War? We didn't authorize NO STINKIN' WAR!
Why do elected Democrats act so freaking clueless? Not only do they continue to call it the "Iraq War" instead of the "the Occupation", they apparently can't even figure out how to make clear that THEY NEVER AUTHORIZED A WAR IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Dems never voted for the war. Do you hear that, Harry Reid? Nancy Pelosi? Rahm Emmanuel? Let me say it again: You people never voted for a war in Iraq. Not even close.
Yet this meme continues to rear its ugly head everywhere you look. Take a look at this "Blogs for Bush" piece, written on June 21:
An overwhelming number of Democrats voted for the war - but now the Left says they were "scared" into their votes by Bush. What does it say about Democrats if the "dummy" they think Bush is can scare them so easily?
This attack on Democrats looks terribly simple and easy to make--until you realize that it is, well, BULLSHIT. But as long as Democrats internalize this attack and agree with it, we're going to look incredibly weak, stupid and politically exploitative. And Karl Rove is going to continue to take what should be an albatross of an issue for the GOP, and turn it back on Democrats to to his own advantage, by telling voters that we're the party of the "cut and run." The Republicans want to claim that, even though they screwed things up in Iraq, that A) "we" decided to invade Iraq, too; and B) now we're reneging on "our" committment. Which is all Bullshit.
Let's make something perfectly clear: the Joint Resolution did not say that we should use force on Iraq. What it did was say explicitly that whether or not we used force in Iraq was the prerogative decision of the President.
You know what that means, Democrats? That means that YOU didn't authorize the decision to go to war. It does, unfortunately, mean that you gave up your congressional duty to be the arbiter of when America declares war; it does mean that you permitted this creature we call the President to act like we're "at war" without defining who the enemy is or what the terms of "victory" are, or putting any sunset date on the authorization for the use of force. It does mean that you decisively shifted the balance of power to the executive branch, and that it will probably take yet another vote of Congress to specifically repudiate the resolution to put an end ot the permanent war footing that the President put us on. It does mean, in other words, that you helped hold the knife while Republicans castrated the entire legislative branch at the altar of the Executive. But it DOESN'T mean that you authorized or encouraged war.
In fact, if you actually take a look at the freaking resolution itself, you will see that DIPLOMACY takes precedence over military action:
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.
You see how section three only comes after section two? It's like counting, you see. We teach little toddlers to do this. You try this little thing called "diplomacy"--that's the first little piggy that goes to market. Then, SECOND, if that fails, the PRESIDENT--not you--decides whether and if to go to war. First little piggy, second little piggy.
Indeed, a few of you brave souls actually attempted to add resolutions to this resolution to make it uniformly clear that all avenues of diplomacy needed to be pursued through the U.N. before force could be used.
What DIDN'T you authorize? I don't know--little things like facts being fixed around the policy, or sending U.S. planes marked with U.N. colors to provoke war, or using treason to punish the very spies and diplomats who were trying to tell the truth about Saddam's weapons programs.
Besides, Bush himself said he never even needed your authorization, anyway. He claimed that a few Congressional resolutions passed in the wake of 9/11 gave him a legal excuse to wage unilateral war with or without your approval.
What the Congressional Resolution really was, in fact, was Congress giving Bush the legislative equivalent of an Epi-pen. An Epi-pen, for those who may not know, is an adrenaline injection kit to be used in emergencies for people who have allergic reactions to things like bee stings or peanuts. The patient keeps the Epi-pen with them at all times in case of emergency, hoping that they never have a problem. And nobody in their right mind sticks an Epi-pen into their thigh UNTIL A PROBLEM ACTUALLY OCCURS.
Bush and Rove telling the Democrats that they voted for this immoral war is the political equivalent of a patient sticking an epi-pen into their thigh in order to get an adrenaline high--and then telling the doctor that it was HER fault for prescribing it. You know what they call that where I come from? Bullshit.
And what about Bush? He disagreed at the time, right? He didn't think this was an Epi-pen, did he? He said that Democrats authorized the war, right? Wrong.
According to the great Shrub at the time of the debate:
Later this week, the United States Congress will vote on this matter. I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce U.N. Security Council demands. Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable. The resolution will tell the United Nations, and all nations, that America speaks with one voice and is determined to make the demands of the civilized world mean something. Congress will also be sending a message to the dictator in Iraq: that his only chance -- his only choice is full compliance, and the time remaining for that choice is limited.
Meaning? That ONLY THE PRESIDENT WOULD DETERMINE IF MILITARY ACTION WERE AVOIDABLE OR NOT. Not Democrats--or Republicans--in Congress. The President admitted at the freaking time that this was not a vote to support going to war; it was only vote to give him the discretion to do so IF HE CHOSE. His Choice; His War; His problem.
Further, on the very day that he signed the resolution, he himself called using force "a last resort".
This is no clever parsing of words. There is no meaning of "is" here. It's as clear as day, Democrats. These are the very words Bush used when most Dems gave him his fateful Epi-pen.
But it was BUSH who decided to plunge that Epi-Pen into America's collective thigh. And he used it to give a shot of cash to oil-addicted corporate friends.
I call BULLSHIT on that. Democrats aren't cutting and running. We're the doctor that prescribed the epi-pen to this Fool of a President--and now we're trying to remove it before we ALL die of corporate-oil-profit and military-industrial-complex-induced adrenaline overdose.
Bullshit, I tell you. Bullshit.
[This diary was written with major collaboration from Melody Townsel, who came up with this meme, and many of whose ideas I lifted wholesale. Props to Melody!]