Wes Clark on the Iraq War

October 9, 2002

Lee and Spratt Amendments

Filed under: Congress, Iraq War Resolution (IWR), Lee Amendment, Spratt Amendment — faithinwes @ 5:09 pm

House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is in the midst of 17 hours of floor debate on the Bush-Gephardt War Resolution – H.J. Res. 114. That debate is expected to end sometime tomorrow. There will then be one hour of debate each on an amendment introduced by Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) and an amendment introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

The BUSH-GEPHARDT WAR RESOLUTION gives President Bush a blank check to skirt the Constitutional authority of Congress to declare war, and allows the President to act in violation of U.S. and International Law. IT CONSITUTES A CONGRESSIONAL ADOPTION OF THE BUSH PRE-EMPTION DOCTRINE. Urge your Representative to vote “No” on H.J. Res. 114.

The LEE AMENDMENT would urge the President to work “through the United Nations to seek to resolve the matter of ensuring that Iraq is not developing weapons of mass destruction…” through peaceful mechanism. It is important that we secure as many votes as possible for this amendment. Even Representatives who do not agree with our position should still vote for the Lee Amendment because it upholds the rule of law and supports the United Nations as the proper vehicle for securing a peaceful resolution to the Iraq crisis.

The SPRATT AMENDMENT will also reach the floor of the House and be debated tomorrow. This amendment to the Bush-Gephardt war resolution is the most important vote in the House against President Bush. Although it authorizes the use of United States armed forces, it does so ONLY pursuant to any UN Security Council resolution that provides for the elimination of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and ballistic missiles with ranges exceeding 150 kilometers, and the means of producing such weapons and missiles. The Spratt amendment would mandate A SECOND VOTE IN CONGRESS, following the failure of the UN Security Council to adopt such as resolution, AND failure of the Council to sanction the use of force to compel Iraq’s compliance. THIS SECOND VOTE IN CONGRESS WOULD BE REQUIRED BEFORE THE PRESIDENT COULD USE MILITARY FORCE.

The Spratt Amendment is being supported by an increasing number of House liberals and moderates alike who see it as the BEST CHANCE WE HAVE TO STOP BUSH. Therefore, any support for the Spratt amendment would be important. This amendment is certainly not perfect, but we need to secure as many votes as we can for Spratt to show the breadth of doubt and opposition to the peremptory approach of the president embodied in H.J.Res. 114.

A MOTION TO RECOMMIT — At this writing it appears that those opposed to the Bush Resolution will have the opportunity to offer a Motion to Recommit. A “Yes” vote on the motion would send the President’s resolution back to the committee of jurisdiction to ensure that Bush cannot go to war until he answers fundamental questions about long-term costs and consequences of an Iraq war to the U.S. economy and the stability of the Middle East. The point of this motion is to require the President to give Congress and the American people the answers they are demanding. (See previously distributed alert on “President Fails to Answer Basic Questions About Iraq War”).

Contact your Representatives and ask them to vote YES to the LEE and SPRATT AMENDMENTS and vote NO to the Bush-Gephardt War Resolution – H.J. Res. 114.

Source: Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC)


February 20, 2000

Clark’s Iraq War opposition timeline

February 15, 2002:
Clark said any Iraq operation had to take aftermath into account. On February 15, 2002, Clark said, regarding a possible invasion of Iraq, “I think what comes out of it is if we’re going to go into this operation in the future, we’ve got to be sure before we undertake it that we can go all the way, not only to Baghdad, not only Saddam Hussein, but to know what happens next, to make sure we have our allies and supporters lined up so that there’s not chaos and slaughter in Baghdad or in the south or in the Kurdistan areas after we complete the military phase of the operation.” [CNN, 2/15/02]

August 2, 2002:
Clark said “We Seem to Have Skipped Some Steps in the Logic of the Debate,” on Iraq. On August 2, 2002, Clark said, regarding a possible invasion of Iraq, “We seem to have skipped some steps in the logic of the debate. And, as the American people are brought into this, they’re asking these questions.” [CNN, 8/2/02]

August 29, 2002:
Clark said there is “War Fever Out There Right Now in Some Quarters of the Leadership Elements in this Country…Where is That Coming From?” On August 29, 2002, Clark said regarding a proposed invasion of Iraq, “Well, taking it to the United Nations doesn’t put America’s foreign policy into the hands of the French. What you have to do as the United States is you have to get other nations to commit and come in with you, and so you’ve got to provide the evidence, and the convincing of the French and the French public, and the leadership elite. Look, there’s a war fever out there right now in some quarters of some of the leadership elements in this country, apparently, because I keep hearing this sense of urgency and so forth. Where is that coming from? The vice president said that today he doesn’t know when they’re going to get nuclear weapons. They’ve been trying to get nuclear weapons for — for 20 years. So if there’s some smoking gun, if there’s some really key piece of information that hasn’t been shared publicly, maybe they can share it with the French.” [CNN, 8/29/02]

