THE IRAQI WAR WAS DOOMED FROM THE START
The seeds of the Iraqi disaster were planted back in October of 2002 when Congress passed HJ Res. 114 - quite possibly the worst piece of legislation ever enacted by a Congress in the history of our republic. The chaos we see unfolding before us was set in motion the moment Congress took the power to declare war - a power Congress alone possesses - and turned that power over to the President.
If you have not read HJ Res. 114, take a look at the sorry excuse for a "Declaration of War" that was passed by those we have entrusted to lead us. You can read it here. After reading the resolution, it will become immediately obvious why this latest nation-building venture was doomed to failure before the first shot was fired.
HJ Res. 114 begins with a rambling discourse about the failure of Iraq to comply with UN demands to rid themselves of their dreaded WMD. The UN is mentioned over 20 times in the text and enforcement of UN Security Council Resolutions is the overriding theme. Just where in the U.S. Constitution our military is assigned the role of "Global UN Resolutions Enforcers" remains unclear in the document.
Rather than make the tough decision whether to declare war on Iraq, our leaders in Congress attempted to duck that responsibility and pass their war-making authority over to President Bush.
Forget for a moment that all the basic assumptions made in the resolution; the Iraq/al Qaida connection, the WMD stockpiles and the "continuing threat to the national security of the United States," were completely untrue. As bad a piece of legislation as HJ Res. 114 turned out to be, the actual authorization for the use of force in Iraq was not a willy-nilly authorization. There were two very specific, non-ambiguous conditions that had to be met before the President could "legally" invade Iraq.
This is the entirety of the "AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES" contained in HJ Res. 114:
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.
Conspicuously missing from HJ Res. 114 is any "AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES" to free the Iraqi people, bring stability in the Middle East, or spread democracy throughout the world.
Regarding the first requirement: We now know all the WMD and imminent threat hype we heard during the buildup to the war was a complete pack of lies. Iraq had no WMD, no nukes and after a 12-year embargo and bombing campaign, they had virtually no army. So Iraq was certainly not a "continuing threat" to America. And, even the President now admits, there were no Iraqi ties to 9-11.
No one in the administration is even attempting to argue any longer that Iraq was an actual threat to America. Instead, they make the argument that we were obligated (for as yet unexplained reasons) to rescue the Iraqi people from the hands of an evil dictator. The only problem is that Congress never authorized the President to depose Saddam Hussein by invading Iraq!
The claim that the Iraqi invasion defended the national security of the United States has proved to be a paranoid fantasy that was embraced by the top echelons of the war party; which means the first condition that would have authorized the use of force was never met.
The second condition is even more ridiculous to use as a justification for this war. There was a small army of UN weapons inspectors crawling all over Iraq in the months leading up to the war. The only thing they were able to identify as a clear violation of Security Council Resolutions was that some of the Iraqi rockets could travel a few more miles than was "allowed." And those rockets were bulldozed into scrap metal before the invasion!
Hans Blix, Executive Chairman, UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, warned our government there was a high likelihood that everyone was wrong about the Iraqi WMD, and asked for more time to search the country. Looking back, it would appear that the government of Iraq did in fact substantively meet the requirements of the UN resolutions. (But even if they hadn't, why should that be our problem?) Based on the fact that there was no hurry to invade, the UN wanted nothing to do with the war and did not support our decision to invade.
So the second condition of HJ Res.114 is invalid as well.
Neither of the clear requirements of HJ Res. 114 were met. Which means there was no legal, constitutional provision for the invasion of a country that posed no danger to us. Therefore, the invasion of Iraq was an illegal usurpation of power by President Bush.
The results of the illegal invasion were easy to predict: Nearly a thousand American soldiers are dead; two hundred billion dollars (so far) are thrown down a rat hole; America suffers a near complete loss of credibility throughout the world; tens of thousands of Iraqis are killed; and the al Qaida psychopaths got a recruitment bonanza.
The proper moral response to the President's lawbreaking behavior is impeachment and a harsh punishment for his war crimes. But since we can assume that no one in Congressional leadership will have the courage to confront the President for his direct challenge to the separation of powers and the rule of law, our only recourse is coming up this November.
But even November is a fuzzy picture because John Kerry, the other half of the one-party ticket, was an early supporter of the invasion.
Kerry is in a tough spot because he voted to approve HJ Res. 114 and has said he will press on with the current failed Iraqi policy if elected. If John Kerry had an ounce of creativity in him he would say, "Yes I voted for the joint resolution of October 2002, but that resolution did not authorize this invasion. The President broke the law and launched an illegal invasion against a country that was not a continuing threat to America and was in compliance with UN Resolutions. If I am elected, there will not be a single American soldier left in Iraq a month after I am sworn in."
I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I think back to the happy days of Bill Clinton, when our biggest worry in The District of Criminals seemed to be impeaching a President for lying about shenanigans with an intern. That was certainly a fun time. If only we could deal with problems like that again, instead of dealing with warmongering rulers who are bogging us down in bloody, expensive, illegal and ill-fated nation-building ventures.
There was never a question as to whether we could conquer a defenseless nation like Iraq. However, since we had no moral justification for the invasion, the nasty mess in which we find ourselves was almost a guarantee. The only honorable thing left to do is to admit our mistake to the Iraqi people, offer to pay them for all the people we killed and all the things we broke, and get our troops out of there!
Fortunately, there is one clear-headed patriot running for President. Check out Michael Peroutka at www.peroutka2004.com
The occupation of Iraq is a loser any way you want to look at it. Just because our leaders have dragged us into this little nation-building fiasco, does not mean we have to continue blindly following them over the cliff.
© 2004 David Brownlow
- All Rights Reserved
Dave Brownlow, an engineer, has been designing and selling industrial automation control systems since 1979. He lives in Clackamas OR with his wife Suzanne and their four children. Active in the pro-life movement and conservative politics for over 20 years, David ran for US Congress in the 3rd District of Oregon in 2002 on the Constitution Party ticket. He has announced his plans to run again in 2004. His Web-Site www.davebrownlow.com E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"The results of the illegal invasion were easy to predict: Nearly a thousand American soldiers are dead; two hundred billion dollars (so far) are thrown down a rat hole; America suffers a near complete loss of credibility throughout the world; tens of thousands of Iraqis are killed; and the al Qaida psychopaths got a recruitment bonanza."