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Bush Aides Say Iraq Decision Is His
Mon Aug 26,10:29 AM ET
By RON FOURNIER, AP White House Correspondent
CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - White House lawyers have told President Bush ( news - web sites) he would not need congressional approval to attack Saddam Hussein ( news - web sites)'s Iraq, although advisers say political considerations could prompt the president to seek a nod from lawmakers anyway.
Two senior administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said White House counsel Al Gonzales advised Bush earlier this month that the Constitution gives the president authority to wage war without explicit authority from Congress.
"Any decision the president may make on a hypothetical congressional vote will be guided by more than one factor," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer ( news - web sites), who declined to confirm that Bush had received an opinion from Gonzales on the matter.
"The president will consider a variety of legal, policy and historical issues if a vote were to become a relevant matter. He intends to consult with Congress because Congress has an important role to play."
Despite the go-ahead from his legal advisers, administration officials said the president has not ruled out seeking lawmakers' approval if he decides to attack Iraq.
The officials noted that Bush's father was told in advance of the 1991 war that he did not need congressional authority to act, but nonetheless sought Congress' blessing for his action.
One of the officials said Gonzales also concluded the current president has authority to act against Saddam under the congressional resolution that authorized his father's actions in the 1991 Gulf War ( news - web sites). Saddam has not complied with the terms that ended that war, the official said.
Furthermore, the official said Bush was told he also could act against Iraq on the strength of the Sept. 14 congressional resolution approving military action against terrorism.
Both of the officials said Bush had not decided whether to use military force against Saddam.
Still, the existence of a legal opinion — along with earlier reports that the Pentagon ( news - web sites) is drafting attack plans — reflect the seriousness of preparations within the highest reaches of government to pave way for war against Iraq if Bush so chooses.
The legal advice became public Sunday as Republicans sounded a mixed message for Bush about whether, when and how to use military action to remove Saddam from power.
The Bush administration's policy is that Saddam is trying to develop weapons of mass destruction and is refusing to allow international inspectors to find and destroy them, as Iraq agreed to do after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Rep. Tom DeLay ( news, bio, voting record) of Texas said Sunday the decision to act is the commander in chief's, but he expects Bush to consult with Congress first.
"The president says he's going to consult with the Congress, and he has. The president has taken the advice of many of us in Congress; he wants input from Congress," DeLay said. "He has said he's going to come to Congress when he decides what needs to be done and when it needs to be done, and I expect him to do that."
While saying Bush properly "is trying to keep the (anti-Iraq) coalition together," DeLay rejected a suggestion by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III that Bush first get a resolution of support from the U.N. Security Council.
The president answers only to the American people through Congress, DeLay said.
Baker, secretary of state to President Bush's father, wrote in Sunday's New York Times that a Security Council resolution was necessary as political cover for any U.S. military action.
"The only realistic way to effect regime change in Iraq is through the application of military force," Baker wrote.
But he added: "Although the United States could certainly succeed, we should try our best not to have to go it alone, and the president should reject the advice of those who counsel doing so. The costs in all areas will be much greater, as will the political risks."
Lawrence Eagleburger, who succeeded Baker in 1992, the final year of former President Bush's administration, is among several old-line Republicans advocating caution.
"I think there are any number of complex questions that simply haven't been examined," Eagleburger said on "CNN Late Edition." "And if it's wimpish to say that ... until we know at least with some confidence that we must act now, then I say we need to be very careful about going forward.
"I'm simply saying I think this is much more complex than (DeLay) and his chest-thumpers think it is."
-- (Dumbya going @ off. the deep end), August 26, 2002
WOW. He's actually going to do it. Stupidity is one thing, you can usually laugh it off. But now this dimwit is getting downright scary. This psycho is intent on setting into motion events that will precipitate WWIII, and he is going to do it even if he is the only one on the planet who thinks it needs to be done. He has the power too, which is the scary part. Ironically, he seems to be acting in the very same way that he accuses Saddam Hussein of acting. I wonder if trying to order our military to attack while the world opinion is against it can be considered grounds for impeachment. If he is declared insane, I certainly hope he can be relieved of his duty, though allowing Dickhead to take over wouldn't be much different, they're both psychotic. What will he do if Congress tries to prevent him from launching this attack? Have them all arrested and thrown in concentration camps? Or maybe he has got a secret nuke hidden in Washington with a red button he will press if they come and try to take him away. Woah, we're in deep shit if someone doesn't get the power out of the hands of this little spoiled psychotic manchild.
