Editorial / San Francisco Chronicle – 2006-08-09 23:31:56
(August 6, 2006) — Two top US generals told Congress last week what has been obvious to many observers as well as Iraqis themselves: sectarian violence there is at an all-time high, and the country may be sliding toward a full-scale civil war.
That prospect caused US Sen. John Warner, R-Va., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to raise the intriguing idea that the resolution Congress passed in October 2002 authorizing the use of force in Iraq may no longer apply.
The resolution was clearly intended to give the Bush administration the green light to oust Saddam Hussein and prevent him from attacking the United States or its allies with weapons of mass destruction.
With Hussein’s regime deposed, that threat no longer exists, if it ever did.
Warner said the administration might have to come back to Congress to seek further authorization to keep US troops there. “I think we have to examine very carefully what Congress authorized the president to do … if we’re faced with an all-out civil war and whether we have to come back to Congress to get further indication of support,” said Warner.
Later on PBS’s NewsHour, Warner explained, “The resolution was drawn up at a time when none of us, from the president on down, could ever envision the seriousness of this situation now, and — and I underline — just the possibility of a civil war … It seems to me Congress should focus on a dramatic change if our troops are to be employed in that type of conduct.”
Warner’s comments open the door for a long-overdue re-examination of a controversial resolution that the administration continues to use to sustain its failed policies in Iraq.