- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 21, 2002

House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, in a speech prepared for delivery today, says the United States "must move ahead" with war plans against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
"The question is not whether to go to war, for war has already been thrust upon us," Mr. DeLay will say in an address at the Houston Forum Club. "The only choice is between victory and defeat. And let's be clear, we must choose victory, a victory that cannot be secured at the bargaining table."
The Bush administration has been debating whether to go to war with Iraq, concerned that Saddam's regime is developing nuclear weapons and continues to sponsor terrorism aimed at the United States and Israel.
But prominent Republicans such as House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Texas Republican, and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft have urged a cautious approach with Iraq. Mr. Scowcroft was adviser to President George Bush in the planning of the Gulf war in 1991.
Mr. DeLay, Texas Republican who is in line to become majority leader next year, said the United States "must favor the hard path of action over the hollow comfort of complacency."
"Despite weeks of feverish hand-wringing over the supposed missing body of evidence against the dictator ruling Iraq, the case is self-evident," Mr. DeLay says in an advance copy of the speech.
He lists Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, chemical attacks against Kurds and Iranian soldiers, the burning of oil fields in the 1991 war and Saddam's refusal to comply with U.N. weapons inspectors.
"Defeating Saddam Hussein is a defining measure of whether we will wage the war on terrorism fully and effectively," Mr. DeLay says in the prepared remarks. "Our challenge today is clear. Iraq's vile dictator is a central power in the Axis of Evil. President Bush is committed to ending the threat posed to the United States by Saddam Hussein's terror state.
"Only regime change in Iraq can remove the danger from Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Only by taking them out of his hands can we be certain that nuclear, biological or chemical weapons won't wind up in the hands of terrorists."
Bush advisers have said that while the president seeks the Iraqi dictator's removal from power, diplomatic and military actions are under consideration and no timetable has been set.
Mr. Scowcroft has said that "an attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken."
If the United States "were seen to be turning our backs" on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis "in order to go after Iraq, there would be an explosion of outrage against us," Mr. Scowcroft said.
Mr. Armey said in Iowa two weeks ago that "we Americans do not make unprovoked attacks," and that Saddam has not shown "sufficient provocation."
His spokesman later said that Mr. Armey believes Mr. Bush has yet to make the case for going to war with Iraq, and that he could be convinced of the necessity for military action.

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