Democratic Underground  
The Case for War
October 9, 2002
By James O. B. Keener

The Constitution of the United States reserves for congress the sole authority and responsibility to declare war. It is not the prerogative of the executive branch of government to declare war, only to wage war. There have been times in history when the executive branch has engaged combat troops on foreign soil without congress's formal declaration, but those occasions have, for the most part, occurred in the 50 years subsequent to World War II.

The Korean War was undertaken as a so-called police action of the United Nations. While probably inappropriate, the Korean War was fought, and American troops died, were wounded and served in combat without the sanction of congress's formally declaring war. Also, American adventures in Latin America, including the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama and Haiti, were combat actions for which congress did not debate the possibility of declaring war.

The country's major experience with fighting an undeclared war was the Vietnam War, and the consequences proved disastrous-for national institutions and for society as a whole. Our first forays into Vietnam were as "invited" advisers to the so-called South Vietnamese government, then the Tonkin Gulf incident occurred that prompted congress to pass the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. President Lyndon B. Johnson used the Tonkin Gulf Resolution as his authority to send in millions of American men and women to fight. More than American 50,000 military personnel died and many more were wounded. Countless thousands more Vietnamese military and civilians suffered death and wounds in that conflict.

The Vietnam War ripped the fabric of American society. Because congress did not fully debate the issue of a war in Asia and exercise its responsibility of due diligence, public support for the war was suspect. Opinion polls in 1964 and 1965 generally favored our entry into the conflict, but the propaganda machine of the executive branch of government shaped those opinion polls. When the reality of the war was exposed, public opinion dissipated overnight. It turned out that the Tonkin Gulf incident never happened at all-it was a sham. Public skepticism ratcheted upward.

The so-called Gulf War in 1991 was the most recent undeclared war America fought (if we don't count the feckless effort in Somalia). That war again was a joint effort of the United Nations to ensure the integrity of the borders of Kuwait after Saddam Hussein's troops overran that country and threatened Saudi Arabia. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are major oil producing countries (Saudi Arabia has the largest oil reserves of any nation on Earth). The conflict of that war lasted only a few days or weeks, although public attention was focused on the issue for more than a year. Once the fighting started, it was over before American casualties surpassed 25 or 30 dead, maybe fewer. Public support remained high before, during and after the Gulf War.

Today, Americans find themselves again pondering the likelihood of going to war-this time again in the Middle East facing Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein has not overrun the borders of any of his neighbors, but he is still in power in Iraq after having lost the Gulf War in 1991, and he remains in power by ruthless means.

The powers that be in the executive branch are hell bent to remove Saddam Hussein from his seat atop the Iraqi government. There seems to be little international support for America to take military action and the American public seems quite divided on the issue.

To legally justify such an adventure, and to generate public confidence behind such an action, congress must engage in a thorough open and public examination of the issues and vote on a formal declaration of war. Only then will the people of this nation support the action and its aftermath with their hearts and minds and sons and daughters. It is especially important that a declaration of war be formally voted on by congress because it is apparent that the United States intends on launching an unprovoked invasion on another nation recognized as such by the United Nations and the community of nations at large.

I submit the following proposed declaration of war as a pretty well thought out justification for war against Saddam Hussein. It is tedious to read, but a necessary exercise all citizens, and certainly members of congress, should engage in prior to sending American soldiers to fight and die in a foreign land.

A Declaration of War

WHEREAS, on September 11, 2001, the United States sustained severe attacks conducted by a terrorist organization believed to be al-Qaeda;

WHEREAS, the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Ladin, was a former citizen of Saudi Arabia;

WHEREAS, 15 of the 19 participants in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were citizens of Saudi Arabia;

WHEREAS, large segments of the population of Saudi Arabia support Osama bin Ladin and al-Qaeda, both financially and politically;

WHEREAS, Osama bin Ladin's organization was located in the mountains of Afghanistan;

WHEREAS, the United States, with strong international support, attacked Afghanistan and overthrew that country's fundamentalist Islamic government, the Taliban;

