- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2003

CHICAGO, Jan. 17 (UPI) — The Chicago City Council called Saddam Hussein a "tyrant," then voted 46-1 to approve a resolution opposing a unilateral U.S. military strike against Iraq.

With the vote Thursday, Chicago joined San Francisco, Detroit, Baltimore and Seattle in opposing a "pre-emptive unilateral U.S. military attack" on Iraq.

Aldermen debated the wording of the resolution, which said: "While Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who should be removed from power, both for the good of the Iraqi people and for the security of Iraq's neighboring countries, it is not at all clear that a unilateral U.S. military action would result in the installation of a free and democratic Iraqi government."

Lawmakers changed the phrase "military adventure" to "military action" and dropped the words "hastily implemented."

Alderman James Balcer, a Vietnam War veteran, cast the lone "no" vote on the resolution.

"This has been one of the toughest things for me in my career here," he told the Chicago Sun-Times. "My concern is that this man (Saddam Hussein) poses a threat to the United States."

Mayor Richard M. Daley supported the resolution but made clear it was not aimed at U.S. armed forces in the Persian Gulf or heading there.

"We all agree that the men and women who serve in the military are honorable men and women," Daley said.

The resolution, which was sent to President George W. Bush and every member of the Illinois congressional delegation, said a pre-emptive U.S. invasion of Iraq "would violate international law and our commitments under the U.N. Charter and further isolate the U.S. from the rest of the world."

Alderman Leslie Hairston said she was concerned the projected $9 billion to $13 billion a month cost of a military action "would dry up federal funding for domestic programs for a war that has yet to be justified."

A survey by the Pew Center for the People & the Press released Thursday said while two-thirds of Americans support the idea of military force to oust Saddam Hussein, some 30 percent favored military action if no evidence of an Iraqi weapons program is discovered.

Sixty-two percent of the 1,218 Americans polled Jan. 8-12 said the administration had already made a decision to go to war with Iraq. If U.N. inspectors found weapons of mass destruction, 76 percent of those surveyed said they would support using U.S. military force in Iraq.

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