Chris Bowers (Open Left):
In his speech today on Iraq, Barack Obama echoes something that has always pissed me off: claims that the AUMF against Iraq in 2002 wasn't actually a vote on whether or not to go to war with Iraq. From the speech:
Some seek to rewrite history. They argue that they weren't really voting for war, they were voting for inspectors, or for diplomacy. But the Congress, the Administration, the media, and the American people all understood what we were debating in the fall of 2002.
This was a vote about whether or not to go to war. That's the truth as we all understood it then, and as we need to understand it now. And we need to ask those who voted for the war: how can you give the President a blank check and then act surprised when he cashes it?
I really, truly, and deeply despise the claim from some Democrats, including Kerry in 2004 and Clinton more recently, that the vote back in 2002 wasn't about going to war with Iraq. After months of a drumbeat to war with Iraq, and especially after the House vote a few weeks earlier, anyone who actually believed the authorization to use military force was not about authorizing the war itself is simply delusional. And no, I can't put it any nicer than that. For starters, it was called A joint resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq. If that isn't explicit enough for you, Section Three of the legislation stated the following:
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.
Let me summarize. After several months of arguing around the nation that Iraq needed to be invaded, the Senate voted on legislation entitled "A joint resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq," which stated that "[t]he President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq." It that clear enough?
To argue that this vote was not about authorizing the war is to leave the reality-based community on Iraq. Period. Obama is absolutely right on this one.
Labels: barack obama, iraq