The original comment is as follows:
1. Clinton was conducting similar bombing on a smaller scale. If this is the "smoking gun" then Clinton is guilt of war crimes as well, even if his smoking gun is of a smaller caliber.
2. Congress almost certainly knew about this, including Democrats. Maybe John Conyers was in the dark, but until I see some evidence that not even those on the Armed Services and Intelligence committes had any inkling of this, it is absurd to call this a "smoking gun" of anything. If Joe Biden didn't care, that's an indictment of Joe Biden not an impeachable offense by Bush.
4. The rolling start. It may be true that Congress had not yet authorized an attack, but the President anticipated the potential for one. Leaving aside Bush's illigitimate grounds for invasion, if a president legitimately believes that another country poses an imminent threat and legitimately believes that an invasion may be imminent and legitimately believes that Congress will authorize force, that president may legitimately conduct preparatory military operations. If this was Wes Clark we were talking about, nobody here would be criticizing the rolling start strategy. But since it is Bush, there is a lot of knee-jerk criticism.
Bush deserves to be criticized. For lying. For failing to plan. For failing to care. But getting hysterical about softening up Iraq, which, let's be fair, 99% of the country wouldn't give a crap about if the war was legitimate, only makes Dems look ridiculous.
And here we go...
(1) Clinton did NOT conduct similar bombing. The bombing conducted by the Bush adminstration was essentially unprovoked (susequent self-defense by Iraq aside). Clinton's bombing was not an offense as Bush's was; it was defensive.
The strike that he agreed with as president in 1993 was one in response to the assasination plot of then President Bush.
Moreover, Clinton's campaign was to enforce the no-fly zone under UN resolution 687, which does have an enforcement provision. Bush's bombing campaign, as the Times reported, was not supportable by any UN resolution.
Also, let's compare numbers. Missles launched under Clinton to enforce no fly zone: 44. Missles launched under Bush in violation of no fly zone: over 21,000. Just until May 2002.
(2) That's quite a broad claim to say that "Congess must have known about this." Congress gets what it filtered to it through the executive branch and its agencies. I don't believe, unless someone can correct me, Congress as a whole is informed of every military action, let alone ones taken on the sly. Furthermore, sift through the DoD reports from 2002. Notice how almost every report begins " In response to recent hostile Iraqi acts against Coalition aircraft monitoring the Southern No-Fly Zone..." or "Iraqi Air Defenses today fired upon..." Assuming that Congress WAS informed of the events in Iraq in 2002, it looks like that information was presented in such a way as to make Congress believe that the US was in a defensive, rather then offensive, posture.
(3) Here is evidence of Iraqi contesting the US bombing campaign in 2002:
On May 16, 2002, the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations presented a letter to the Secretary General showing US encroachments into its sovereign territory:
Also, a follow up letter was presented to the United Nations on May 27, 2002:
I'd link to the FULL letters, but the site has been scrubbed, and the letters are not available anywhere else. We at DSM.com are trying to see where we may obtain official copies. Thanks to sheba below, who found them through the UN Document Search Site. (My groggy mind couldn't find them through the main UN site...posted too early in the AM, me thinks)
(4) Your statement presumed that Bush "legitimately" believed Iraq was an "imminent threat". The DSM specifically states that Iraq's WMD capabilities "was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran." Reading Bush's speech, you would swear that he genuinely did believe Iraq was about to come busting over here in NY and Chicago and LA with biological and WMD attacks. However, looking at all the Downing Street documents which detail meetings with Bush's closest war advisors, it is clear that the Bush administration did NOT believe Iraq was an "imminent" threat; rather, the documents show that Iraq was not a threat to the US, but the US and Britain decided to play it up that war.
Given that the President knew that Iraq did not pose a direct and imminent threat, does that not make his offensive--without Congressional authorization--that much more disturbing?
I think space's comment brought up some good points, and I hope I cleared some things up addressing them.
Sorry to post and run, but I have to get going. I'll be glad to address any other questions or research needs when I get back :)