Mario Cuomo, who for some inexplicable reason seems to have a reputation among Democrats as some kind of intellectual, has an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times Monday morning that, don’t laugh, tries to make a sort of strict constructionist case against the liberation of Iraq.
The glaring factual errors begin in the first paragraph:
“Meanwhile, President Bush continues to insist that as commander in chief, he has the constitutional power to go to war and decide when to end it, unilaterally.”
But this is quite simply and obviously a lie. President Bush does not now and has never insisted such a thing. He did in fact receive authorization from Congress to invade Iraq.
Here’s the nut of Cuomo’s argument:
“The war happened because when Bush first indicated his intention to go to war against Iraq, Congress refused to insist on enforcement of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. For more than 200 years, this article has spelled out that Congress — not the president — shall have ‘the power to declare war.'”
Many consider the “Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq” in 2002 to be equivalent to a declaration of war. It’s debatable whether the Constitution requires the words “declaration of war” to be used for it to count, but the fact remains the president sought and received authorization from Congress.
It’s interesting how suddenly the “living, breathing Constitution” crowd becomes interested in exact wording when something they don’t like happens.
Incidentally, we don’t recall any similar article from Cuomo in the 1990s, and can’t imagine him writing one then.
But here’s where Cuomo drifts from his usual foolish talk into daftness:
“Nor were the feeble, post-factum congressional resolutions of support of the Iraq invasion — in 2001 and 2002 — adequate substitutes for the formal declaration of war demanded by the founding fathers.”
The Iraq invasion began in March 2003. So how could there have possibly been “post-factum” resolutions of support substituting for a declaration of war in 2001 or 2002? What in the world is the man talking about there?
The president received legal authorization for the invasion of Iraq from Congress before the war. Isn’t there one fact-checker or editor left at the Los Angeles Times, or did they all get laid off already?