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Issue of the Week

Illustration by Codey Angell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday September 4, 2002

Does the President need Congressional consent on Iraq?

One way or another, it always seems to come back to Saddam Hussein.

President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld want America's military to invade Iraq once again.

But should the President seek the approval of Congress before taking action? Legally speaking, Bush may not need the go-ahead from the House and Senate. Last week, White House Counsel Al Gonzales stated that the administration does not need a formal declaration of war to go into Iraq. Nonetheless, Bush has not ruled out obtaining approval from Congress, if for nothing more than a symbolic gesture of solidarity. Some lawmakers have directed some harsh remarks at the President for what they interpret as nothing more than a legal technicality a technicality that would not give Bush a mandate to go into Iraq. "If the President is going to commit this nation to war, he'd better have the support of Congress and the American people with him," said Senator Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. Legal implications aside, is it appropriate for President Bush to send our military to topple Hussein's regime without Congressional consent?

Or would shunning Congress' wishes do more harm than good particularly to America's renewed spirit of unification?

Jessica Lee

Iraq should be Congress' baby

Should Cheney I mean, President Bush lobby Congress to "declare war" against Iraq? Yes, without a doubt. And then members of Congress should hit him over the head with a copy of our Constitution and send him home to Crawford to cry in his daddy's arms.

For those of you who haven't been clued in yet, an invasion of Iraq is nothing but a move at securing oil rights in the Middle East. If it were truly about protecting the Iraqis and the world from the oppressive and heartless grip of Saddam Hussein, then without a doubt the United Nations and many allies of the United States would support military action.

But it's not. And that's why Bush cannot make a sound case to Congress or the American people. The recent argument announced that Bush does not need Congressional approval because the 1991 war with Iraq never ended is legally absurd and an offense to the human intellect.

Greedy and politically charged citizens disobeying the ideological framework of our country undermine that basis of our fundamental American values. The president does not have sole power to declare war it was left up to the elected knuckleheads on Capitol Hill.

Kendrick Wilson

Important questions must be answered

It's difficult for one to argue against taking out Saddam Hussein. But while the Bush administration would rather question the patriotism of anyone who asks rather than answer questions, I have some serious questions I'd like to see answered before we invade Iraq.

To begin with, how are we going to invade Iraq with virtually no allies in the region, save Kuwait? How long might an invasion take and how many American lives would it cost? If and when Saddam Hussein is toppled, what do we plan to do with the country? Will the United States start delivering the mail and policing the streets? Will we administer a democracy or will we install another dictator one that's friendly to us?

Most importantly, why not get Osama Bin Laden first? Isn't he the one who poses a proven threat to the United States? None of these questions have been answered, and until they are, I am not comfortable blindly invading Iraq with no end in sight.

Iraq may be a war the American military may be more comfortable fighting, but the fact remains that the war on terrorism is not likely to be America against another country, but America against scattered, elusive underground groups. The best way for these questions to be answered is through Congressional debate and hearings.

Jason Baran

It is time for Bush to rally national unity

Because action to overthrow the Iraqi government would require more than a short-term air attack, the President would be ill advised to exclude Congress from participation in the decision to act. President Bush should approach Congress for its advice, and Congress should support action against Iraq.

The consent of Congress will signal solidarity to our allies.

If Bush were to act alone, the rest of the world could see the attack as less than legitimate.

By showing national support, pressure will be put on the international community to at least acquiesce to the desired change.

The President can avoid alienating Congress, which will pay dividends as he pushes his domestic agenda over the next two years of his current term.

This is particularly important if the Republicans lose seats this November. Congress will be picking up the tab for this war and the troops need to know that they will have support for the duration of their mission.

Our soldiers can't be left in the field without the moral and material support to effectively carry out their duties.

While the President may not need to ask permission to make a proactive defense of our nation, it would probably be best if he did.

Daniel Cucher

Opinion of Congress is irrelevant

When the United States invades Iraq, it will be in opposition to most world powers and certain domestic ones. Politically, the country seems split over the matter: The right wing wants to attack now, while the left wing is comfortable waiting for another solution or more support worldwide.

If Bush takes the matter to Congress, he will encounter a divided house. Most of the Republicans will rally around him with war cries, while many Democrats will make grave speeches using language like "restraint," and "peace, brother."

Asking Congress whether or not to invade Iraq is a nice idea in theory, because only in theory does Congress return productive, objective answers, which have nothing to do with upcoming elections. Congress is too muddled by political maneuvering to serve as a helpful guide to America's war on terrorism. This is why presidents surround themselves with experts.

It would be a good show, politically, if Bush could put a unified front on his invasion. But because Bush employs military and foreign policy advisors more precious to him than anyone in Congress, he is not likely to turn to the House and Senate for either support or probing insight.

Should he turn to Congress? Only if it helps his cause.

Tylor Brand

Here's an idea: Let's put war to a vote

The issue here is not whether Bush should consult Congress yes but whether he's obligated to check with the American people before we cut him another check to go beat up Saddam in a war that doesn't seem to be too favorable to this nation's welfare.

Congress won't be the problem; the only ones to really vote against the "you're with us or against us" attitude would be the anti-Bushites and other traditional spoilsports.

I, on the other hand, am not Congress. Congress doesn't pay taxes, and if they want a raise, they just vote and then laugh all the way to the Capitol Bank to overdraw their accounts for hooker and booze money.

I was just slapped with a $500 fine after my car somehow ended up in an inappropriate parking space (it was beaten soundly for its insolence). I sure as hell am not going to get anything out of a war with Iraq, except maybe my roommate's parking spot if the reserves are called up.

As much as I mocked Clinton for his Popularity Poll Presidency, a poll would not be about popularity. It'd be about who really has the power in this nation: the people or the state.


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