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How can this be justified?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
First off let me say, this is something that has bugged me a bit for a while. And i figured John Kerry will clarify it at some point. Usually I can attribute a lot of what he says to simply a different view or plan. But he hasn't clarified, so I have to see if someone here can interpret it for me.

Kerry signed on to this resolution, giving the president the authority to use force to confront Iraq:

http://www.yourcongress.com/ViewArti...rticle_id=2686

"The president promised to build the international coalition, to do this as a matter of last resort, to go through the_United Nations_process and respect it, And in the end, it is clear now that he didn't do that sufficiently. And I think in that regard, the American people were let down."

"It seems quite clear to me that the president circumvented that process, shortchanged it and did not give full meaning to the words 'last resort,"'

CBS LESLIE STAHL asked if the vote on that resolution was a mistake, "What - what - what I voted for - Lesley, you - you - you see, youre playing here. What - what I voted for was a - an authority for the president to go to war as a last resort if Saddam Hussein did not disarm and we needed to go to war."

"I Voted To Threaten The Use Of Force To Make Saddam Hussein Comply With The Resolutions Of The United Nations JK 9/15/03 USN&WP

The last quote seems to be the current tact and has been used many times and even in the latest debates:

"He misled the American people when he said we'd go to war as a last resort. We did not go as a last resort."

The language in the resolution is quite clear and contains no such qualifiers, that he seems to think exists. The fact that he misunderstands the resolution bothers me less than the fact he thinks it's OK to just authorize the threat of, rather than the actual use of force.

It seems to be the equal to giving a policeman a gun but no bullets. Or sending someone to a gunfight with a knife. Kerry wanted to to just that to this administration, according to him.

Can someone clarify this for me?
post #2 of 20
Two links.


1. Kerry's speech when he voted for the resolution.

Quote:
In giving the President this authority, I expect him to fulfill the commitments he has made to the American people in recent days--to work with the United Nations Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough and immediate inspection requirements, and to act with our allies at our side if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force. If he fails to do so, I will be among the first to speak out.

If we do wind up going to war with Iraq, it is imperative that we do so with others in the international community, unless there is a showing of a grave, imminent--and I emphasize "imminent"--threat to this country which requires the President to respond in a way that protects our immediate national security needs.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has recognized a similar need to distinguish how we approach this. He has said that he believes we should move in concert with allies, and he has promised his own party that he will not do so otherwise. The administration may not be in the habit of building coalitions, but that is what they need to do. And it is what can be done. If we go it alone without reason, we risk inflaming an entire region, breeding a new generation of terrorists, a new cadre of anti-American zealots, and we will be less secure, not more secure, at the end of the day, even with Saddam Hussein disarmed.

2. Bush's speech when he signed the resolution.
Quote:
With this resolution, Congress has now authorized the use of force. I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary.

Quote:
Our goal is not merely to limit Iraq's violations of Security Council resolutions, or to slow down its weapons program. Our goal is to fully and finally remove a real threat to world peace and to America. Hopefully this can be done peacefully. Hopefully we can do this without any military action. Yet, if Iraq is to avoid military action by the international community, it has the obligation to prove compliance with all the world's demands. It's the obligation of Iraq.

Quote:
Like the members of Congress here today, I've carefully weighed the human cost of every option before us. If we go into battle, as a last resort, we will confront an enemy capable of irrational miscalculations, capable of terrible deeds.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Two links.


1. Kerry's speech when he voted for the resolution.



2. Bush's speech when he signed the resolution.

I have read both and do see how events have unfolded. But, congress signed the resolution, so Kerry's speech afterward is of little relevance other than political. I remember many a pundit criticizing him for that.

Bush did get the resolution that Kerry asked for. Bush did also get international support. And in the first link of his speech, he acknowledges the president's authority he gave him. I don't see the language in the resolution that Kerry uses then or now. And that is the point. The resolution is law, and Kerry's words are just words that, in fact are not backed by said law.

Kerry is claiming that his personal view is above the law. The law gave Bush the Authority to use military "FORCE". Kerry thinks that just the "threat" was/is enough despite actually voting for force.

I know how he justifies it - he ignores the distinction. I would like to hear how some here are able to swallow it.
post #4 of 20
It's such a short resolution I might as well post the whole thing. Read it, and decide for yourself if it sounds like a blank check:
Quote:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This joint resolution may be cited as the `Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002'.
SEC. 2. SUPPORT FOR UNITED STATES DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS. 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.
SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) 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.
(b) 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 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.
(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 joint resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.
SEC. 4. REPORTS TO CONGRESS. (a) REPORTS- 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 3 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 the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338 ).
(b) SINGLE CONSOLIDATED REPORT- 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 the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148 ), all such reports may be submitted as a single consolidated report to the Congress.
(c) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION- To the extent that the information required by section 3 of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (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 such resolution.
post #5 of 20
I think it's the Bush administration who is playing fast with history when they say that "Kerry voted to go to war." There is a difference between this resolution and, for example, a declaration of war. If Kerry had voted for a declaration of war, which is what the Bush people imply, then all bets would be off for him. It's IMO a pretty good reason to actually have Congress declare war in cases like this. Then people like Kerry couldn't talk their way out of it later.

