Democrats & Liberals Archives

Justification and Connection

I apologize for so quickly following my last post here with a new one, but I think the issue I am about to present to you can hardly wait.

I was watching Bill Moyers interview John Dean on his new, rather scathing book on the Bush administration, when he brought up what can only be described as a surprising point, that WMDs and terrorists were an integral part of the authorization to use force in Iraq. I did a little research, and sure enough, I found what what Mr. Dean was speaking of.

This authorization to use force is the legal justification for sending troops into combat, used to satisfy the provisions of the War Powers Act in order to allow the wheels of government to turn and the pursestring to loosen. And in that very authorization, the presence of the issues of WMDs and terrorists are explicitly laid out as justifying the war.

From The Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against 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;

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;

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;

...

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;

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

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;"

And so on and so forth. All emphasis is mine, by the way.

This is what Bush started this war based on. This is what gave the Defense Deparment the ability to strike at Iraq.

This is what Kerry voted for, what he put his vote on record for. As you can see, both disputed issues, that we know at this time to be factually absent, were an integral part of the authorization, given as justification for the War on Iraq. Because of the incredibly restrictive intelligence policies regarding members of congress and the senate, our legislative branch was dependent on the intelligence as provided by the Bush administration.

So is the presence or absence of WMDs and terrorists crucial to the justification of the war? Yes, because the war was authorized based on supposedly reliable evidence of those things. If anybody knew this information to be unreliable or false, then by using such information as the basis of the War in Iraq, they are guilty, if not of a crime, of a serious breach of good faith with the Congress and the nation they serve.

We cannot afford for the authorization of military force to become a game of bait and switch. We cannot afford to let our defense establishment play so loosely with facts, with intelligence, with our expectations and wishes for foreign policy. We cannot let our authorizations for war become mask and costume for the real reasons for going to war, known or unknown to the public. The American people and their representatives must know what they are being asked to get into, to sacrifice their lives, and disturb and destroy the lives of others for. Without this informed consent. The military might very well become a cynically employed tool for corrupt and the carelessly undisciplined policymakers.

If it hasn't already.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at April 2, 2004 11:52 PM