- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 6, 2003

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's speech to the United Nations yesterday won nearly unanimous praise on Capitol Hill, but didn't change many minds.
The speech was further proof for those convinced Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is in material breach of U.N. resolutions. Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Mr. Powell presented "absolute proof of evasion and deception by the Iraqi government," while Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, said after the speech that the United Nations has "days not months" to disarm Saddam.
"The United States is a patient nation, but there's a limit to that patience. And time is running out for this rogue leader," Mr. Frist said.
But Mr. Powell's speech didn't sway those who still want more time for inspections. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said the case for war still has not been made.
"Before going to war, we must exhaust all alternatives, such as the continuation of inspections, diplomacy and the leverage provided by the threat of military action," she said.
And Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat, said Mr. Powell's presentation was a good "political speech."
"He threw all the evidence he could against the wall to see what would stick," Mr. McDermott said. "[Chief U.N. weapons inspector] Hans Blix last night had already discounted at least four of the things he put up there, on the basis of leaks of the speech."
"I believe it's good they've come forward with the information. They should have done it a long time ago. Give it to the inspectors and let the inspectors go out and decide," Mr. McDermott said.
Still, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said that "there is a material breach, and it is difficult to argue there has not been."
All four Democratic legislators who have announced they are seeking the party's nomination for president weighed in yesterday, praising Mr. Powell's speech.
Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri said Iraq is in "material breach" and said he hopes the administration will "work with our allies during the upcoming weeks on how best to resolve this matter in the interest of our mutual security."
The others were even stronger in their call for the U.N. Security Council to get behind the U.S. ultimatum.
"This is a real challenge for the Security Council to act. Saddam Hussein is on notice," said Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat.
Said Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts: "With such strong evidence in front of them, it is now incumbent on the U.N. to respect its own mandates and stand up for our common goal of either bringing about Iraq's peaceful disarmament or moving forward with the decisive military victory of a multilateral coalition."
Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman said the burden is on both the United Nations and Senate members who voted in October to authorize the use of force to disarm Iraq to stand behind those commitments.
"It is time for Congress to stand firmly behind our own resolutions on Iraq," he said.
Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, the lone Republican senator to vote against the October resolution, said the presentation is "more evidence for the Security Council to work with."
"The stricter inspections are just starting to work. I think there's going to be a chance to continue to allow them to work," he said.
Meanwhile, two House members have introduced a resolution that would cancel last fall's resolution authorizing the president to use force to disarm Iraq. Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, and Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, Oregon Democrat, are the chief sponsors. Both congressmen voted against the original resolution in October.

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