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Sunday, April 16, 2017
CNS Editor Admits Iraq War Was A Failure

How much does editor in chief Terry Jeffrey not want President Trump not to get involved militarily in Iraq -- thus splitting CNS from the rest of the rah-rah bombers at the Media Research Center? He admits what few conservatives do: admit that the Iraq War was a mistake.

Jeffrey writes in his April 12 column:

When President George W. Bush decided he wanted to remove and replace Saddam Hussein, he made a bad decision to go to war in Iraq but a good one to seek congressional authorization first.

Large bipartisan majorities in both houses approved the resolution authorizing Bush to use force.

In the House, it won 296 to 133. Rep. Adam Schiff, now the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, voted for it.

In the Senate, it won 77 to 23. Future Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry and Hillary Clinton joined future Republican presidential candidate John McCain in supporting it. So, too, did Harry Reid, the future Democratic majority leader.

Most of Washington's elected elite joined in making perhaps the most imprudent foreign policy decision of this century.

The House passed the authorization on Oct. 10, 2002; the Senate, the next day. Fifteen years later, the battle for Iraq continues. But the adversary is no longer the secular dictator Saddam Hussein — whom U.S. forces captured less than 11 months after entering Iraq — it is the Islamic State.

Jeffrey making other members of Congress complicit in passage of Bush's use-of-force resolution omits the fact that it wasn't sold as a means to go to war. As Hillary Clinton's speech in support of the resolution details, she expected Bush to exhaust all diplomatic avenues first, adding:

I take the president at his word that he will try hard to pass a United Nations resolution and seek to avoid war, if possible. Because bipartisan support for this resolution makes success in the United Nations more likely and war less likely—and because a good faith effort by the United States, even if it fails, will bring more allies and legitimacy to our cause—I have concluded, after careful and serious consideration, that a vote for the resolution best serves the security of our nation. If we were to defeat this resolution or pass it with only a few Democrats, I am concerned that those who want to pretend this problem will go away with delay will oppose any United Nations resolution calling for unrestricted inspections.

Nevertheless, Jeffrey touts Bush's seeking authorization; otherwise, "if he had not, his action would not only have been unwise, it would have been unconstitutional." He goes on to surprisingly huff given that CNS has been a slavish Trump stenographer:

When President Donald Trump ordered military action against the Assad regime last week, he had no more constitutional authority than President Washington had in 1793 to order military action against the Chickamaggas.

Washington did not act unilaterally. Trump did. Which one was the constitutional originalist?


Having acted unconstitutionally in using force against the Assad regime without prior congressional authorization, the question now is whether Trump will act unwisely in seeking to remove Assad's regime without weighing the long-term consequences.

Will Trump, like Bush, unleash a greater threat than the one he seeks to destroy?

This is, by the way, something of a flip-flop on Jeffrey's part. In a 2006 appearance on CNN, Jeffrey argued that pulling out of Iraq was a bad idea because the U.S. needs to "use our military in such a way as we optimize the outcome in terms of our own security interests and also what happens on the ground."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:09 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 16, 2017 10:11 PM EDT

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