
international terrorist groups combined with its development of weapons
of mass destruction in direct violation of its obligations under the
1991 cease-fire and other United Nations Security Council resolutions
make clear that it is in the national security interests of the United
States and in furtherance of the war on terrorism that all relevant
United Nations Security Council resolutions be enforced, including
through the use of force if necessary;

KEY ISSUE:
Unilateral action against Iraq will cost the United States the support
of the world community, adversely affecting the war on terrorism. No
credible intelligence exists which connects Iraq to the events of 9/11
or to those terrorists who perpetrated 9/11. Under international law,
the United States does not have the authority to unilaterally order
military action to enforce UN Security Council resolutions.

Whereas Congress has taken steps to
pursue vigorously the war on terrorism through the provision of
authorities and funding requested by the President to take the
necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist
organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who
planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that
occurred on September 11, 2001 or harbored such persons or
organizations;

KEY ISSUE: The Administration has not provided Congress with any proof that
Iraq is in any way connected to the events of 9/11.

Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue to take
all appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist
organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who
planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that
occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or
organizations;

KEY ISSUE: The
Administration has not provided Congress with any proof that
Iraq is in any way connected to the events of 9/11. Furthermore, there
is no credible evidence that Iraq has harbored those who were
responsible for planning, authorizing or committing the attacks of
9/11.

Whereas the President has authority
under the Constitution to take action in order to deter and prevent
acts of international terrorism against the United States, as Congress
recognized in the joint resolution on Authorization for Use of Military
Force (Public Law 107-40); and

KEY ISSUE: This resolution was specific to 9/11. It was limited to a response to 9/11.

Whereas it is in the national security of the United States to restore
international peace and security to the Persian Gulf region;

KEY ISSUE: If by the
"national security interests" of the United States, the Administration
means oil, it ought to communicate such to the Congress. A unilateral
attack on Iraq by the United States will cause instability and chaos in
the region and sow the seeds of future conflicts all other the world.

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SEC. 1. SHORT TITLE.

This joint resolution may be cited as the "Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq".

SEC. 2. SUPPORT FOR UNITED STATES DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS

The Congress of the United States supports the efforts by the President to-

(a) strictly enforce through the United Nations Security Council all
relevant Security Council resolutions applicable to Iraq and encourages
him in those efforts; and

(b) 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.

KEY ISSUE:
Congress can and should support this clause. However Section 3
(which follows) undermines the effectiveness of this section. Any
peaceful settlement requires Iraq compliance. The totality of this
resolution indicates the Administration will wage war against Iraq no
matter what. This undermines negotiations.

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

AUTHORIZATION. The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of
the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in
order to

(1)defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and

(2)enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq.

KEY ISSUE: This clause is substantially similar to the authorization that the President originally sought.

It gives authority to the President to act prior to and even without a
UN resolution, and it authorizes the President to use US troops to
enforce UN resolutions even without UN request for it. This is a
violation of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which reserves the ability
to authorize force for that purpose to the Security Council, alone.

Under Chapter VII of the Charter of the
United Nations, "The Security Council shall determine the existence of
any threat to the peace... and shall make recommendations to maintain
or restore international peace and security." (Article 39). Only the
Security Council can decide that military force would be necessary,
"The Security Council may decide what measures... are to be employed to
give effect to its decisions (Article 41) ... [and] it may take such
action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or
restore international peace and security." (Article 43). Furthermore,
the resolution authorizes use of force illegally, since the UN Security
Council has not requested it. According to the UN Charter, members of
the UN, such as the US, are required to "make available to the Security
Council, on its call and in accordance with a special agreement or
agreements, armed forces..." (Article 43, emphasis added). The UN
Security Council has not called upon its members to use military force
against Iraq at the current time.

Furthermore, changes to the language of
the previous use-of-force resolution, drafted by the White House and
objected to by many members of Congress, are cosmetic:

In section (1), the word "continuing" was added to "the threat posed by Iraq".

In section (2), the word "relevant" is added to "United Nations
Security Council Resolutions" and the words "regarding "Iraq" were
added to the end.

While these changes are represented as
a compromise or a new material development, the effects of this
resolution are largely the same as the previous White House proposal.

The UN resolutions, which could be
cited by the President to justify sending US troops to Iraq, go far
beyond addressing weapons of mass destruction. These could include, at
the President's discretion, such "relevant" resolutions "regarding
Iraq" including resolutions to enforce human rights and the recovery of
Kuwaiti property.

PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION.

In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection
(a) 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 resolution
is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to
take the necessary actions against international terrorists and
terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or
persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorists
attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

(c) WAR POWERS RESOLUTION REQUIREMENTS. -

(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION. - Consistent with section 8(a)(1)
of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section
is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the
meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER
REQUIREMENTS. - Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement
of the War Powers Resolution.

SEC. 4. REPORTS TO CONGRESS

(a) The President shall, at least once every 60 days, submit to the
Congress a report on matters relevant to this joint resolution,
including actions taken pursuant to the exercise of authority granted
in section 2 and the status of planning for efforts that are expected
to be required after such actions are completed, including those
actions described in section 7 of Public Law 105-338 (the Iraq
Liberation Act of 1998).

(b) To the extent that the submission
of any report described in subsection (a) coincides with the submission
of any other report on matters relevant to this joint resolution
otherwise required to be submitted to Congress pursuant to the
reporting requirements of Public Law 93-148 (the War Powers
Resolution), all such reports may be submitted as a single consolidated
report to the Congress.

(c) To the extent that the information
required by section 3 of Public Law 102-1 is included in the report
required by this section, such report shall be considered as meeting
the requirements of section 3 of Public Law 102-1.

Dennis J Kucinich

www.Kucinich.us

 

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