Senator Levin voted against the resolution authorizing military force in Iraq in 2002. At the time, he offered an alternative that would have authorized force only pursuant to a United Nations resolution, or if the Security Council did not act, would have required President Bush to come back to Congress to seek specific authorization. Unfortunately, Carl Levin’s resolution did not pass, and the Bush Administration invaded Iraq without broad international support and despite the absence of an imminent threat.
Even though Carl Levin believes that President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was a mistake, he believes that now that we’re there it is important that we succeed. Our brave men and women in uniform continue to serve courageously under very challenging and dangerous conditions. However, the Bush Administration has so far been unable to address the many political and diplomatic problems that hinder the establishment of a stable democracy in Iraq.
Carl Levin believes that the Bush Administration must urge the Iraqis to reach a political settlement to form a unity government, including broadly acceptable appointments to the key ministries of defense and interior, and amend their Constitution to fairly share power and resources so as to have a stable government which also respects individual rights. He believes that we should make clear to the Iraqis that our continued presence depends on their meeting the deadlines they have set for themselves to form such a government and amend their Constitution. The Iraqis must promptly assume ultimate responsibility for their own security and success.
That’s why Carl Levin co-sponsored an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act in 2005, which was passed by the Congress, which states that 2006 must be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraq security forces taking the lead for Iraq’s security, creating the conditions for the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq.
In June 2003, Carl Levin directed his staff on the Armed Services Committee to conduct an inquiry into pre-war intelligence and the Bush Administration’s use of that intelligence. The report of this inquiry in October 2004 documented the role of the Defense Department’s policy office, headed by then-Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, in creating its own alternative intelligence analysis inaccurately asserting cooperative links between Iraq and al Qaeda, and the statements made by senior Bush Administration officials that reflected this alternative analysis. Our intelligence agencies did not believe those links existed, and the report also documented that Feith promoted this alternative analysis to the White House without the knowledge of the Director of Central Intelligence.