But this resolution was different. It set up two specific conditions for war - to protect the US or to enforce UN resolutions. One of those had to be the reason for the war and the prez had to submit in writing to Congress his reasoning 48 hours before going to war.

It's true that there's nothing in the resolution about going with allies or completing inspections. It's more blunt than Kerry's speech. There's no doubt in my mind that he was trying to cover himself. On the other hand, I believe he probably did have genuine concerns about going to war in the way Bush did.

Here's the resolution. (I think it's the right one.)

[edit Towel beat me to it and posted it.]
post #6 of 20
A few thoughts:
- it clearly expressed the non-binding wish of Congress that any action be under UN Security Council auspices
- it repeats the since-discredited (but even at the time not very credible) link between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks
- the reasons for going to war are in Sec. 3b, and are: ending the "continuing threat" posed by Iraq or the enforcement of UN resolutions, whichever is required to make the US safer from international terror - predicated on diplomacy being incapable of meeting this objective

My opinion? In hindsight, it's clear that diplomacy had already met that objective, as Saddam had neither WMD nor the capability to make them. End of story. It wasn't clear at the time this was true, but it was even less clear that "further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone" couldn't have demonstrated the success that had already been acheived.

Going to war, therefore, was clearly a mistake (wrong decision based on what we know now), and it can be argued that it was a blunder (wrong decision based on what we knew then).
post #7 of 20
Quote:
There is a difference between this resolution and, for example, a declaration of war.

Quote:
(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.


Quote:
- it clearly expressed the non-binding wish of Congress that any action be under UN Security Council auspices

except that it doesn't express anything non-binding of congress... it expresses their support of any force deemed necessary by the President.

Quote:
- it repeats the since-discredited (but even at the time not very credible) link between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks

- the reasons for going to war are in Sec. 3b, and are: ending the "continuing threat" posed by Iraq or the enforcement of UN resolutions, whichever is required to make the US safer from international terror - predicated on diplomacy being incapable of meeting this objective

It gave the President the authority to enforce the previously unenforced UN resolutions.
post #8 of 20
Bush, was planning the war in Iraq long before we even finished ...out in Afghanistan...In the start of this administration...Rice and Powell were on T.V. stating that Iraq had no WMD...Bush went for oil and oil and more oil....He
didnt do what he said he was going to do ...just like in the debate {2nd} ..when Sen Kerry was finishing up with his turn ...Bush jumps off his seat and starts talking over the moderater and holds his arm out as if to say' i dont need to wait my turn..i can just blurt out what ever and when ever...and that is what I think he did with Iraq...lets go get em...we arnt going to what any longer....We are all in danger OMG they the Iraq's are coming to get us.... ...I like the part that we have been in Iraq for sixteen months and we still dont have control of the hole country..oh wait it is alot of hard work.... I think the resone for the vote,was to give the Pres the power to go to war was a prcation ...at the time we had no idea who was behind the attacks..again Bush jumped the gun ...and it is very clear they had no plan ...shoot firts ask ? later...I was reading about a reporter who was talking to Marines in Iraq...ther were alot who were just pissed that they have been over there and they feel that ,,there hands are tied ...they have not been able to into the city's that are controled by insurgents...and the reaction time is to slow....etc... so how is Bush winning the war in Iraq???
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by OBJRA10
... it expresses their support of any force deemed necessary by the President.

And here's what the president deemed necessary:

"If we go into battle, as a last resort...."
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post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Not to be picky, but congress has not passed a declaration of war since WWII. There is less and less reason to do so, because of the way war is conducted now. It has been an ongoing debate for decades now. But what congress did in this war is and has been status quo.

Even the Afghan resolution leaves it up to the president to declare war and on any nation he sees as a threat. No strings, as does the Iraq one.

As far as the AQ-Iraq link this is what is stated:

"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 United States 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;"

No stated direct ties.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by bunge
And here's what the president deemed necessary:

"If we go into battle, as a last resort...."

It can be argued that war was the last resort, in this situation.

I guess the lie that JK is spouting is OK with his loyalists. I thought there may be something that I missed. It seems pretty clear to me, now. Thanks.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by NaplesX
It can be argued that war was the last resort, in this situation.

I guess the lie that JK is spouting is OK with his loyalists. I thought there may be something that I missed. It seems pretty clear to me, now. Thanks.

Can you be specific about what his lie is? IMO the lie is that he voted "for the war." The resolution he voted for laid out a set of conditions that could possibly lead to war. It was not a declaration of war in itself.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Can you be specific about what his lie is? IMO the lie is that he voted "for the war." The resolution he voted for laid out a set of conditions that could possibly lead to war. It was not a declaration of war in itself.

Then you did not read the resolution.

EDIT: This is the section giving war powers to the president specifically in Iraq:

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) 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.