WHEREAS, the administration of Designated President George W. Bush has been unable to meet its own objectives in its response to the terrorist attack-mainly the capture or death of Osama bin Ladin or the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar;

WHEREAS, the administration of the designated president has been completely unable to secure Afghanistan or to keep al-Qaeda operatives from returning to that territory;

WHEREAS, the administration of the designated president has been completely unable to cut off funding to al-Qaeda;

WHEREAS, the designated president wants to avoid any examination into the likelihood that the events of September 11, 2001, represented the greatest failure in the history of America's intelligence community;

WHEREAS, the designated president, the designated vice president, Attorney General John Ashcroft and the designated president's other handlers have failed to learn any of the lessons of history about the abuse of authority in the rise and fall of Germany's Third Reich under Adolf Hitler or the tyrannical rule of the former Soviet Union by Joseph Stalin as those rights pertain to civil liberties (probably the designated president didn't know there were any lessons to be learned);

WHEREAS, the designated president and the attorney general have violated their oaths to uphold the Constitution of the United States and it is imperative that public attention to that fact is deflected;

WHEREAS, the economy of the United States is in the poorest shape it has experienced in more than a decade and it is necessary for the designated president to change the subject of public discussion to something other than the economy;

WHEREAS, the designated president has squandered the most robust economy in the history of the United States and put the nation's economy in deficit for as far into the future as the eye can see and it is necessary to divert public attention away from that fact;

WHEREAS, the designated president is trying to deflect attention from his own misdeeds of corporate thuggery prior to his being designated as president of the United States;

WHEREAS, the designated vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney, equally wants to deflect attention from his own misdeeds of corporate thuggery prior to his being designated as vice president of United States;

WHEREAS, the designated president has succeeded in looting the treasury of the United States by giving outrageous tax breaks to the wealthiest 1 percent of the population (who presumably are all his chums), a topic that can be ignored by beating the drums of war;

WHEREAS, Saddam Hussein is believed by most people in the world to be a nut-case;

WHEREAS, the designated president has pronounced Saddam Hussein to be an evil bad guy (presumably after consulting with God);

WHEREAS, there is not one piece of credible evidence that Iraq has any connection to al-Qaeda, Osama bin Ladin, or the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States;

WHEREAS, the designated vice president has stated on several occasions that Iraq might be acquiring weapons of mass destruction, but has offered no evidence of that assertion;

WHEREAS, the secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, has stated that Saddam Hussein is a threat to U. S. interests, but has offered no evidence of that assertion;

WHEREAS, the designated president's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, has said there is no need for the administration to provide any evidence of Iraq's acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction;

WHEREAS, it is recognized that the ulterior motive behind an attack by the United States of America on the state of Iraq is to destabilize the governments of all Middle Eastern countries with the intent of gaining absolute control of the vast oil resources in that region (in specific), and destabilize the entire Islamic world with the intention of imposing Judeo-Christian philosophies on all Islamic populations (in general);

WHEREAS, none of the designated president's advisers who advocate a regime change in Iraq have had any experience in the military (even the designated president's military experience in the Texas Air National Guard included one year AWOL);

WHEREAS, all of the designated president's advisers who have had military experience (particularly in combat), and know the necessary commitment required for success of such an adventure, are opposed to a U. S. invasion of Iraq;

WHEREAS, Saddam Hussein has proven to be wilier than any U. S. president in the past 20-plus years as evidenced by his retaining his position while at least three U. S. presidents have left office;

WHEREAS, the designated president is eager to prove his "rogue nation" theory by turning the United States into one;

WHEREAS, the designated president is completing his promise to be a "uniter, not a divider" by uniting the whole world's opinion against the United States of America;

WHEREAS, the designated president presides over the least legitimate and least credible United States administration in more than 130 years; and

WHEREAS, many members of the Congress of the United States are determined to prove that they are a collection of the some of the biggest damned fools in the history of Western Civilization;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Congress of the United States of America declares war on the state of Iraq.

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