Iraq War Resolution

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Contents

Introduction

"Iraq Resolution" and "Iraq War Resolution" or "AUMF" are popular names for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (AUMF) which was the Joint Resolution of Congress, passed on October 11, 2002, authorizing what was soon to become the Iraq War. The authorization was sought by President George W. Bush. It was introduced as H.J.Res. 114, it passed the House on October 10, 2002 by a vote of 296-133, and by the Senate on October 11, 2002 by a vote of 77-23. It was signed by President Bush on October 16, 2002 and became Public Law 107-243.

Overview

The Republican Party's campaign platform in the 2000 elections called for "full implementation" of the Iraq Liberation Act and removal of Saddam Hussein with a focus on rebuilding a coalition, tougher sanctions, reinstating inspections, and support for the pro-democracy, opposition exile group, Iraqi National Congress then headed by Ahmed Chalabi. Upon the election of George W. Bush as president, according to former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill, an attack was planned since the inauguration, and the first security council meeting discussed plans on invasion of the country.

Notes from aides who were with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the National Military Command Center one year later, on the day of the September 11, 2001 attacks, reflect that he wanted, "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit Saddam Hussein at same time. Not only Osama bin Laden." The notes also quote him as saying, "Go massive", and "Sweep it all up. Things related and not." Shortly thereafter, the Bush administration announced a War on Terrorism, accompanied by the doctrine of 'pre-emptive' military action, termed the Bush doctrine.

In 2002 the Iraq disarmament crisis arose primarily as a diplomatic situation. The Bush administration waited until September 2002 to call for action, with White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card saying "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." In October 2002, with the AUMF the Congress granted Bush the authority to "use any means necessary" against Iraq, based on repeated Bush Administration statements to Congress and the public, which were untrue, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The joint resolution allowed the President of the United States to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq and enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq." and was also argued that it would give the admisntration a stronger diplomatic leverage to resolve the disarmament crisis.

The resolution was passed in an atmosphere in which many factors and assertions were used to justify authorizing military action:

  • Iraq's noncompliance with the conditions of the 1991 cease fire, including interference with weapons inspectors
  • Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, and programs to develop such weapons, posed a "threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region"
  • Iraq's "brutal repression of its civilian population"
  • Iraq's "capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people"
  • Iraq's hostility towards the United States as demonstrated by the 1993 assassination attempt of former President George H. W. Bush, and firing on coalition aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones following the 1991 Gulf War
  • Members of al-Qaida were "known to be in Iraq"
  • Iraq's "continu[ing] to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations,"
  • Fear that Iraq would provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against the United States
  • The efforts by the Congress and the President to fight the 9/11 terrorists and those who aided or harbored them
  • The authorization by the Constitution and the Congress for the President to fight anti-United States terrorism

The Resolution required President Bush's diplomatic efforts at the UN Security Council to "obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions." It authorized the United States to use military force to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq."

Legislative History

(NOTE: I will be adding a lot of detail about the legislative history, including the critically overlooked prior resolution which funded the war before the AUMF was voted on)

The resolution numbers are H.J.RES.114 (House) and S.J.RES.46 (Senate).

Related Bills, and notes from Thomas: S.J.Res. 45 [Daschle-Lott] was based on the original White House proposal authorizing the use of force in Iraq. H.J.Res. 114 [Hastert-Gephardt] and the substantially similar S.J.Res. 46 [Lieberman] were modified proposals. H.J.Res. 110 was a separate proposal not considered on the floor.

H.J.RES.114 was sponsored by Dennis Hastert (R) and Dick Gephardt (D), with 135 additional cosponsors.

S.J.RES.46 was sponsored by Joe Lieberman (D), with 16 cosponsors: Sen Allard, Wayne [CO] - 10/2/2002 Sen Baucus, Max [MT] - 10/7/2002 Sen Bayh, Evan [IN] - 10/2/2002 Sen Breaux, John B. [LA] - 10/9/2002 Sen Bunning, Jim [KY] - 10/4/2002 Sen Domenici, Pete V. [NM] - 10/2/2002 Sen Edwards, John [NC] - 10/3/2002 Sen Helms, Jesse [NC] - 10/2/2002 Sen Hutchinson, Tim [AR] - 10/2/2002 Sen Johnson, Tim [SD] - 10/7/2002 Sen Landrieu, Mary L. [LA] - 10/2/2002 Sen McCain, John [AZ] - 10/2/2002 Sen McConnell, Mitch [KY] - 10/2/2002 Sen Miller, Zell [GA] - 10/2/2002 Sen Thurmond, Strom [SC] - 10/10/2002 Sen Warner, John [VA] - 10/2/2002

Resolution Text

Text of the complete resolution via GPO.

The "Authorization and Requirements" portion:

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) Authorization.--The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--
(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
(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--
(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.
(c) War Powers Resolution Requirements.--
(1) Specific statutory authorization.--Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.
(2) Applicability of other requirements.--Nothing in this joint resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.
SEC. 4. REPORTS TO CONGRESS
(a) The President shall, at least once every 60 days, submit to the Congress a report on matters relevant to this joint resolution, including actions taken pursuant to the exercise of authority granted in section 2 and the status of planning for efforts that are expected to be required after such actions are completed, including those actions described in section 7 of Public Law 105-338 (the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998).
(b) To the extent that the submission of any report described in subsection (a) coincides with the submission of any other report on matters relevant to this joint resolution otherwise required to be submitted to Congress pursuant to the reporting requirements of Public Law 93-148 (the War Powers Resolution), all such reports may be submitted as a single consolidated report to the Congress.
(c) To the extent that the information required by section 3 of Public Law 102-1 is included in the report required by this section, such report shall be considered as meeting the requirements of section 3 of Public Law 102-1.

How They Voted

Senate Roll Call Vote: 77(Y) - 23(N)

23 Senators voted NO: Akaka (D-HI), Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Byrd (D-WV), Chafee (R-RI), Conrad (D-ND), Corzine (D-NJ), Dayton (D-MN), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Graham (D-FL), Inouye (D-HI), Jeffords (I-VT), Kennedy (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Reed (D-RI), Sarbanes (D-MD), Stabenow (D-MI), Wellstone (D-MN), Wyden (D-OR).

All others voted YES.

House Roll Call Vote: 296(Y) - 133(N), with only 6 Republicans having the courage to vote No.

Reports to Congress

January 20, 2003:
Letter to Congressional Leaders Transmitting a Report on Iraq's Compliance With the United Nations Security Council Resolutions

February 13, 2003:
Letter to Congressional Leaders Transmitting a Report on Iraq

March 18, 2003:
Letter to Congressional Leaders on the Conclusion of Diplomatic Efforts With Regard to Iraq:

March 18, 2003
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:
(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and
(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
Sincerely,
George W. Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to J. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Ted Stevens, President pro tempore of the Senate. This letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on March 19.

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