Dianne Feinstein on The War in Iraq

Last Updated : Sep 20, 2012

Summary

Senator Feinstein was very cautious about entering Iraq and using force there and instead called for diplomatic efforts to force Sadaam Hussein to end his weapons programs. However, she was adamant that he did have those weapons and was pursuing nuclear weapons and did vote for the authority to use force.

The Senator was active in attempting to properly fund the war and vocal in her criticism of spending and tactics there. She supported efforts to withdrawal troops through a time table or a phased withdrawal.

Caution About the War

In September of 2002 Senator Feinstein spoke in the Senate floor concering the possible invasion of Iraq. Noting the weight of the decision to go to war, Senator Feinstein stated that Congress must not rush to judgment before it has had ample opportunity to answer the many questions that still remain regarding why a preemptive war should be fought against Iraq . These questions included what was the immediate threat, how would we respond to Iraq's use of chemical or biological weapons, and what were our responsibilities for postwar stability once Saddam Hussein is ousted.

The Senator also noted that while no one questioned that Saddam Hussein was an evil man, his nuclear capability was 5 to 7 years away. She also noted that there was reason to believe that Saddam Hussein had biological and chemical weapons hidden, but that this alone was not sufficient reason to preemptively attack another sovereign nation.

Senator Feinstein asserted that while Hussein was a real threat to his people and there was no question that the US should take steps to disarm Iraq, there were real, viable options short of war left on the table. She proposed working with the international community to disarm Iraq before using military force as an option. Specifically, she called for using the UN Security Council to force inspections and only consider force is Saadam played games with those inspectors or otherwise balked at disarming. She stated that the purpose of action against Iraq, either diplomatic or military should be the disarming of the regime. 

Finally, the Senator cautioned against removing resources from Afghanistan and going into Iraq without consideration of the post war committments we would have to make to rebuilding.

Voting for Authorization

In October of 2002, Senator Feinstein voted in favor of authorizing the use of force in Iraq. In discussing this decision on the Senate floor, she stated that while the ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida are tenuous, there should be no question that his entire government is forged and held together by terror. She noted that while the distance between the United States and Iraq is great, Saddam Hussein's ability to use his chemical and biological weapons against us is not constrained by geography. She noted her support for an amendment which authorized use of force pursuant to U.N. Security Council action. She stated that Iraq was a real threat and that Saddam Hussein had prevaricated, manipulated, deceived and violated every agreement he has made to disarm.

The US and the World

In January of 2003, Senator Feinstein spoke at a conference and outlined her position and the situation in Iraq. She noted that there was no information connecting Iraq to 9-11 or to any al-Qaida terrorist attack. She also stated that while Vice President Cheney had stated that Iraq would be a nuclear power soon, he provided no evidence to back up this accusation. She expressed optimism at President Bush's willingness to go to the UN and build a coalition of the willing. She also stated that while she initailly voted for a measure that would have required UN approval before force was used, she eventually voted for a measure that did not require any. She noted the ongoing inspections in Iraq and that the nation was contained. She called upon the Bush administration to release any information that Hussein was not cooperating prior to military action.

More Time for inspectors

That same month, Senator Feinstein noted that large quantities of various chemical weapons were missing from Iraq, and that it had not cleared airspace for a U2 flyover. She asked for more time to be given for inspectors to search the country before the use of force.

Spending, Taxes, and Reconstruction

To offset the cost of the war in Iraq, Senator Feinstein proposed an increase in the tax rate that affects those making more than $310,000. She noted that this would fully find the $87 billion the President was asking for in spending and prevent the US from entering an economic oblivion.

In November of 2003, Senator Feinstein supported spending to help rebuild Iraq and cited an ethical requirement to help there. She also stated her belief that we would see civil war and a return of the Baathist regime if we left Iraq in ruins.

Phased Withdrawal

By 2006, Senator Feinstein was supporting a  phased downsizing of U.S. forces in Iraq and full withdrawal by the end of 2007. She noted that the basic elements of government were in place and that the mission should be transitioned from nation building to security. 

Reports and Rumsfeld

That same year, Senator Feinstein noted a report that found that the pre-war intelligence on Iraq’s nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and delivery systems was overwhelmingly wrong. She asserted that Iraq simply did not possess weapons of mass destruction prior to the war, and that Saddam Hussein distrusted al-Qaeda and provided no operational support to the group whatsoever.

In response to this and rising violence in the region, Senator Feinstein stated that Rumsfeld should resign. She asserted that his policies had weakened the state of our national and homeland defense and that despite clear evidence that our current strategy is not working, he has stubbornly stuck to a deteriorating course.

