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August 16, 2004
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Kerry. Iraq. War. Position. Kevin Drum puts it in simple words.

Go. Read. I'm not talking to you until you do.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:33 AM


there is one tenuous link in the argument though.

Drum writes: Kerry wants pressure and inspections....doubts Iraq would comply with inspections, but he thinks we have to go through the process of trying

Then, adds "There you have it. Edwards says if Kerry had been president, we would have found out Iraq had no WMD, and "we would never be in this place."

This leap assumes that we would have forced compliance with the inspections (how else would we know he had no WMD capabilities?)..which is counter to the assumption that Iraq would comply made in the first part.

So, the question is how would we have forced compliance? The article is vague except "turn up the heat" (we're already putting sanctions on them and enforcing a no-fly zone)..I'm guessing he means our Allies would have help more??

I'm left to assume that Drum believes after some more failed attempts at inspections, more of our "Allies" would have been willing to do what (invade? force compliance?)..And if Sadaam wasn't going to blink with over 150K US/UK and other forces surrounding him and people like Mubarek and Jordan's King telling him to play ball, I'm not sure how 10K more French or German troops or the UN passing another resolution would have changed his mind...

pressuring Saddam was good, inspections were good, and eventually war might have been good too.

Of course, even that sequence doesn't rise to the standard John Kerry established in his nomination speech as the ONLY justification for war...

I think John Kerry probably thought the President should NOT have had the authority, was probably against going to war, and probably voted for it in 2002 because he was afraid of repeating his error in Gulf War I and was thinking about his 2004 campaign..so he can nuance it all he wants, but he should expect to be called in on the carpet for his vote..just like he voted against the 87B because of the popularity Dean was getting at the time with his anti-war rhetoric..

How about the real John Kerry standing up?

Posted by: Col Steve at August 17, 2004 01:48 AM

'This place' doesn't just mean that we went to war, but that we did so with hardly any substantial aid from outside and a great cost to us and our international standing, and without a substantive plan for the post-war reconstruction.

If a gradually escalating inspection regime had still brought us to war, it would have been with much greater legitimacy, and with much more time to gauge the situation and plan for the aftermath. So we might still be in Iraq, but we probably wouldn't be in 'this place.'

Here's the part I don't get. What's so complicated about giving a President authority and then criticizing his use of it? It wasn't a blank check, or a transfer of legislative authority or a coronation.

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at August 17, 2004 01:57 AM

I think in light of the force build up and the evolution of the 1973 War Powers Resolution, it was generally understood that the resolution was in fact an authorization to commit forces.

Congress passed H.J.Res. 114, the Authorization for the Use of Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (P.L. 107-243 ). On
October 16, 2002, President Bush signed this legislation into law. This statute authorizes the
President to use the armed forces of the United Statesas 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.Prior to using force under this statute the President is required to communicate to Congress his determination that the use of diplomatic and other peaceful means will not “adequately protect the United States ... or ... lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions” and that the use of force is “consistent” with the battle against terrorism.
The statute also stipulates that it is “intended to constitute specific statutory authorization
within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.” It further requires the
President to make periodic reports to Congress “on matters relevant to this joint resolution.”
Finally, the statute expresses Congress’ “support” for the efforts of the President to obtain“ prompt and decisive action by the Security Council” to enforce Iraq’s compliance with all relevant Security Council resolutions.

P.L. 107-243 clearly confers broad authority on the President to use force. The authority granted is not limited to the implementation of previously adopted Security Council
resolutions concerning Iraq but includes “all relevant ... resolutions.” Thus, it appears to
incorporate resolutions concerning Iraq that may by adopted by the Security Council in the
future as well as those already adopted. The authority also appears to extend beyond
compelling Iraq’s disarmament to implementing the full range of concerns expressed in those resolutions.

The President’s exercise of the authority granted is not dependent upon a finding
that Iraq was complicit in the attacks of September 11, 2001. Moreover, the authority
conferred can be used for the purpose of defending “the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq.”

If not a blank check, the amount was pretty large..and the Reps and Senators who voted Yes either knew that or didn't bother to read the resolution...

I don't see how Kerry justifies his Yes vote in light of his views..the resolution was clearly an implicit transfer of authority..at a minimum, the
Congress should have retained the 5b requirement.

Posted by: Col Steve at August 17, 2004 02:01 PM