JK did vote for this resolution without any strings. The dependancies that he says were there are not. And that is the lie.
post #14 of 20
Why must you be so willfully incomprehending?!?!?!

If a paragraph has more than three sentences is it too difficult for you to understand?
Authorization to use force as a last resort (as the President said 'as a last resort') is not the same as "invading, based on unchecked data, used in intentionally misleading ways, so as to kick into gear an ideologically based 'Vision' of the 'New World Order'"

This is the last gasp of the pathetic 'flip-flop' campaign rhetoric that this administration has used in every campaign, and which the Repubs have used repeatedly for years . . .. which has never had any bearing on reality, but sure can make the sheeple turn their stupid heads and bray!!!
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post #15 of 20
One point:

One cannot be simultaneously the most liberal member of the senate and a flip-flopper.

On top of that, I find it humorous to no end that the new ads from the Bush campaign are so intent on associating Kerry with the "liberals of congress". Diluting the blame in such a manner is hardly a way to vilify a candidate in the eyes of the undecided, and seems to be a last minute attempt to energize the "base".
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post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by NaplesX
Then you did not read the resolution.

EDIT: This is the section giving war powers to the president specifically in Iraq:

First of all, we all need to realize that the President doesn't need to ask anyone's permission, including Congress's, to commit US troops to combat if he deems it necessary - under any circumstances. It's not like this resolution was a "permission slip" for war. It was instead pre-fulfilling the requirements of the War Powers Act.

The WPA requires that the President report to Congress why he committed troops and get specific approval for doing so within 60 days. The Iraq resolution pre-emptively fulfilled the approval part, but required that the report (if you read Sec3.b, NaplesX) include the President's determination that going to war would:
- 1a. protect the US against Iraq
- OR 1b. lead to enforcement of the UN resolutions
- AND 2. neither could not be accomplished by diplomacy alone
- AND 3. be "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."

Retrospectively, it's clear that neither 2. nor 3. were true. At the time, there were doubts about both of these as well, but obviously no one knew for sure.

Quote:
except that it doesn't express anything non-binding of congress... it expresses their support of any force deemed necessary by the President.

Read the very first paragraph, Sec2. It very explicitly states that Congress wants the President to work through the UNSC, but uses the phrase "supports the efforts of" rather than "requires", so it's also explicitly non-binding. That is, the President's free to ignore it, as he did. But it expresses the "sense of the Congress" at the time, and it's up to you to decide if the President ignored it in good faith or bad.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by NaplesX
Then you did not read the resolution.

EDIT: This is the section giving war powers to the president specifically in Iraq:

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) 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.

JK did vote for this resolution without any strings. The dependancies that he says were there are not. And that is the lie.

The resolution doesn't say "have lots of allies" nor "after the inspections were finished." In that sense, if Kerry says that's what he voted for, it's not true. However, the Bush people are wrong when they say "he voted for the war." The war was conditioned upon diplomacy either not protecting the US or not effectively enforcing all UN SC resolutions. Both of those points are highly debatable, and therefore the resolution was not a complete blank check or declaration of war in itself.

I think that in these cases, Congress should declare war. There was plenty of time, it wasn't some kind of defensive maneuver that we had to take because we were attacked and there wasn't enough time to debate what to do. There was plenty of debate. There's simply no reason no to declare war. Except that a genuine war declaration probably wouldn't have passed.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by NaplesX
JK did vote for this resolution without any strings. The dependancies that he says were there are not. And that is the lie.

No bill or resolution can possibly satisfy everyone. As with every vote, he only had three choices, yea, nea, or abstention. In this case, Kerry clearly explained his vote and let everyone know how he thought the president should use the newly granted authority.

Kerry recognized that, in order to be taken seriously, the administration needed the power to act when bargaining with Sadam and the UN. With the congressional blessing to declare war, the administration was also given the power to negotiate. Ever tried to negotiate with someone who doesnt have final authority on the issue at hand? Negotiations are much more productive when the delegates involved actually have the authority to decide things.

Kerry stated exactly how that power should be used and has remained consistent. Rather than using it as a leverage for negotiation, the administration lept head long into a poorly justified invasion and occupation. He feels that the Bush administration misused its power and that he would make better decisions when faced with similar scenarios.

Completely consistent in my book.
post #19 of 20
How do we justify/reconcile all of this? Simple:

The authorization to use force was supposed to be political posturing. We wanted SH to do something he didn't want to do, and so we needed to make him think that an invasion was imminent. You do that by passing a force resolution.
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post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by NaplesX
Not to be picky, but congress has not passed a declaration of war since WWII. There is less and less reason to do so, because of the way war is conducted now. It has been an ongoing debate for decades now. But what congress did in this war is and has been status quo.

Even the Afghan resolution leaves it up to the president to declare war and on any nation he sees as a threat. No strings, as does the Iraq one.

As far as the AQ-Iraq link this is what is stated:

"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 United States 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;"

No stated direct ties.

Maybe it's time we went back to that instead of letting one man run away with things without all the facts.
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