Shorter Eric Soskin, Harvard Federalist Society, writing in Ex Parte:
Given that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, Bush's official statement to Congress (a certification required by law as a precondition for force), that invading Iraq was “consistent with” a resolution that authorized force against “international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001” wasn't “unambiguously false” but just legalistic and misleading—so why is everyone getting so worked up about it?
I think the guy has a future in the OLC if Bush is re-elected.
[Update (6/22): A read writes to complaint about the "re-". Point taken.]
I’d hope the OLC could do better than that. The letter to the Congress wasn’t legalistic, wasn’t misleading, and most certainly wasn’t unambiguously false.
I’ve been amazed at the number of people who are misreading what is a relatively simple set of legal documents. I suppose partisanship is a partial explanation, but I can’t believe that’s a complete explanation. Perhaps people aren’t familiar with the context–the 9/14/01 resolution authorizing the president to use force against those responsible for the attacks of 9/11 (which would have made a separate authorization superfluous if Bush had said what so many insist he said), or the Congressional debates in which Iraq war opponents insisted that the war was a needless distraction from the war against those responsible for 9/11, and the language resulting from that supposed concern, requiring the president to make a determination that going to war with Iraq would be consistent (i.e., not interfere) with the ongoing war against al Qaeda.
If the OLC comes calling in ’05, would you be kind enough to send them my way?