Saturday, February 24, 2007
Even More War Powers
A few more thoughts about the Bush administration's reasoning for why the 2002 Iraq War Authorization Act still applies, which now hangs on the clause that calls for the enforcement of "...all relevant UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."
Let's assume, for argument's sake, that it's reasonable to interpret that clause as referring to resolutions passed after the invasion, as the White House is suggesting. We're now talking about the series of resolutions passed to legitimize the war ex post facto, since the pre-War resolutions had, by most accounts, not done so. A series of resolutions, you'll recall, that was demanded by the UN and opponents of the war before they'd participate in Iraqi reconstruction.
The administration's argument, then, is that the War Authorization Act still applies because we're enforcing UN resolutions that were passed after the actual war, to make up for the absence of the UN resolutions initially demanded by the War Authorization Act as a condition for the war.
But even setting aside the logical incoherence of that argument, a quick glance at the post-War resolutions shows that only the first two, Resolution 1483 and Resolution 1511, identify the Multi-National Force as an occupying power with the resulting legal obligations to guarantee Iraq's security and territorial integrity.
Beginning with Resolution 1546, which recognized the sovereignty of the Iraqi Interim Government, and continuing through Resolution 1723, which recognized the formation of the Iraqi Unity Government, the Multi-National Force's mandate is a function of the attached formal requests by the Iraqi government for its presence. The resolutions themselves simply serve to recognize the legitimacy of those requests.
The Bush administration has got nothing but smoke and mirrors here. Which won't necessarily stop them, seeing as they've gone to war on less. But I'm guessing they'll have to fall back on procedural tactics again to shoot down a repeal. After that, wherever public opinion comes down should go a long way to clarifying how soon it will be before we withdraw from Iraq.