- The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2002

A key Senate Democrat said yesterday that she's disturbed by President Bush's call for "pre-emptive military strikes" against nations or groups that threaten this country.
"I think this is a predicate for an attack on Iraq, and I'm very concerned about it," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
"I think it would be a terrible mistake for the United States unilaterally to attack Iraq and to do so without any congressional authorization," she said yesterday on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."
Mrs. Feinstein was responding to remarks by Mr. Bush Saturday in a commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., when he said "unbalanced dictators" must be stopped before they develop weapons of mass destruction or provide them to terrorist groups.
The president said the United States must "take the battle to the enemy, disrupt its plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge."
On CNN, Mrs. Feinstein said such a move would go beyond the authority Congress granted Mr. Bush after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"The authorization we gave the president with respect to 9/11 was precisely crafted to connect the use of force with those who either perpetrated or were connected to 9/11. Iraq was not. And, therefore, I think a pre-emptive attack without full debate in the Congress would be a terrible mistake," she added.
Mrs. Feinstein added that the "whole Muslim Middle East" will turn against the United States if it attacks Iraq and "leaves unsettled the Israeli-Palestinian crisis."
"We don't need this because we haven't won our own war yet in Afghanistan or in other places," she said.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican, who also appeared on "Late Edition," was more sympathetic to the president's remarks. But she said she does "not think the president was specifically referring to Iraq."
"I think it is time for us to seriously look at a congressional mandate in a war on terrorism," she said. "I think we are in the process of making the case with Iraq."

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