August 02, 2002


THIS JUST IN-- CASUS BELLI!: Yes, Atta met with an Iraqi agent in Prague, the White House says. Of course, though the FBI and CIA supposedly have "deep doubts," the Czech's have testily insisted for a long time that this story was legit. The same LA Times report (linked through the Seattle Times reprint because of the horrid LAT registration process) mentions that "Tuesday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a news conference that Iraq had 'a relationship' with al-Qaida, but declined to be more specific." Um, we knew that one, too.

For a while, I've had the feeling the administration was downplaying the Iraq-al Qaeda connection, lest they be pushed into a war on too many major fronts at once. They only now seem to be endorsing the connection, upon the occassion of the Senate hearings on Iraq. This probably means the war is coming soon, but it also means the executive branch has a bit too much control over war-making than might be appropriate.

Most who make that criticism seem to hope that Congress would restrain the war and insist upon coalitions and so forth, but I make it for the opposite reason: Congress is supposed to declare war, and in doing so in the formal, old fashioned, strict-constructist manner, it would give us more, not less, reason to fight upon our own terms. Without a declaration, there is much more risk of this becoming a multilateral morass. If, for example, the supposed casus belli is violation of UN rules, Saddam might come out unscathed just by letting in the ineffectual UN inspectors (yes, I realize that "ineffectual UN" is redundant). If, on the other hand, we declare war with our own legislature for our own reasons, we are more likely to fight our own war. Destroying clear dangers to the U.S., not enforcing a Eurocrat vision of "international law," should be the goal of any American war.

Posted by John Tabin at August 2, 2002 06:32 AM