Because I was vicar of St Cuthbert's, Oakland, it remains, for me, the Eve of the Feast of St Cuthbert. Since it always falls during Lent, we celebrated our patronal feast on a Sunday near his Translation in September. For March 20, we had a midweek potluck and played "Cuthbert Jeopardy" a game modeled on the Jeopardy show that was good for a giggle and competition in categories such as The Bible, The Hymnal, The Book of Common Prayer, Saints (in general), Celtic Christianity, Cuthbert. Amid such "godly" categories there would arise fierce competition. You never know your fellow parishioners until you compete with them, eh? It was lots of fun.
But five years ago this evening our mood was somber. We had listened for weeks to George W. Bush rattle his saber, mock protesting that he hoped for diplomacy while lying his way into war. I frequently said back during the lead in that "he wants this war and he is going to have this war." I never, for a moment, believed a word he said. I knew better than to trust him.
But I didn't have to run for re-election so I was immune to being bullied about being "strong" on the defense of America.
We paused in our celebration to listen to the radio as we heard that Bush had, indeed, launched an attack on Iraq. We prayed. And we began our mourning then.
It is five years later. The United States continues to occupy Iraq. We continue to pray. We continue to mourn.
The whole thing is, as many have aptly noted, one big clusterfuck.
h/t to Blork Borg for the vintage Coppertone image
So today I have gone back to look at the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
Shall we take a little trip back in time to October 16, 2002?
“Whereas the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated;Erm.... The weapons inspectors found stockpiles after the first Gulf War but also were not finding them following 9/11/2001. Even with all of Saddam's obstruction--and he did not want it revealed that he no longer had these weapons because the phantom of them helped him against his chief enemy, Iran--there were sufficient indications that in the most generous view they could not have nuclear weapons sooner than in five years. The CIA was questioning all this.
Despite the claim that Iraq's supposed WMD posed an imminent threat to the U.S., Secretary of State Colin Powell said on 2/24/01 that Saddam Hussein "has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction."In the "so what?" category:
On 7/8/03, the W. Post reported the Administration admitted the Iraq-Nuclear allegation was false. Revelations by officials at the CIA, the State Department, the UN, in Congress and elsewhere made clear that the White House knew the claim was false before making the allegation [7/20/03]. In fact, CIA Director George Tenet successfully intervened with White House officials to have the reference removed from a Bush speech in Oct. of 2002. [W. Post, 7/13/03] (source)
“Whereas Iraq, in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998;Yes, but before our invasion of Iraq the weapons inspectors were in Iraq and given all the access they requested. Inspections were moving ahead and Bush ordered them out (so he could attack). Saddam did not kick them out that time; Bush did. Let's be clear on this. The failure to verify the WMD situation, in the end, rests on Bush's shoulders.
Back to the AUMF:
“Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;I believe we have here an instance of what Stephen Colbert calls "truthiness." The closest it comes to truth is that a member of al Qaida had, in fact, been in northern Iraq, the region controlled by Kurds and part of the northern no-fly zone where the US controlled the air space. In other words, a person with whom Saddam and the Iraqi government had no relationship was in Iraqi territory outside the control of Saddam.
Oh, and we could have taken this person out but the US government chose not to because it served our propaganda purposes better to have this person there.
Did I mention that Iraq had NO relationship to the attack on 9/11/2001?
Amid the authorization we find this:
“(b) Presidential Determination.—In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon thereafter as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that—That determination was not provided to Congress. Since weapons inspections were functioning until Bush ordered them to cease, it seems disingenuous at best and more likely heinous in the extreme for anyone to assert that "further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone ... will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or ... is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."
“(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and
(2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
It would also be rather challenging to publish a determination (not laced with lies and misdirection) that our military action would be "consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." The invocation of 9/11/2001 was gratuitous, of course. If I could figure that out back then, WTF was wrong with the media and Congress? There is the catch-all escape clause "international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including...." With a net that large one might include damn near any and everything.
Still waiting for an honest, articulate, and cogent determination.
With all the lies that went into Bush's ginning up this war I can only conclude that it was all pulled out of their collective asses.
As Bush spoke today in a vain attempt to justify his infliction of this deadly obscenity on the world, this sad observation is only reinforced.
In the donjeon at Aigues Mortes, France, one may read a word carved into the stone by a Huguenot prisoner from ages past. That word is RESISTEZ, RESIST.
You can find "key false statements" from The Center for Public Integrity.