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What You Cannot Enforce, Do Not Command

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October 2nd, 2007, marked the fifth anniversary, regrettably, of the Iraq war authorization that Congress gave to Bush to go to war with Iraq in October of 2002. Debate on the House and Senate floor over whether or not to grant authority to go to war began on October 2, 2002. The authority was granted to Bush on October 10, 2002, by a vote of 296-133 in the House and on October 11, 2002, by a vote of 77-23. The Iraq resolution, H.J. Res. 114 was signed into law by President Bush on October 16, 2002.

Two noteworthy Democratic candidates, Barack Obama and Dennis Kucinich, are seeking to capitalize over the stances each held five years ago.

Barack Obama sent a letter to campaign supporters that said, “Barack Obama gave a powerful speech opposing the Iraq war before it began.” The letter went on to say, “While others followed the conventional thinking in Washington, Barack stood up against a popular war he knew was a mistake.”

Obama, seeking to prove that he is the only one capable of being elected because he was outside of Washington when the Iraq war authorization took place, is ignoring the fact that Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich put together an October 2002 Analysis, which detailed the lack of reasoning for America to go to war and how the Bush had failed to formulate a good enough case to go to war.

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Dennis Kucinich’s analysis showed that lack of world support for invading Iraq, reports that weapons not found had been destroyed in the Gulf War, reports that the CIA had no up to date accurate report on Iraq’s WMD capabilities, lack of proof that Iraq represented an imminent or immediate threat, lack of credible intelligence connecting Iraq to Al Qaida and 9/11, inability of Iraq to attack the United States, and the fact that the UN Charter forbid all member nations from unilaterally enforcing UN resolutions were all reasonable issues to take up with the resolution that would grant President Bush the authority to go to war.

The broad language in the resolution meant that the President could cite anything Iraq had violated and authorize an Iraq invasion. The resolution also neglected the fact that if you go to the UN and ask for a UN resolution to go to war than you cannot disregard their refusal and pursue a preemptive war anyway.

Dennis Kucinich stood on the House floor and gave a speech that included all the main points made in his analysis report on October 3, 2002. Dennis demanded that the key issues be examined and that the House vote “no” on the Iraq resolution. While doing so, he also highlighted the fact that he supported democratic means of removing Saddam Hussein but did not endorse the use of force considered in the resolution thus showing that he did not have a disregard for the problems the Iraqi people were having but did not want to solve them with war as an instrument of policy because that would make their lives worse (and it has).

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Barack’s anti-war speech given at this same time in history was very different from Dennis’ speech. For one, the first words that came out of Barack's mouth were, “Good afternoon. Let me beg that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.” Therefore, he revealed the fact that he would consider war as an instrument of policy in the future with Iran, Pakistan, Syria, or any other country that he may feel needed to be dealt with militarily. He stated that he does not oppose all wars three times in the speech. He also asked Bush if he wanted a fight no less than three times before he ended his speech, which no doubt resonates with his supporters.

While Kucinich was against the war because he did his homework and went through stacks of reports and documentation trying to figure out if President Bush had a case, Barack Obama made a decision to be against the war based on the fact that he was opposed to “dumb wars.”

Barack Obama stated that he was opposed to not only dumb wars, but “a rash war” and “a war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

That Barack believes this war is rash and maintains that neglects the fact that this was planned out (although one could say poorly) by members of the Project for the New American Century in the early 1990s. The members such as Paul Wolfowitz spent years formulating a case and the tactics to go into Iraq so that a bigger strategy could be pursued.

That Barack believes war can be based on reason and principle should worry many. That morally and practically you could accept that in this day and age war can still be used should strike at the very core of Americans. It certainly shows that he is not a man for peace but rather a pragmatist, one who thinks matter-of-factly when approaching and assessing situations. And pragmatists have no problem going to war if they can justify it.

There is a clear difference between the anti-war position that Dennis Kucinich held five years ago and the anti-war position of Barack Obama. Dennis Kucinich’s analysis and fight to rally the House to oppose the war, which led 131 House members to join him in voting “no”, reflected a man who believed in “strength through peace.” Barack Obama, on the other hand, chose to pass on the war like one passes on seconds at the dinner table. And we all know if you pass on seconds at the dinner table one time that doesn’t mean you won’t say “yes” to seconds next time.

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Who knows what he will say when the next war comes along? Perhaps, he will be the one who signs the resolution into law making the authorization for war final.

Deviously, the Barack Obama Campaign has chosen to only send this section of Barack Obama’s speech in their letter to campaign supporters:

"What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for

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