August 16, 2004 | UPDATE
What Did the Joint Resolution on Iraq Really Say?
by The Angry Liberal
Ain't politics fun?
Last week, presidential candidate George W. Bush decided to make Iraq the centerpiece of his reelection campaign. Forgetting that the war was based on a series of lies and twisted intelligence, has alienated the rest of the world, and will soon kill America's 1,000th serviceman/woman, the King Chicken Hawk charged ahead with a plan to make John Kerry's vote on the war look foolish. It seems that when Kerry charges Bush with presiding over a complete disaster of a war, Bush gleefully responds with, "Oh, yeah? Well, you were dumb enough to support me! "That's telling him, George.
So Bush, while on the campaign trail last week, threw down the gauntlet:
Why Bush, whose entire Iraq strategy has been laid to waste by the passage of time, would want to play the hindsight game is completely unknown. But Kerry decided to play along:
"I believe it's the right authority for a president to have," Mr. Kerry said, referring to the joint resolution. "But I would have used that authority, as I have said throughout this campaign, effectively."
To which Bush responded triumphantly:
I don't know which is worse: The notion that the President of the United States could be that stupid or that almost half of the nation supports him.
I hate to break it to Dubya, but Kerry didn't vote to go into Iraq. He supported a joint resolution to authorize the use of force against Iraq. And if somebody at the White House had actually read that resolution, here's an interesting passage that they would have discovered:
In other words, John Kerry voted to allow Bush to attack Iraq only if Bush determined that Iraq presented a threat to the United States, and used the guise of security council resolution enforcement as an attempt to legitimize that attack. In hindsight, since we are nearly certain that Iraq posed no significant threat after all, Bush couldn't have provided the determination that Iraq was a danger to the United States. Let me rephrase that: Bush could provide the determination, but he would have been laughed out of Washington. Ladies and gentlemen, when Bush's question to Kerry is turned on him, knowing what we know today about Iraq's lack of weapons of mass destruction and lack of involvement with terrorism, the joint resolution wouldn't have provided any authority for Bush to declare war on Iraq. In effect, the resolution says that going to war in Iraq, knowing what we know now, would not be justified. Yet Bush waves the resolution around as if it actually supported the war.
I encourage you to read the entire resolution. Note that it is riddled with inaccuracies and misstatements about Iraq. Even though it was written by a Republican congress being fed misleading and false information by the CIA and the Bush administration, the resolution does not authorize Bush to declare war under the circumstances we now know existed at the time that Bush climbed aboard his hobby horse and charged up Sand Juan Hill. The resolution says that Bush was wrong to go to war.
Bush will never admit this, however. When you see Dubya on the campaign trail today, you'll notice that he never mentions exactly what threat Iraq posed to the U.S. No talk about weapons of mass destruction or terrorist links now. The 9/11 Commission slammed the door on that ploy in its report. Bush now simply says that attacking Iraq was "the right thing to do," as if saying it enough times will eventually make it true. And unfortunately for us liberals, Kerry is letting him get away with it. Kerry is refusing to question the wisdom of the war even though we are now almost certain that there was no basis for it. God, I miss Howard Dean.
Okay, Georgie, here's my question to you: Knowing what we know now, do you think the joint resolution authorized you to go to war in Iraq? And if so, why don't you make public the determination that you were forced to provide to congress? You know, the one mandated by the joint resolution:
Let's see the pack of lies that you provided to congress to justify your little war. Let's make that public. And as long as you're coming clean, wouldn't this be a good time to admit that you were 100% wrong in going to war in Iraq and those of us on the left who opposed you were 100% right? As long as we're examining Kerry's actions from 2002, wouldn't this be a good time to admit that your own moronic strategy of preemptive war, combined with your complete lack of understanding of the world's threats, has led the United States into a needless nightmare in Iraq? Wouldn't this be a good time to admit that you were wrong, to apologize to Americans and to the world, and to resign?
In the immortal words of Steve Martin as Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber, "Naaaaaahhh!"
One of my readers was kind enough to point out that Bush did indeed publish the determination on March 19, 2003. You can read it here.
You will notice that the determination is nothing more than a regurgitation of the requirement mandated by the joint resolution, word for word. It's also wrong. Since Iraq had no WMD or significant ties to terrorism, no rational person could make the argument that attacking Iraq was in the interest of national security or was consistent with fighting a war on terror. There it is, in black and white: The big lie that killed a hell of a lot of good soldiers.
Remember when presidents who lied were impeached?