The president as commander in chief.

AuthorTerry, James P.
PositionP. 456-498
  1. George Walker Bush

When George Walker Bush was elected by the slightest of electoral college margins over Democrat Al Gore in 2000, many nevertheless believed he would be seen as one of our stronger Presidents, largely because of the strength of the national security team he assembled. (403) The Department of Defense was headed by Donald Rumsfeld, a no-nonsense former Secretary who had been a scion in industry. (404) His Vice President, Richard Cheney, had previously served in Congress, as Chief of Staff to Gerald Ford, and as a strong Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush, before serving as the Chairman and CEO of Haliburton. (405) General Colin Powell had previously served as Deputy National Security Advisor, National Security Advisor, and as a highly respected Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George H.W. Bush. (406) Powell's appointment as Secretary of State was viewed by many as the crown jewel in the cabinet. (407) The National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, although serving in her first senior national security post, was widely viewed as one of the preeminent Russian scholars in U.S. academia, having most recently served as Stanford's Provost. (408)

The determination by President George W. Bush to enter Iraq and remove the regime of Saddam Hussein from power in early 2003 followed twelve years of Iraqi violations of U.N. Security Council Resolutions following Operation Desert Storm. (409) Prior to the decision by the United States and its coalition partners to intervene in Iraq with military force in 2003, Saddam Hussein had done everything possible to avoid compliance with the will of the international community. Of the twenty-six demands made by the Security Council since 1991, Iraq had complied with only three. (410) Equally significant, the regime's repression of the Iraqi people had continued.

The October 16, 2002, joint resolution of Congress authorizing the use of all means, including force, to bring Iraq into compliance was merely one of a series of actions by Congress to address the noncompliance by Baghdad of its international obligations. (411) In 1998, for example, Congress passed a similar resolution at the request of President Clinton. (412) That resolution declared that "Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security," declared Iraq to be in material breach of its international obligations, and urged the President "to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations." (413)

These congressional and U.N. Security Council Resolutions were not the only outcry for change. In the Iraq Liberation Act passed in 1998, U.S. lawmakers expressed the sense of Congress that "[i]t should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove ... from power [the Iraqi regime], and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime." (414) The reasons for this strong congressional reaction to the Hussein regime rested not solely on Iraqi defiance of U.N. resolutions, but also on Saddam Hussein's repression of the Iraqi people, his support for international terrorism, his refusal to account for Gulf War prisoners, his refusal to return stolen property to Kuwait following the 1990-1991 conflict, and the Baathist regime's efforts to circumvent economic sanctions. (415)

The U.S. intervention with its coalition partners in Iraq in March 2003 must be viewed as a significant historical precedent in the relationship of a major power to the Security Council. Previously in 1999 in Kosovo, the United States and a coalition largely made up of NATO partners intervened to rescue and protect the threatened Albanian population from Serb aggression without specific Security Council approval. (416) The military action in Kosovo could arguably be justified as a humanitarian intervention created by the inhuman treatment of the Albanians by Milosevic. However, the coalition entry into Iraq in 2003 was justified on the basis of repeated violations of U.N. Security Council Resolutions under Chapter VII (authorizing all necessary means), and the threat to international peace and security in the region and to the world community posed by the Saddam Hussein regime as a result thereof. (417) As President Bush stated to the U.N. General Assembly on September 12, 2002:

Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation. And the regime's forces were poised to continue their march to seize other countries and their resources. Had Saddam Hussein been appeased instead of stopped, he would have endangered the peace and stability of the world. Yet, this aggression was stopped by the might of coalition forces and the will of the United Nations. In order to suspend hostilities and to spare himself, Iraq's dictator accepted a series of commitments. The terms were clear to him, and to all. And he agreed to prove he is complying with every one of those obligations. He has proven instead only his contempt for the United Nations and for all his pledges. By breaking every pledge, by his deceptions and by his cruelties, Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself. The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of United Nations demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honoured and enforced or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant? (418) Thus, the intervention in Iraq must be viewed through a different lens than either our intervention in Afghanistan, where we responded to a direct attack on the United States, or our intervention in Kosovo, where the coalition responded to a humanitarian crisis created by Serb atrocities. (419) In Iraq, the coalition led by the United States and the United Kingdom was responding to an attack on the very effectiveness of the U.N. security system by seeking redress for repeated violations of Security Council resolutions. If not addressed directly, such violations would have both done irreparable harm to the minimum world-order system represented by Article 2, paragraph 4, and Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, to the peace and security of the region, and to the well-being of the Iraqi people through continued repression. (420)

Prior to intervention on March 19, 2003, and the inception of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the regime of Saddam Hussein had repeatedly violated sixteen U.N. Security Council resolutions designed to place sharp controls on the regime's activities, and to ensure that Iraq did not pose a threat to international peace and security. (421) These violations spanned a period of more than a decade, and are first addressed in Security Council resolutions arising from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. (422)

In 1994, for example, Saddam Hussein's regime began military deployments once again designed to threaten Kuwait. (423) The Security Council condemned these military deployments, and directed Iraq not to utilize its military or other forces in a hostile manner to threaten its neighbors or U.N. operations in Iraq. (424)

Within two years, it was apparent that Saddam Hussein was again acquiring unauthorized weapons components. In response, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolutions 1051 and 1060 in 1996. (425) In Resolution 1051, the Council demanded that Iraq report shipments of dual-use items related to weapons of mass destruction to the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency ("IAEA"). (426) It also required that Iraq cooperate fully with U.N. and IAEA inspectors and allow immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access. (427) This was followed by Resolution 1060, which deplored Iraq's refusal to allow access to U.N. inspectors, and Iraq's "clear violation[s]" of previous U.N. resolutions. (428)

With access for inspectors still effectively denied in 1997, the Security Council passed Resolution 1115, which "[c]ondemn[ed] the repeated refusal of the Iraqi authorities to allow access" to U.N. officials. (429) The Council claimed that these actions were a "clear and flagrant violation" of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 687, 707, 715, and 1060. (430) In Resolution 1134, the Security Council repeated its demands contained in Resolution 1115. (431) When Iraqi actions threatened the safety of U.N. personnel in late 1997, the Council condemned "the continued violations by Iraq" of previous U.N. resolutions, including its implicit threat to the safety of aircraft operated by U.N. inspectors and its tampering with U.N. inspector monitoring equipment. (432)

The Iraqi lack of cooperation with the inspection regime continued, and in March 1998, the Security Council passed Resolution 1154, stating that any violation would have the "severest consequences for Iraq." (433) On August 5, 1998, the Baathist regime suspended all cooperation with U.N. and IAEA inspectors. (434) This led to the Security Council's condemnation, and the claim that Iraqi actions constituted "a totally unacceptable contravention" of its obligations under Resolutions 687, 707, 715, 1060, 1115, and 1154. (435) On October 31, 1998, the Iraqis made their August suspension permanent, and ceased cooperation with U.N. inspectors. (436) The Security Council, in Resolution 1205, "condemn[ed]" this decision and described it as a "flagrant violation" of Resolution 687 and other prior resolutions. (437)

In 1999, frustrated with the continued lack of Iraqi cooperation, the Security Council passed Resolution 1284, which created the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission ("UNMOVIC") to replace the previous weapons inspection team, the United...

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