One of the themes being sounded by the GOP and its allies in the media is that Democrats are weak on the so-called War on Terror because a great majority of Democrats don't support the Iraqi War, and especially don't support the way it has been handled by Bush & Co. In making this argument they conflate the Iraqi War with the War on Terror as if they were one and the same. They are not and Democrats need to point this out again and again.
The War on Terror was authorized by Congress in a resolution called "Authorization for Use of Military Force" or AUMF. That resolution is contained in Public Law No. 107-40 and was adopted by the House of Representatives by a 420-1 vote and in the Senate by a 98-0 vote. One Democrat opposed the Resolution in the House, Congressperson Lee from California, and no Democratic Senator opposed the Resolution.
That resolution authorized the President to "use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons". Interestingly the Bush Administration did not try and use that Resolution to justify the war in Iraq. Instead it lobbied for and got a new resolution entitled the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. That resolution was contained in Public Law 107-243 and passed the House by a vote of 296-133 and passed the Senate by a vote of 77-23.
The fact that there were two resolutions passed by Congress is seldom mentioned by the media, or, for that matter, by Democrats. Yet, that fact is very important. If the Iraqi government prior to our invasion was involved in the 9-11 attacks, then there would not have been the need for a second resolution. The reason why there would not have been the need is that the first resolution allowed the use of force against nations that aided the attacks on 9-11. The only conclusion to be drawn from the need for two resolutions is that the Bush Administration knew that the use of force against Iraq based on the first resolution wouldn't pass muster, even from the lapdog American media.
Thus, there is a difference between the War on Terror and the Iraqi War. This is something that Democrats need to point out again and again. Democratic Representatives overwhelmingly backed the use of force in 2001 to go after terrorist organizations and the countries that harbor them, the disagreement started in 2003 when the Bush Administration started a war with a country that had not attacked or helped attack the United States.
Democrats need to point out that the Bush Administration had not won the War on Terror when they started the Iraqi War. Osama bin Laden is still alive, al Quida is still operating, terrorist attacks are actually on the increase in the world, including in Iraq where over 2500 American service personnel have been killed and many thousands wounded. Democrats need to point out again and again that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, that Iraqis were not involved in the attack on September 11, 2001, and that Democratic Senators and Representatives have always supported, and continue to support, the use of military force to hunt down and eliminate terrorist organizations.
We cannot count on the media to do this for us. The media is complicit in both the start of the Iraqi War under false pretenses and the conflating of the Iraqi War with the War on Terror. We have to make sure that our fellow citizens understand this distinction. If we don't, then we run the risk that our fellow citizens will believe the Republican lies that they, and their media allies, are spreading. _______________________________________________________________
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