This holiday season has been haunted by a melody. John Lennon and Yoko Ono originally released "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" just before Christmas in 1971, at a time when the Vietnam War seemed likely never to end. Re-released in 1972, the record resonated with war-weary Americans who wanted the fighting to end. By then, the My Lai Massacre
court martial and the Pentagon Papers
had seeped into the public consciousness. Most Americans knew the war had to end, and end soon. Opinion polls showed support for the Vietnam War dropping to about 30% by mid-1971
. That lack of support did not translate quickly into government action, though, since Congress wouldn't cut off funding for Vietnam combat operations until December 1974 (three years after "Happy Xmas" debuted).
Hearing the refrain "War is over/If you want it" wafting from the car radio in recent days has produced the same sort of melancholoy it did on first hearing 35 years ago. I found myself pleading with John. "I want it," I cried. "I want it over! Tell me how!" About one in 10 Americans thinks sending more cannon fodder into Charnel House Iraq is a good idea
. Apparently, though, all of the people who think that way work for the Imperial House of Bush. The Boy King is poised to squander more of our lives and treasure
on his bid for immortality and empire.
"Tell me how, John. How can I make it be over?"
Yet it occurs to me that the power to put this nightmare to an end is within our collective grasp. If we want it, we can make it be over. Here's how:
Call your U.S. Representative and Senators, particularly any who are newly-elected Democrats. Ask them to support -- or even propose -- repeal of Public Law 107-243
. That action would withdraw Congressional authorization for the use of military force in Iraq. The statute, approved in October of 2002, gave approval for the Iraq War. Specifically, it says:"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."Despite all the shifting rationales offered by the Usurper for his Grand Babylonian Adventure over the years, he never fails to point out that a bipartisan majority of Congress gave him the green light to attack Iraq. While he takes a rather sweeping view of what Public Law 107-243 empowers him to do, its actual provisions are quite limited. He can use the U.S. military to end the "continuing threat" Iraq posed to "the national security of the United States". He is also empowered to use the U.S. military to "enforce all relevant" U.N. resolutions.
Simply put, both of those objectives have been achieved.
Even if you grant the specious argument that in March 2003, Iraq posed a threat to the national security of the United States, you cannot argue that the Iraq of today poses such a threat. Of course, there are people inside Iraq who would do harm to the U.S. forces occupying the country. But that isn't "Iraq". The "Iraq" referenced in the statute specifically means the government of Iraq, not individual citizens, or even large groups of them. The current government of Iraq, duly recognized by both the U.S. and the U.N., poses absolutely no threat to the "national security of the United States." Not even the most rabid Royalist would make that claim. So the first goal set out by Congress has been met.
The second goal refers specifically to the U.N. Security Council resolutions approved during and after the 1991 Gulf War. (His Imperious Majesty tried to get a new resolution approved in 2003, but it never happened, so there's nothing more recent to enforce.) Since the purported goal of the U.S. invasion was to kill terrorists, "disarm" Iraq of illicit weapons and "free" the Iraqi people, the "relevant" resolutions are those addressing these issues. There are three.
UNSC Resolution 686, adopted in March 1991 requires that Iraq "[p]rovide all information and assistance in identifying Iraqi mines, booby traps and other explosives as well as any chemical and biological weapons and material in Kuwait, in areas of Iraq where forces of Member States cooperating with Kuwait pursuant to resolution 678 (1990) are present temporarily, and in adjacent waters..."
Fifteen years after that war, and nearly four years after the invasion, it is clear there are no more mines, booby traps, explosives, chemical or biological weapons in Kuwait or in the areas of Iraq where occupying forces operate.
UNSC Resolution 687, adopted in April 1991, orders (in section 8) "that Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of:
(a) All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities;
(b) All ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres and related major parts, and repair and production facilities..."
As U.N. inspectors made clear in early 2003, and as numerous U.S. military and intelligence surveys conducted since have confirmed, there are no stockpiles of banned weapons in Iraq, and any medium range ballistic missiles have been destroyed or seized by the occupiers.
UNSC Resolution 688 addresses the 1991 post-war Iraqi campaign against independence-minded Kurds in the north and "[d]emands that Iraq, as a contribution to remove the threat to international peace and security in the region, immediately end this repression and express the hope in the same context that an open dialogue will take place to ensure that the human and political rights of all Iraqi citizens are respected..."
We are told repeatedly by minions of the Boy King , and by the Decider himself, that Iraq is a "young democracy
" today. How many times have we heard of those "three elections" and that "new constitution"? Or about a "government of national unity"? No one -- at least, no one in the Clown-in-Chief's inner circle -- argues that the government of Iraq is committing the kinds of human rights abuses described by the Security Council a decade and a half ago.
By the regime's own account, the objectives put forward in the statute authorizing military action against Iraq have been achieved. Mission accomplished!
Public Law 107-243 is no longer necessary, since its goals have been met. Therefore, it's time for Congress to remove it from the books. There is no rational argument for keeping it. Of course, there was no rational argument for adopting it in the first place, but that's another debate alogether.
Blogger Steve Soto argues Congress should go further
and rescind the 2001 measure authorizing use of military force against terrorists. He makes a telling point: not only did King George claim the statute (Public Law 107-40) gave him authority to invade Iraq (which it didn't), he undoubtedly will claim it authorizes the next war he intends to wage -- against Iran or Syria or Venezuela or whatever country he happens to dislike at the moment. Soto writes:"Why shouldn’t the Democratic leadership force Republicans to side with the president’s unchecked powers to wage war in the aftermath of Bush’s blow-off of the ISG report? Why shouldn’t the new Congress force the president to come to Congress before any hostilities begin with another country? It won’t stop him from doing it, because Scott Ritter says he’ll do it regardless, but rescinding the AUMF is the first step to putting his next war under a bright light for the American people." In stating the argument this way, Soto actually buys into the regime's claim that the statute, known as the AUMF, did, indeed, grant the authority to invade Iraq. That it didn't is clear from reading the text of the law:"...the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons." Public Law 107-40 Since Iraq had no role in planning, authorizing, committing or aiding in the September 11th attacks (as His Royal Oafishness has admitted), it clearly doesn't fall under the scope of the AUMF. Saudi Arabia might. Egypt might. Pakistan does. Afghanistan surely did (and does). Sudan, too. But Iraq? No way. Iran? Not a chance. Syria? Laughable. Any attempt to cloak aggression against either of the latter two nations in the authorization of Public Law 107-40 would never pass muster before a Congress that is populated by anything but somnambulists. There are countries that continue to harbor the perpetrators of 9/11 (Pakistan and Afghanistan most notably). If there ever is a real U.S.-led war against the terrorists who attacked the United States, whoever is serving as president can rely on Public law 107-40 to go after them. (This assumes the United States will ever again be a constitutional republic with three operational branches of government -- no sure bet, that.) Repealing it would limit that hypothetical chief executive's options at a time when those options are sorely and urgently needed. No, it takes only one step -- repeal of the Iraq War resolution -- to end the carnage. The challenge facing the new Democratic Congress is daunting, and that's where you come in. Make the call. Explain the rationale, and press your elected representatives to act. War is over.If you want it.