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US President Bush Demands Free Hand for War from Congress

"Bush's `method', the instigation of a war for domestic political reasons, is as old as war itself. Nothing is better suited to produce unity across all differences than war and threats from the outside..American historians recall that only Congress can declare war." This article is translated from the German in the cyber journal Telepolis.
US President Bush Demands Free Hand for War from Congress

By Florian Roetzer

[This article originally published in the cyber journal Telepolis, September 20, 2002 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,  http://www.telepolis.de/deutsch/inhalt/co/13282/1.html.]

In a resolution to Congress, Bush wants to force a decision before the elections and distorts the truth.

,,,Bush's "method", the instigation of a war for domestic political reasons, is as old as war itself. Nothing is better suited to produce unity across all differences than war and threats from the outside..

"At the United Nations Security Council it is very important that the members understand that the credibility of the United Nations is at stake, that the Security Council must be firm in its resolve to deal with a true threat to world peace, and that is Saddam Hussein. That the United Nations Security Council must work with the United States and Britain and other concerned parties to send a clear message that we expect Saddam to disarm. And if the United Security Council wont deal with the problem, the United States and some of our friends will." - President Bush

The US president is emphasizing the case of Iraq before the US elections with all determination.1 In a resolution sent to Congress, he seeks absolute freedom of action to launch a military attack unrestrictedly and at any time. The formulation that preserving peace requires permission to use force clearly suggests that the Bush administration wants to use the military card more easily in the future, not only for a military first-strike against Iraq.

The blank check that Bush wants from the Congress also tests the limits because the proposed resolution is in no way limited to Iraq but would give him a free hand for military actions in the whole region. The basis for a military strike would be any threat to the national security of the US, not only a breach of UN resolutions. Very bluntly, the goal is the overthrow of the regime, not weapons inspections or elimination of weapons of mass destruction.

"The President is authorized to use all means that he determines to be appropriate, including force, in order to enforce the United Nations Security Council resolutions referenced above, defend the national security interests of the United States against the threat posed by Iraq, and restore international peace and security in the region."

With the reference to earlier congressional resolutions, the drafted resolution declares that the US president can use all means to prevail when UN sanctions are violated by Iraq. From the constitution, the president has the right to act militarily when national security is threatened. American historians3 recall that only Congress can declare war, not the president. The petition4 insists that Congress must debate and vote and not only pass a resolution authorizing a war. A new UN sanction or the legitimation of a war against Iraq for violating UN sanctions would be a necessary means for Bush to carry out an intervention, not to declare war.

"We too watched with shock the horrific events of September 11, 2001. We too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage - even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and, a generation ago, Vietnam. We too joined the anguished questioning of millions of Americans who asked why such a thing could happen.

But the mourning had barely begun, when the highest leaders of the land unleashed a spirit of revenge. They put out a simplistic script of "good vs. evil" that was taken up by a pliant and intimidated media. They told us that asking why these terrible events had happened verged on treason. There was to be no debate. There were by definition no valid political or moral questions. The only possible answer was to be war abroad and repression at home."

From5 "A Statement of Conscience: Not In Our Name", a manifesto of American war opponents signed by many artists and intellectuals

The Bush administration's attempted justification of the war authorization of the president in the resolution by creating facts out of speculations is appalling. Thus it is said that Iraq still violates the UN resolutions in possessing and developing "a significant amount of chemical and biological weapons, in actively seeking to possess nuclear weapons and supporting and sheltering terrorist organizations that threaten the national security, interests of the US and international peace." Iraq, still the ally of the US!, already used weapons of mass destruction.

Members of al-Qaida are claimed to be staying in Iraq. The attacks of 9.11 demonstr5ated the magnitude of the threat "that Iraq supplies weapons of mass destruction to international terrorist organizations". For a long time, both were completely unproven as there is no evidence that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction. The US according to international law has the "inherent right" to use force for self-preservation. Iraq has already shown that it has the means and the will to use weapons of mass destruction, the resolution continues. The use of force for self-defense is legitimate given the high risk that these weapons could be used in a "surprise attack" on the US or delivered to international terrorists for this purpose.

In contrast, the resolution hardly discussed the conversations and preparations of a new weapons inspection or clear conditions when military means should be deployed. What is involved is largely a blank check. After a discussion and some limitations, the Congress should approve the resolution awarding power to the president without another vote of Congress. The critical voices from the ranks of the democrats are largely reserved. In election campaign times, the pressure can be so great that a power is conceded to the president that cannot be cancelled any more in order not to be regarded as unpatriotic. Finally, Bush declares again and again that the nation is already in a long lasting war requiring national unity. He seeks to sell the resolution6 as Congress' approval to "give the administration the possibility to preserve the peace". For peace, one must go to war.

Final Withdrawal from the Biological-weapons Convention

As the Washington Post reports7, the Bush administration completely thwarted further negotiations on a new amendment to the biological-weapons convention for regulating verification. At best, discussions could resume in 2006. Until then, the biological-weapons convention remains a paper tiger although the US government justifies its actions against Iraq again and again by insisting Iraq has biological weapons,

Last year despite the Anthrax letters, the US government allowed the negotiations to break down in the short-term because the verification procedures were allegedly inadequate to prevent states from developing or maintaining biological weapons. (Biological-weapons conference in Geneva crumbles.8) An assistant to the secretary of state justified the retreat from the international convention by saying that the approaches of the US and the other states were so different that no agreement was possible.

Instead of the international convention that would allow inspections of facilities in member countries (including the US) on substantial suspicion, the US prefers that states individually prohibit the manufacture, sale and possession of biological weapons by criminal law. This has the advantage that the US would not be subject to any international agreements, would enjoy a free hand for its own actions for self-defense as in Iraq and not have to justify actions on inspections of an international team.

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agree with Bu$h 13.Oct.2002 12:17


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