Oppositon to Surge

Throughout 2006 and 2007, Senator Feinstein vocally supported efforts to institute a phased withdrawal or timetables for withdrawal. She referred to the violence there as a civil war. She opposed the surge strategy in Iraq and voted against funding measures for the strategy.

Troop Withdrawal

In 2011, Senator Feinstein voted to remove the authority to use force in Iraq, a measure that did not pass. When the last troops finally left Iraq, she noted that if the Iraqis did not want us there, then we had no right to stay.

 

An Evil Man

On September 25, 2002, Senator Feinstein spoke in the Senate floor and discussed a possible invasion into Iraq. She noted that Saadam Hussein was an evil man, but that this was not enough for an invasion.

 

Voting for the Authorization

In October of 2002, Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor and stated that she would be voting in favor of the authorization for the use of force. She noted the tenuous ties between Iraq and al Qaida and the threat posed by chemical weapons from Iraq.

 

America's Place in the World

On January 23, 2003 Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor and discussed a recent speech that she gave to the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles.

 

Chemical Weapons

On January 29, 2003 Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor discussing the chemical weapons in Iraq and efforts to determine if Iraq had those weapons and where they were.

 

Iraq Security and Stabilization Act

On September 25, 2003 Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor discussing the Iraq Security and Stabilization Act. She notes the need to control the deficit while engaging in Iraq and notes her support for the war.

 

Reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan

On November 3, 2003 Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor in support of a supplemental appropriations act and noted that the US had a responsibility in Iraq and Afghanistan to rebuild the infrastructure there.

 

Support for Phased Withdrawal

In May of 2006, Senator Feinstein released a press statement noting her opinion that it was time for a phased withdrawal from Iraq.

 

Post War Reports

In September of 2006, Senator Feinstein released a press statement noting the findings of two post war intelligence reports and stating that they are a perfect opportunity to change course in Iraq.

 

Secretary Rumsfeld

In September of 2006, Senator Feinstein released a press statement noting legislation that she was cosponsored that called for a resolution expressing no confidence in the leadership of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and calling for a change of course in Iraq.

In November of 2006, Senator Feinstein released another statement noting the resignation of Secretary Rumsfeld, and it's possible representative of policy changes in Iraq.

 

Iraq Study Group Report

In December of 2006, Senator Feinstein released a press statement noting the release of the Iraq Study Group Report.

 

Transition the Mission in Iraq

In March of 2007, Senator Feinstein released a press statement noting her support for a binding resolution that would transition the mission in Iraq.

 

Support for Time Tables

Later in March of 2007, Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor about her support for transitioning the mission in Iraq, and withdrawing the troops.

 

Iraq Accountability Act

On April 26, 2007 Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor in support of the Iraq Accountability Act and in support of transitioning the mission in Iraq to leave. 

 

Reaction to 5th Anniversary

In April of 2007, Senator Feinstein released a press statement noting the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq and her support for an exit strategy in a supplemental spending bill.

 

Reaction to Intelligence Report

In May of 2007, Senator Feinstein released a statement noting her reaction to a report on prewar intelligence in Iraq.

 

Benchmark Report

In July of 2007, Senator Feinstein released a press statement noting a report which indicated that Iraq was not meeting it's benchmarks.

 

Call for Maliki to Step Down

In August of 2007, Senator Feinstein released a statement calling for Prime Minister Maliki to step down.

 

 

GAO Report

In August of 2007, Senator Feinstein released a statement in response to a GAO report that stated that the benchmarks in Iraq are simply not being met. 

 

 

Opposition to Supplemental Spending Bill

In May of 2008, Senator Feinstein issued a press statement noting her intention to oppose the supplementatl spending bill. She refered to it as a blank check for the war in Iraq and stated that it was time to end the war.

 

Official Website Statements (2008) 

 

Troops Leaving Iraq

In December of 2011, Senator Feinstein appeared on CNN and discussed the withdraw of troops from Iraq. She notes that if the Iraqis do not want us there, then we have no right to stay.

 

Voting Record

Repealing the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq

In November of 2011, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky proposed an amendment to the yearly defense appropriations act that would have repealed the authorization for the use of force in Iraq. The amendment failed 30-67 with Democrats equally split and a vast majority of Republicans opposing the measure. Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of repealing the authorization for the use of force in Iraq.

Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of repealing the authorization for the use of force in Iraq.

Phased Redeployment

On March 15, 2007, S J Res 9 was put forth in an attempt to convince President Bush to commit to timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The bill was titled "United States Policy in Iraq Resolution of 2007 - Phased Redeployment" and called upon the President to begin the withdrawal of troops from Iraq within 120 days of the enactment of the legislation, and to have all troops out of Iraq by March 31, 2008. The bill was defeated on roll call 75, which was largely among partisan lines with 1 Republican joining the Democrats and 3 Democrats joining the rest of the Republicans. Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the phased redeployment plan.

Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the phased redeployment plan.

Approval of the Surge Strategy

The second piece of legislation was S 574, and it came up for a vote on February 17 and had two main points of emphasis : the Senate continued to support the troops already on the ground in Iraq; and the Senate disapproved of the President\'s surge strategy. The bill only got 56 of the 60 votes required for cloture. 7 Republicans voted in favor of the legislation while only 1 Democrat sided with the Republicans. 10 Senators cast a "No Vote" (9 R and 1 D). (roll call) Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the legislation by voting for cloture. This was a vote against the surge strategy in Iraq

Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the legislation by voting for cloture. This was a vote against the surge strategy in Iraq

Approval of the Surge Strategy

On January 10, 2007, President Bush announced a "surge" strategy in which 20,000 additional troops would be sent to Iraq to bolster the troops already there. In February of 2007, the US Senate voted on two bills with the purposes of expressing the Senate\'s disapproval of this strategy. S 470 was the first such piece of legislation, and it came up for a vote on the Senate floor on February 5, 2007. Along with expressing the disapproval of the Senate towards the President\'s recently announced strategy, the bill also outlined a series of strategy suggestions for the President. These suggestions included the transfer of equipment to Iraqi officials, the continuing of operations in the Anbar province, and numerous other items. The bill only got 49 of the 60 votes required for cloture. Only 2 members of each party voted with the opposing party with almost all Democrats voting to disapprove the surge and almost all Republicans voting to approve of the strategy by refusing to allow the legislation a cloture vote. (roll call 44). Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of S470 (disapproved of the surge) by voting for cloture.

Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of S470 (disapproved of the surge) by voting for cloture.

To provide for a reduction and transition of United States forces in Iraq

In September of 2007, the Senate voted on an amendment by Senator Levin to require that all troops begin to be withdrawn within 90 days. The amendment also stated that the troops remaining in Iraq would only be there for the purposes of protecting US personnel and infrastructure. Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of withdrawing the troops from Iraq.

Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of withdrawing the troops from Iraq.

Dwell Time

In September of 2007, the Senate voted on a measure to require US servicemen be stationed at home for an amount of time equal to their deployment time. The measure received a majority of votes, but not the number required to pass. Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the measure to require equal dwell time.

Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the measure to require equal dwell time.

Contract Award Overview

Later in the year, the same amendment was introduced into the Senate by Senator Dorgan. This amendment has the same purpose and failed to achieve the needed votes by a simlar margin. Dianne Feinstein voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Dianne Feinstein voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Contract Award Overview

In 2005, a series of accidents at military bases in Iraq which were built by US contractors such as Halliburton, prompted Congress to call for investigations into the awarding of contracts. There were two ammendments introduced to separate pieces of legislation to attempt to accomplish the goal of investigating the contract awards process. roll call 228 concerned the Dorgan amendment, and was the first attempt to establish a special committee on the awarding of contracts in Iraq. The amendment failed by a narrow margin in a 53-44 vote. Dianne Feinstein voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Dianne Feinstein voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Authorization for the use of Force in Iraq

On October 11, 2002 the US Senate cast the first vote concerning the war in Iraq. This vote was to authorize the use of military force against Iraq (H J Res 114). Although the vote to authorize the use of force in Afghanistan was unanimous, the vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq passed 77-23. All but 2 of the 50 Republicans supported the legilslation while 29 of the 50 Democrats voted to authorize the use of force. Dianne Feinstein voted to give the President the Authorization to use force against Iraq

Dianne Feinstein voted to give the President the Authorization to use force against Iraq

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-110; Bill Number-S J Res 9; United States Policy in Iraq Resolution of 2007 - Cosponsor

Directs the President to begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq within 120 days of enactment of this joint resolution with the goal of redeploying by March 31, 2008, all U.S. combat forces from Iraq, except for a limited number essential for protecting U.S. and coalition personnel and infrastructure, training and equipping Iraqi forces, and conducting targeted counter-terrorism operations. Requires the President to transition the U.S. forces' mission in Iraq promptly to such purposes. States that such redeployment shall be implemented as part of a diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community in order to bring stability to Iraq. Directs the President, not later than 60 days after enactment of this Act and every 90 days thereafter, to report to Congress on the progress made in such mission transition and force redeployment.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 1825; Commission on Wartime Contracting Establishment Act - Cosponsor

A bill to provide for the study and investigation of wartime contracts and contracting processes in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and for other purposes.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 2426; Congressional Oversight of Iraq Agreements Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

A bill to provide for congressional oversight of United States agreements with the Government of Iraq.

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