Former Bush adviser Karl Rove is making the rounds to promote his new book Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight. He landed on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, interviewed by Tom Brokaw. Brokaw asked him about his book's discussion of the Iraq War:
BROKAW: And in it, you acknowledge when weapons of mass destruction were not found, everyone was startled and not very happy about that. If that had been the case before war began, you couldn't have gotten congressional authorization.
ROVE: Nor in all likelihood U.N. approval, as we had as well.
BROKAW: Would you have launched the war if you had known there were weapons of mass destruction?
ROVE: Well, as I say in the book, we would not have had either the authorization from Congress nor the U.N., and we probably would have found other ways to constrain his behavior.
There was no U.N. approval for the Iraq War.
The White House always argued that U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 gave them legal cover for the war, but it did not -- it warned of "serious consequences" if Iraq failed to disarm.
As the U.N. weapons inspectors were reporting back from Iraq, the White House was seeking a second Security Council vote that would have officially sanctioned military action. That effort was unsuccessful, and the U.S./U.K. attack began without that Security Council approval.
This is not ancient history, nor is particularly obscure; coverage of Iraq and the U.N. weapons inspections in early 2003 was fairly intense, and Brokaw's NBC newscast aired several reports on the U.S. efforts to win U.N. support for a war resolution. (Brokaw himself on March 10, 2003, for example: "Tonight, the French vowed to veto any U.S. war resolution at the U.N., while Secretary of State Powell continued to look for votes and a plan that would allow the United States to go to war with some kind of U.N. approval.")
Rove undoubtedly knows this history, too. What he's counting on is that journalists like Brokaw will either not remember these facts, or will be too polite to bring them up.