Biden: Repeal the 2002 Iraq war resolution

If senators need a "do-over," here's their chance.

Published February 16, 2007 1:54PM (EST)

Hillary Clinton says there are no "do-overs" in life, but Joe Biden seems ready to orchestrate one: The Delaware senator and presidential candidate says he's working on legislation that would repeal the 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq.

Biden voted in favor of the use-of-force authorization. But in a speech at the Brookings Institution Thursday, he said that it should be repealed now because it is no longer relevant to what U.S. troops are actually doing in Iraq. "We gave the president that power to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and, if necessary, to depose Saddam Hussein," Biden explained. "The WMD were not there. Saddam Hussein is no longer there. The 2002 authorization is no longer relevant to the situation in Iraq."

Biden said he wants to see the 2002 resolution replaced with a narrower authorization that would "make clear what the mission of our troops is: to responsibly draw down, while continuing to combat terrorists, train Iraqis and respond to emergencies. We should make equally clear what their mission is not: to stay in Iraq indefinitely and get mired in a savage civil war."

Biden acknowledged that "opposing the surge" is the first step to be taken, and the House is poised to do that today when it votes on a short, straightforward resolution that expresses support for the troops and opposition to George W. Bush's escalation. Harry Reid is keeping the Senate back from its February recess to hold a vote Saturday on whether to proceed to a vote on the House resolution.

Once the House votes -- and the Senate does or doesn't take action -- the two chambers will begin moving on to more substantive efforts to rein in Bush and bring the war to a close. In the House, Nancy Pelosi and Jack Murtha are working to rewrite the president's latest budget request for Iraq and Afghanistan so that it requires more rest for troops between combat deployments, better training in the kind of fighting they actually encounter in Iraq and more of the equipment they need but haven't always been provided. Although more than 70 House Democrats have signed on to a measure that would cut funding for the war, Pelosi says neither she nor the Congress will go that far.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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