The Magical AUMF

1 comment March 6th, 2008at 11:22am Posted by Eli

Oh, AUMF – is there anything you can’t do?

The Bush administration yesterday advanced a new argument for why it does not require congressional approval to strike a long-term security agreement with Iraq, stating that Congress had already endorsed such an initiative through its 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein.

The 2002 measure, along with the congressional resolution passed one week after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks authorizing military action “to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States,” permits indefinite combat operations in Iraq, according to a statement by the State Department’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs.

The statement came in response to lawmakers’ demands that the administration submit to Congress for approval any agreement with Iraq. U.S. officials are traveling to Baghdad this week with drafts of two documents — a status-of-forces agreement and a separate “strategic framework” — that they expect to sign with the Iraqi government by the end of July. It is to go into effect when the current U.N. mandate expires Dec. 31.

Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.), whose questions at a House hearing Tuesday elicited the administration statement, described it as an “open-ended, never-ending authority for the administration to be at war in Iraq forever with no limitations.” The conditions of 2002 no longer exist, he said.

“I don’t think anybody argues today that Saddam Hussein is a threat,” he said. “Is it the government of Iraq that’s a threat?”


According to yesterday’s statement, the administration’s interpretation of the 2002 resolution is that “Congress expressly authorized the use of force to ‘defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq.’ ”

In a letter to Ackerman, Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey T. Bergner said that authority exists with or without a U.N. mandate. In addition to the resolutions, he wrote, “Congress has repeatedly provided funding for the Iraq war.” Democrats have failed in several attempts to curtail funding for the Iraq war.

Okay, that last paragraph isn’t even an argument – it’s just the administration talking smack. I don’t see where they make the case that Iraq is a continuing threat to our national security, and that it will remain so indefinitely. Are they admitting that Teh Surge is a failure?

(h/t TeddySanFran)

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Iraq,War

1 Comment

  • 1. Ruth  |  March 6th, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    My jaw is still hanging open from hearing the testimony at that hearing. Thanks for the info. I will adapt it into cabdrollery.

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