- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2002

Several prominent Democrats came out firing at Iraq yesterday and urged President Bush to get tough with Saddam Hussein.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut called the inventory of arms the Iraqi government submitted on Saturday "a 12,000-page, 100-pound lie."
Based on the intelligence that he and others have, Mr. Lieberman said in a television interview yesterday on "Fox News Sunday" that U.S. military action is justified.
"If we conclude that what Iraq gave us yesterday is not the truth, then it is a material breach [of U.N. resolutions]," he said. "And under the United Nations Security Council resolution, that would bring on serious consequences."
Asked whether this would justify U.S. military force, Mr. Lieberman replied: "It would. America, unlike Saddam Hussein, plays by the rules."
Mr. Lieberman said Iraq's denial of having weapons of mass destruction contradicts intelligence reports he has seen, as well as statements made by Mr. Bush, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The senator noted that Iraq "told the United Nations during the 1990s, when [arms] inspectors were there, that they had chemical and biological" weapons.
He said that such agents are "deadly in the hands of Saddam, who is a mass murderer."
Mr. Lieberman cautioned against delay if it can be shown that Saddam is lying. "The longer we wait, the more likely it is Saddam will take military action against one of his neighbors, or perhaps us."
Sen. Bob Graham, Florida Democrat and outgoing chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, told CBS interviewers: "We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
Mr. Graham said he's seen "enough evidence to be satisfied" that Saddam has continued efforts to "re-establish and enhance" Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons since the 1991 Persian Gulf war. That's been especially true since 1998, when U.N. weapons inspectors were kicked out, he said.
"It shouldn't be a leisurely stroll through this information," he said. "We should be moving as expeditiously as we can. And while we're engaged in that, we should be running to decapitate other terrorist groups, including those with cells in this country."
Republicans as well as Democrats, appearing on several Sunday television interview programs, said they do not believe Iraq's claim that it has no weapons of mass destruction, and all displayed something akin to bipartisan hawkishness.
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat and outgoing chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican and a member of that panel, returned from meeting with Kurds in northern Iraq and are en route to Saudi Arabia. They were interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Mr. Biden said everyone he has talked to believes war is inevitable. "And, I think, it matters very much to them how the president arrives at that point. And if he continues the way he's going [with U.N. involvement], I believe he'll get support that will surprise a lot of people."
Mr. Hagel predicted that even Islamic and Arab states will fall in line. "I believe we will have most of the Arab nations with us if we continue along the responsible track of the United Nations Security Council."
Mr. Biden added: "There's no doubt about the prospect of our prevailing. We will prevail."
Al Gore, the former vice president and 2000 Democratic presidential nominee who is considering another run for the White House, dismissed Iraq's assertions that it has no weapons of mass destruction. He was interviewed yesterday on ABC's "This Week." He, too, scoffed at the Iraqi report delivered to the United Nations on Saturday. "All their other declarations turned out to be flawed."
But, he said, "having invested in this [U.N.] process, we've got to see it through to a conclusion. The whole legitimacy of that process and our role in the United Nations are at stake."
Given that the Bush administration has changed the goal of its Iraq operation from regime change to disarmament, Mr. Gore said, if U.N. weapons inspectors "find a location" in Iraq "where they know there are weapons of mass destruction, we would be totally justified in going in and destroying those weapons."
"And I would advocate that whether the United Nations votes to do it or not," he said.
Mr. Biden said he thinks Mr. Bush will not go forward in a war with Iraq without the support of the U.N. Security Council. He declined to say whether he would support the president if Mr. Bush decides the United States and Britain must go it alone.
He predicted a long stay in Iraq if there is war. "Every single party, from our European friends to Kurds to Jordanians to the folks in Qatar, everyone across the board understands that if we use military action, we are locked in Iraq for a substantial period of time."
A considerable expenditure of effort, money and time will be required to maintain order and "keep it in one solid piece," Mr. Biden said. "I don't think our fellow Americans fully understand that part of the equation."

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