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American government position on war on Iraq

American government position on war on Iraq:

The administration's position

Much of the position is summed up in the main article on the U.S. plan to invade Iraq.

A summary of the United States government's case for military intervention in Iraq can be seen in the presentation that Secretary of State Colin Powell made to the UN Security Council on February 5, 2003. See The UN Security Council and the Iraq war for complete details.

The US has also repeatedly claimed that they will shortly provide ample evidence of Iraqi deception, stating that it more than justifies and invasion. UN weapons inspectors and several countries have criticized the US's decision to hold on to evidence as long as it has. In late January, the US government announced that Colin Powell would meet with the UN to show them the newly unclassified evidence that US intelligence has collected. Powell's speech on February 5 showed that Iraq had made numerous efforts to obstruct the work of inspectors, and to develop and hide weapons of mass destruction. His speech also cited the quantities of chemical and biological weapons, and missiles, Iraq was known to possess in 1998 through UN inspections, most of which has not been accounted for and is simply missing. Powell's evidence included recorded phone coversations and satellite photos. However, much of Powell's evidence was largely circumstantial.

Furthermore, a portion of it has been entirely discredited; for example, a document revealing the sale of uranium from Niger to Iraq, to which Powell referred in his speech and to which President Bush referred in his State of the Union address[?], was revealed as an obvious forgery. [1] (http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/03/14/sprj.irq.documents/index)

There have also been charges by the Bush administration that Iraq has ties to Al Quada and other terrorist organizations. However, some analysts believe that such an accusation "stretches the analysis of U.S. intelligence agencies to, and perhaps beyond, the limit." [2] (http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/5055588.htm)

Other dignitaries

Although some of them have changed their opinion in the last two years, in 1998, many key Democrats including President Bill Clinton, Tom Daschle and Richard Gephardt were supporting the idea of destroying Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, using force if necessary. In February of 1998, former President Clinton remarked "(Hussein's) regime threatens the safety of his people, the stability of his region, and the security of all the rest of us. Some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal. Let there be no doubt, we are prepared to act." Senate Democrats also passed Resolution 71, which urged President Clinton to "take all necessary and appropriate actions to respond to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end it's weapons of mass destruction programs." Plans were put on hold when Hussein agreed to allow weapons inspectors back into Iraq. However, in early December of 1998, the British and US governments launched airstrikes against Iraq, codenamed Operation Desert Fox. The US government urged UNSCOM executive chairman Richard Butler to withdraw, and "[a] few hours before the attack began, 125 UN personnel were hurriedly evacuated from Baghdad to Bahrain, including inspectors from the UN Special Commission on Iraq and the International Atomic Energy Agency." [3] (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,209995,00)

US Senator Joseph Lieberman said the U.S. military action against Iraq is justified, calling the inventory of arms the Iraqi government submitted on Saturday "a 12,000-page, 100-pound lie." [4] (http://www.washtimes.com/national/20021209-688706.htm)

Six House members, including Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich; Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio; Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill.; Jim McDermott, D-Wash.; Jose Serrano, D-N.Y.; and Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas., members of the military and parents of servicemen asked a judge for an injunction barring the invasion of Iraq. The injunction hearing was held on Feburary 20th.

"The president is not a king," John Bonifaz, the Boston lawyer who filed the lawsuit, "He does not have the power to wage war against another country absent a declaration of war from Congress."

Previous suits, of similar merits, have run afoul of numerous obstacles. The Vietnam suit ran into problems because Congress was granting tacit support to the war - including the draft, appropriations, etc.; courts ruled that the 30 to 50 military "advisors" didn't amount to a sufficient enough force for them to render a decision in the El Salvador campaign; The suit versus Clinton fizzled because U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said Congress had sent "distinctly mixed messages".

In November 1990 Judge Greene refused to grant an injunction preventing the second Iraqi war - because Congress had not taken a position regarding the war, and so a ruling would be premature. However but did concur with the plaintiffs that Congress had the sole ability to declare war, so within several days Bush, Sr sought support from Congress for his war.

Early on, several senior Republican leaders, including some within the Bush Administration, expressed reservations about an invasion of Iraq.

  • Henry Kissinger (Secretary of State 1973-77) wrote in an August 12 editorial to The Washington Post that there is an imperative to preemptive action, but also warned of destabilizing the Middle East and of potential negative long-term consequences.
  • James A. Baker III[?] (Secretary of State 1989-92), in an August 25 editorial to The New York Times, argued that the United States should first push for renewed weapons inspections, and if war is ultimately necessary, the U.S. should not "go it alone".
  • Lawrence Eagleburger[?] (Secretary of State 1992-93) said on August 18 on Fox News Sunday that invasion was unjustified "unless the President can demonstrate to all of us that Saddam has his finger on a nuclear, biological or chemical trigger and he's about to use it".
  • Brent Scowcroft[?] (National Security Advisor 1975-77, 89-93) argued in an August 15 editorial to the Wall Street Journal that an invasion would be costly and a distraction from more pressing issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the war on terrorism.
  • Colin Powell (Secretary of State 2001-present) is not publicly disagreeing with Bush, but appears to be arguing behind the scenes that the U.S. must have a long-term plan for how to rebuild Iraq if and when Saddam is overthrown.
  • Norman Schwarzkopf (Former General, The Gulf War) said on January 28 in an article in the Washington Post that U.S. should wait for the results of United Nations inspectors and expressed concerns about the human and financial costs of occupying Iraq. Following President Bush's State of the Union address on January 28, he told MSNBC that, in light of the new information mentioned by the President, he fully supported the use of military action to remove Saddam from power, and added that it needed to be done soon.

An investigative report published by Knight-Ridder[?] in early October of 2002 showed that US intelligence analysts had serious misgivings about invading Iraq. The report showed that intelligence officials largely found no evidence to support the Bush administration's position that Saddam Hussein posed an immediate threat, but they were being squelched, while at the same time the intelligence community was being placed under intense pressure to find justification for Bush's position. [5] (http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.hts/nation/1607676)

See also

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