- The Washington Times - Monday, September 23, 2002

A key lawmaker said yesterday he expects that, in the aftermath of Iraq's latest defiance of U.N. resolutions, both Congress and the United Nations will authorize military action against Saddam Hussein, and several top congressmen predicted there will be war.
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and a member of the Armed Services Committee, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Congress will "overwhelmingly" support President Bush's resolution giving him broad powers to pursue military action against Baghdad.
The resolution, sent to Congress on Thursday, would authorize the president "to use all means that he determines to be appropriate, including force, in order to enforce the United Nations Security Council resolutions defend the national security interests of the United States against a threat posed by Iraq and restore international peace and security in the region."
Mr. McCain said he also expects the U.N. Security Council will pass new resolutions sought by Mr. Bush that would threaten military action against Iraq if Baghdad does not give up chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
On CNN's "Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer," Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said: "Saddam is going to yield [to the dictates of new U.N. resolutions]. If he doesn't, there will be war."
He added on CBS' "Face the Nation" that Congress is "ready to support the president" and authorize force against Saddam.
In an announcement Saturday, Iraq's state-run radio said it would not accept "bad new resolutions" that are contradictory to an agreement it signed with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in February 1998 that denied U.N. arms inspectors access to some sites. Earlier last week, Saddam had said he would allow inspectors to return without conditions.
Mr. McCain, Republican Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and other lawmakers on yesterday's political talk shows said Saddam's announcement that he will defy unfavorable new U.N. resolutions is consistent with his 11-year record of defying the world body and should not be tolerated.
"First, there were going to be free and unfettered inspections, and then yesterday, the statement was, it's only the old resolution," Mr. McCain said on NBC.
"It would have to be a new resolution with absolutely intrusive, completely carte blanche inspections, including no presidential palaces that would be off-limits, or anything else," Mr. McCain said. "It would have to be an inspections regime that would have to be almost unprecedented in its severity, because of the severity of his violations" of 16 U.N. resolutions imposed on Iraq since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, interviewed on ABC's "This Week," also bemoaned Saddam's latest flip-flop on inspections. He said Saddam now wants conditions for inspections he agreed to four years ago, "which were totally ineffective."
But Iraq yesterday said its decision to reject any new U.N. resolutions does not constitute defiance.
"We believe it's not defiance. It's logical, and all the Security Council members except for the American administration, Britain and their likes say so," Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan told Reuters. "I think the majority of the Security Council members see no need for new resolutions as there is no justification" for them.
Most lawmakers on yesterday's talk shows expressed confidence Congress will support the president on Iraq. But few were willing to predict what the United Nations will do.
Mr. Shelby, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that while he believed "the Bush resolution is going to pass the Senate and the House by overwhelming numbers" he said: "What will happen in the U.N.? I don't know."
A congressional authorization of force "could drive the U.N.," Mr. Shelby said. "But we're going to find out who our friends are in the world in the next few months."
Both he and Mr. McCain said they expect there will be war against Iraq in a matter of a few months.
"I believe we will, unless [Saddam] does a total 180-degree turn," Mr. Shelby said.
Mr. McCain, when asked whether he thought a war was likely, said "I do. I believe we will for a broad variety of reasons including the fact that [Saddam] is a clear and present danger to the United States."
Mr. Biden, in interviews on CNN and CBS' "Face the Nation," said he believes the likelihood of war hinges on what happens at the United Nations.
"We may have to go it alone," he said on "Late Edition," but added he doubts that will be the case.
Some Democrats, such as Sen. Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, object to the language in the resolution Mr. Bush sent to Congress because it authorizes the president to "restore international peace and security in the region."
The critics fear this could let Mr. Bush or future presidents invade other countries in the Middle East, such as Iran and Syria.
Rep. Henry J. Hyde, Illinois Republican and chairman of the House International Relations Committee, called such a scenario far-fetched.
"I know there are some people who are concerned about maintaining peace and security in the region. They think that's a license to attack Syria or some other far-fetched idea. I think not. I think it's designed solely for Iraq and directed to Iraq," he said on CNN.
But Mr. Biden, also on CNN, said, "I predict that won't be the language."
He said the administration has "made it clear to me" that this was just a draft resolution. "I take them at their word that they're only focusing on Iraq," he said, but added the administration understands the concern about the language.
"We can clean this up in a way that we don't set any precedents for future presidents and meet every need the administration has. I think we can easily do that."

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