-- too scary (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 26, 2002.
Technically, he does have the power to order our military to attack without the approval of the United Nations, Congress, or the majority of the people. I doubt he would do it, but if he does, he still could not be impeached. I don't know what would happen if he was proven insane, whether or not that is sufficient grounds for dismissal. After all, Hitler was insane, but then then the U.S. is not Nazi Germany. At least, not YET.
-- (Don't think he @ can . be stopped), August 26, 2002.
Last post here Ever. I swear.
You are creeping closer and closer everyday. At least that is my opinion. It is the creeeping fascism and slow erosion of basic rights in this country that I worry about.
Do you know what the sad part of this equation is? Basically, I am a conservative. It is sad and painful to see what is happening in this country today. Even more so, because intelligent people with conservative viewpoints feel compelled to endorse an administration that if they really looked at in an impartial manner, they would disavow.
All because of a high profile blow job and a deep seated conviction that personal morality can be applied to a nation of almost 300,000,000 souls. I have news for you folks. You aren't God and the government of the United States has never been about imposing moral convictions.
If it ever was, then those days are far in our past. How moral is it to have the son trained to come into power to finish the job that the father was too chickenshit to end ten y4ears ago?
-- Jack Booted Thug (governmentconspiracy@NWO.com), August 27, 2002.
Good points JBT. Good to see an honest conservative for a change. I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I believe our government is spending way too much of our money and wasting way too much of what they're spending. I also believe freedom is more valuable than any amount of money, that's why Dumbya scares the hell out of me. Why is this your last post here?
-- (y'all come back now @ ya. hear), August 27, 2002.
White House lawyers have told President Bush he would not need congressional approval to attack Saddam Hussein's Iraq...
The US Constitution reserves to Congress exclusively the right to declare war. However, the only redress available when the president shreds the Constititution and makes war on his own is impeachment. As a practical matter, that is almost the same as no redress at all - so Bush is free to invade Iraq. But the fact that Bush has the ability to thumb his nose at the basic law of the land and get away with it doesn't make it legal.
-- Little Nipper (email@example.com), August 27, 2002.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 03, 2002.
Yep, it's amazing how much bullshit the little psychopath Dumbya will lay on the American people just to get his way. He and Dickhead really want to get their hands on all that oil in Iraq, not only because they can make all their oil buds rich, but Dumbya really wants to make Pappy happy too by finishing the job that he prematurely ejaculated. Dumbya and Dicky keep using fear tactics, telling us that Iraq is a threat to the US because they are making WMD's and targeting our country. Where's the proof? I see no reason to believe these assholes without some evidence, given their long history of being filthy lying rotten crooked bastards in the business world. Why would they all of a sudden start being truthful just because they are now in politics? ROTFLMAO! Even if Iraq is able to make a nuclear warhead (which the experts say is HIGHLY unlikely), how could they possibly target the US? We are light years ahead of them in missile technology and we can barely cover those kinds of distances. There is no way in hell Iraq could shoot a warhead all the way to our country. As far as anything being brought into the country, that problem needs to be remedied whether or not we attack Iraq. Attacking Iraq is only more likely to activate any possible sleeper cells into action. WMD's need to be detected at our borders BEFORE they enter the country, and THAT is what Dumbya should be focusing on, not to mention our economy and dozens of other important domestic issues. This retard just wants to go to war so he can use it as an excuse to avoid having to deal with things that are important to the people. And to make matters worse he is a spoiled brat, so he's not going to be happy unless he gets his way. He and Dicky have already said they are going to do this before they leave office and they are not going to "leave it for the next administration" to deal with. Only Congress can legally authorize a war, but these fascist psychos are going to do it even if the American people and the entire world is opposed to it. If they do, they should be executed for treason and crimes against humanity.
-- (Dumbya@disgustingly.sick), September 03, 2002.