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Wednesday, October 10, 2007 

A forgotten anniversary

Five years ago today the House passed J. H. Res. 114, which authorized the President (presumably in perpetuity) to use any force “necessary” against the “continuing” threat to the nation posed by Iraq…just in case Iraq did in fact pose a threat. The vote was 296-133. On Oct. 11, 2002 the Senate followed suit, by a vote of 77-23. So began the quagmire.

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The lop-sided Congressional votes smoothed the way for the rush to war that was sure to follow. It was accompanied by applause and back-slapping all around.

It occurred to me to wonder how this terrible child’s fifth birthday was being celebrated now in Washington, among those who brought it into the world.

It was the apple of George Bush’s eye back in 2002, a legacy that he wished and prayed for. In fact, Bush had enlisted the help and advice of friends around the globe in his eagerness to give birth to a big, spanking war.

So I visited the White House news page to see how the President was celebrating the festive occasion. A fifth anniversary of an authorization to use force comes only once, and I was certain that Bush the sentimentalist would mark it in style.

Imagine my surprise to find no mention of it there at all. Prominence is given to a proclamation celebrating a Revolutionary war general, which conveys some pleasant thoughts about the 18th century. But no word about the Congressional war authorization that the President so desperately wanted and has so often paraded in front of the public.

My thoughts then turned to the Pentagon. They’re surely going to want to record that on this very day five years ago began the march down into the abyss of Mesopotamia. Yet, curiously, here again there’s nothing. But heck, I thought, the Pentagon is so busy these days that it hasn’t even updated its own publications page for a full month. So busy is the Pentagon that it still hasn’t had a free moment to add a link there to the September quarterly report on Iraq, which presents such a grim contrast to General Petraeus’ upbeat report.

But the Vice President doesn’t appear to be up to much these days. Maybe the commemoration was being left to him, I thought. He was the real dynamo during the whole period of gestation. Surely he would not forget this glorious anniversary? Hmmm….it must have slipped Cheney’s mind as well. Maybe he didn’t feel he was quite the right person to take credit for the war authorization.

But who is stepping forward to commemorate this great event? A difficult question. Made me stop and pause for several moments. Then it struck me: This is a Congressional anniversary, as much as anything. There were 137 sponsors of the Authorization to use force against Iraq--people like John Boehner,
Tom Tancredo, and David Vitter.

As I visited the webpages of each of these members of Congress in turn, it slowly became clear that none of them had thought to mention this anniversary. Not even one of the Bill’s sponsors chose to commemorate its momentous passage. It was all the more odd because they’d all had so very much to say on the 5th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, which had claimed far fewer lives than the Iraq war they had actually sponsored. Even the chief war-mongers in the Senate, John McCain and Joseph Lieberman have neglected to celebrate the birth of the war that they embrace so fervently.

Republicans I suppose might claim that the war is now the Democrats’ responsibility. Be that as it may, I went searching for any tokens of the forgotten anniversary at the websites of the leading Democrats who’d voted for the damnable resolution. Would Sen. Harry Reid mention it? Nope. Sen. Jay Rockefeller? Nope. Sen. Chuck Schumer? Nope. Sen. Chris Dodd? Nope. Sen. Hillary Clinton? Nope again.

Rep. Steny Hoyer then. No, him neither. Rep. Jane Harman? Rep. Ike Skelton? Rep. Henry Waxman? Rep. John Murtha? No, no, no, and no.

Maybe this war is now an orphan. Will the next one be, as well?

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 posted by : smintheus ::  # 9:02 PM   0 comments  

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