Senator Obama has repeatedly attempted to put Senator Clinton on the defensive by bringing up her vote on H.J. Res. 114, the Joint Resolution providing President Bush with authorization for the use of Military Force Against Iraq. In much the same manner as a Monday morning quarterback, Senator Obama has criticized the "yea" vote by Senator Clinton.
The problem with his criticism is there aren’t too many people that don’t feel we should not have attacked the Republic of Iraq. Unfortunately, these same individuals were not behind closed doors when confidential security data was being presented to Senators.
In retrospect, Senator Obama has even been published as stating had he been privy to the intelligence the Senators were provided, at the time, he may very well have voted ‘yea’ on the bill.
If you recall correctly, this vote was taken in October of 2002, barely a year after the 9/11 attack on U.S. soil. At the time, Senator Obama was NOT a member of the United States Senate. How he would’ve, could’ve or should’ve voted on this bill is virtually meaningless because ‘outsiders’ simply do not have access to confidential intelligence reports prepared for members of the United States Senate.
Was Senator Clinton the only U.S. Senator to favor this bill? Of course not, the vote on the bill was 77-23 which means a full 77 percent of U.S. Senators, after being exposed to the intelligence supplied by our agencies, felt the bill should be passed. In addition to Senator Clinton, the following U.S. Senators voted in favor of the bill and their names are listed at the end of this piece.
President George W. Bush had only been in office for barely over a year when this bill was brought before Congress. He had not been in office long enough, at that time, for anyone to question motives as this country was still in a state of shock over the attacks of September 11, 2001.
H.J. Res. 114 was introduced into the House by, then Speaker of the House, Dennis J. Hastert on October 2, 2002 and was passed by the House and Senate in record breaking time with PL 107-243 being signed into law by President Bush on October 16, 2002.
In a nine-day period of time this bill was introduced, went to the House Committee on International Relations, went through amendments, was placed on the House calendar for a vote, went to the Senate, was amended, went to the Senate floor for a vote and passed the Senate on October 11, 2002, without amendment.
Five days later it was signed into law by President Bush.
On October 4, 2002 the CBO released their cost estimate of this bill and their narrative begins with the following statement [emphasis added]:
"H. J. Res 114 would authorize the President to use the armed forces of the United States as he determines necessary and appropriate to defend the United States against the threat posed by Iraq and to enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
By itself, the resolution would not authorize any funding for the use of force, nor would it affect direct spending or receipts. While the resolution is a step toward building consensus for the use of force, it also might improve the chances of a diplomatic settlement without the use of force. The resolution would leave the decision to use force to the discretion of the President." Nevertheless, if the President should use the resolution to initiate a war against Iraq, the budgetary effects would be significant.
It is an absolute disgrace that Senator Obama would criticize Senator Clinton, or any of the other 77 Senators that voted to pass this joint resolution. When you add in the 296 House votes you’re talking about a total of 373 members of the United States Congress that voted ‘yea’ to giving President George W. Bush the authority to use military force, if needed. They didn’t authorize him to attack, they authorized him to use military force if necessary to protect U.S. interests.
President George W. Bush chose to attack Iraq.
To have a Junior Senator criticize actions of other members of Congress, when he wasn’t even involved in the discussions, for the sole purpose of benefiting his political aspirations, is disgraceful and Senator Obama should be ashamed.
The voters in this country are sick of war. We’ve seen our country literally fall to pieces, while we’re spending $12 billion dollars a month on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We want something better for ourselves and our children.
Our members of Congress have to go to sleep every night and remember how their vote indirectly caused thousands of U.S. casualties and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties.
What they don’t need is the Junior Senator from the state of Illinois throwing in his two cents. If Senator Obama really had the interests of this country at heart, he would make a formal apology to Senator Clinton and to every other Senator listed below.