August 29, 2002:
Clark said aftermath of Iraq invasion was “More Boiling in the Street.” On August 29, 2002, Clark said, regarding a possible invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, “I think — but I think that underneath, what you’re going to have is you’re going to have more boiling in the street. You’re going to have deeper anger and you’re going to feed the recruitment efforts of Al Qaeda. And this is the key point, I think, that we’re at here. The question is what’s the greater threat? Three thousand dead in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon underscore the fact that the threat we’re facing primarily is Al Qaeda. We have to work the Iraq problem around dealing with Al Qaeda. And the key thing about dealing with Al Qaeda is, we can’t win that war alone.” [CNN, 8/29/02]

August 29, 2002:
Clark said “I’d like to see us slow down the rush to go after Saddam Hussein unless there’s some clear convincing evidence that we haven’t shared with the public that he’s right on the verge of getting nuclear weapons.” On August 29, 2002, Clark said, regarding a possible invasion of Iraq, “My perspective would be I’d like to see us slow down the rush to go after Saddam Hussein unless there’s some clear convincing evidence that we haven’t had shared with the public that he’s right on the verge of getting nuclear weapons.” [CNN, 8/29/02]

August 30, 2002:
Clark said “Going After Iraq Right Now is at Best a Diversion, and at Worst it Risks the Possibility of Strengthening Al Qaeda and Undercutting Our Coalition at a Critical Time.” On August 30, 2002, Clark said, regarding a possible invasion of Iraq, “Going after Iraq right now is at best a diversion, and at worst it risks the possibility of strengthening Al Qaeda and undercutting our coalition at a critical time. So at the strategic level, I think we have to keep our eye on the ball and focus on the number one strategic priority. There are a lot of other concerns as well, but that’s the main one.” [CNN, 8/30/02]

August 30, 2002:
Clark said disarming Saddam Hussein needed to be done “in the Right Context, and That Context is the Adherence to Full Weight of International Law.” On August 30, 2002, Clark said, regarding a possible invasion of Iraq, “I think it’s a serious problem with Saddam Hussein. I think he should be held to his pledge to give up his weapons of mass destruction, but we need to do so in the right context, and that context is adherence to full weight of international law, bringing our coalition partner all along with us, perhaps taking it to NATO, and putting a united front together to press Saddam Hussein.” [CNN, 8/30/02]

August 30, 2002:
Clark said invasion of Iraq of “Supercharge….Radical Groups in the Middle East.” On August 30, 2002, Clark said, regarding a possible invasion of Iraq, “It seems that way to me. It seems that this would supercharge the opinion, not necessarily of the elites in the Arab world, who may bow to the inevitability of the United States and its power, but the radical groups in the Middle East, who are looking for reasons and gaining more recruits every time the United States makes a unilateral move by force. They will gain strength from something like this. We can well end up in Iraq with thousands of military forces tied down, and a worse problem in coping with a war on terror here in the United States or Europe, or elsewhere around the world.” [CNN, 8/30/02]

September 16, 2002:
Clark said Congress shouldn’t give a “blank check,” to Use Force Against Iraq. On September 16, 2002, Clark said, regarding Iraq and possible Congressional authorization to use force, “Don’t give a blank check. Don’t just say, you are authorized to use force. Say what the objectives are. Say what the limitations are, say what the constraints and restraints are. What is it that we, the United States of America, hope to accomplish in this operation?” [CNN 9/16/02]

September 23, 2002:
Clark said force should only be used as a last resort, “Not Because of a Sense of Impatience With the Arcane Ways of International Institutions.” On September 23, 2002, Clark said, regarding Iraq and possible Congressional authorization for the use of force, “When you’re talking about American men and women going and facing the risk we’ve been talking about this afternoon… you want to be sure that you’re using force and expending American blood and lives in treasure as the ultimate last resort. Not because of a sense of impatience with the arcane ways of international institutions.” [Senate Committee on Armed Forces 9/23/02]

September 25, 2002:
Clark urged work on post-war issues. On September 25, 2002, Clark said, regarding a possible invasion of Iraq, “If we go in there, this government will be displaced, and there will be a new government put in place. But what about the humanitarian issues? What about the economic development? What about the energy? What about the opening of commerce? What about tariffs? What about taxes? What about police? What about public order? All those issues, we should be working on now, because they will help us do a better job of reducing the adverse, potentially adverse, impact of the war on terror if we have to do what we might have to do?” [CNN 9/25/02]

October 5, 2002:
Clark said it appeared that “Administration Jumped to the Conclusion That It Wanted War First and Then the Diplomacy Has Followed.” On October 5, 2002, Clark said, regarding debate on Congressional authorization for war against Iraq, “The way the debate has emerged, it’s appeared as though to the American people, at least to many that talk to me, as though the administration jumped to the conclusion that it wanted war first and then the diplomacy has followed.” [CNN 10/5/02]

January 23, 2003:
Clark said “There Are Problems With the Case the U.S. is Making,” for War Against Iraq in Order to Gain Allies at the U.N. On January 23, 2003, Clark said, regarding the case the United States had made for war against Iraq to the United Nations, “There are problems with the case that the U.S. is making, because the U.S. hasn’t presented publicly the clear, overwhelming sense of urgency to galvanize the world community to immediate military action now…..You need the cover of legitimacy, and afterwards, you’re going to need allies and other people to help share the burdens of peacekeeping.” [CNN 1/23/03]

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