During today’s hearing, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-VA) said that Congress may have to pass a new resolution authorizing the continuing use of U.S. military force in Iraq if a civil war breaks out in that country:
I think we have to examine very carefully what Congress authorized the president to do in the context of a situation if we’re faced with an all-out civil war, and whether we have to come back to the Congress to get further indication of support.
Congressional Quarterly (sub. req’d) adds, “If a civil war erupts between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in Iraq, he said, U.S. forces may be ill-trained to handle it and Congress might have to reconsider and potentially approve a new mission for the U.S. military.”
WARNER: What is the mission of the United States if, under that resolution, that situation erupts into a civil war? What are the missions of our forces?
PACE: Sir, I believe we do have the possibility of that devolving to a civil war, but that does not have to be a fact. I believe that U.S. Armed Forces today can continue to do what we’re doing, which is to provide enough security inside of Iraq for the Iraqi government to provide governance and economic opportunity for their citizens. The weight of that opportunity rests with the Iraqi people. We can provide support. We can help provide security. But they must now decide about their sectarian violence. Shia and Sunni are going to have to love their children more than they hate each other. If they do that, and seize the opportunity that the international community has provided to them, then this will be what we wanted to be which is a success for ourselves and the Iraqi people. But the weight of that shift must be on the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government.
WARNER: I think we have to examine very carefully what Congress authorized the president to do in the context of the situation if we are faced with an all-out civil war. And whether have to come back to congress to get further indication of support.