Bush Scandals List

128. AUMF against Iraq (often cited, seldom read)

The use of the 2002 AUMF against Iraq to justify the Bush invasion and an ongoing US military presence there. The UN Resolutions it cites, including those sanctioning military force, are from the 1990-1991 Gulf War. The UN never passed a resolution that authorized the use of military force in the Second Gulf War. On June 28, 2004, the US returned sovereignty to the reconstituted state of Iraq and in doing so acknowledged that the Iraq referenced in the AUMF as well as the legal rationale for a US presence in (and occupation of) the country no longer existed.

The AUMF placed Democrats in a political bind. Despite later protestations, they knew it meant war. Knowing this, they were faced with the following calculus. They could vote against the AUMF, but since Bush was going to war anyway they would be portrayed as unpatriotic and not supporting the troops. If the war was quick and successful, regardless of the merits of the case, they would be portrayed as weak and wrong. If they voted for, they might not get credit but they would avoid blame. Still some did vote no.

The AUMF passed in the House October 10, 2002 by a vote of 296-133 with 3 not voting. 81 Democrats voted for the AUMF. 126 voted against it (with 1 not voting). Only 6 Republicans voted against. It passed the Senate the next day with a vote of 77-23. 27 Democrats voted for it. 22 Democrats voted against, including Jeffords (I-VT). Only one Republican Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) voted against. Bush signed the AUMF into law on October 16, 2002.

These are the Senate Democrats who voted for the AUMF:

  • Baucus (D-MT)
  • Bayh (D-IN)
  • Breaux (D-LA)
  • Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Carnahan (D-MO)
  • Carper (D-DE)
  • Cleland (D-GA)
  • Clinton (D-NY)
  • Daschle (D-SD)
  • Dodd (D-CT)
  • Dorgan (D-ND)
  • Edwards (D-NC)
  • Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Harkin (D-IA)
  • Hollings (D-SC)
  • Johnson (D-SD)
  • Kerry (D-MA)
  • Kohl (D-WI)
  • Lieberman (D-CT)
  • Lincoln (D-AR)
  • Miller (D-GA)
  • Nelson (D-FL)
  • Nelson (D-NE)
  • Reid (D-NV)
  • Rockefeller (D-WV)
  • Schumer (D-NY)
  • Torricelli (D-NJ)

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