- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 19, 2003

The United States will receive little help in Iraq from other countries, despite a U.N. resolution supporting U.S. efforts there, Republicans said yesterday.

“It’s not intellectually honest to make an argument that somehow the United States doesn’t have to carry the burden here,” said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

“Everybody here who thinks that the French are going to contribute money and troops, raise their hands, please,” Mr. McCain told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The U.N. Security Council Thursday unanimously authorized U.S. rule in Iraq, but many countries — including Russia, France, Germany and Pakistan — said they would not increase monetary or troop commitments.

“The fact is that we will, over time, get some international support. But as always the case in these kinds of crises, the United States of America is going to have to carry the load,” Mr. McCain said.

However, Sen. Bob Graham, Florida Democrat, told NBC that if the United States was “willing to share responsibility with other countries,” those countries in turn ultimately would commit troops and finances.

“I hope that we could get as many as 100,000-plus non-U.S. troops in Iraq to both increase the numbers to the level necessary to secure Iraq and, second, provide some relief for the U.S. troops who’ve been there a long, long time under very dangerous circumstances,” Mr. Graham said.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Texas Republican, told CNN’s “Late Edition” he was not impressed with the U.N. resolution and that “it really doesn’t matter.”

“Their resolutions don’t put people in the street creating a more safe and peaceful environment. Their resolutions don’t pay for the expense of that. And will their resolutions, in the final analysis, do anything to make it possible for our young men and women to complete their mission, be safe and come on home?” Mr. Armey asked.

The House and Senate Friday passed conflicting versions of President Bush’s request for $87 billion for Iraq reconstruction and the war on terror. The House approved part of the money as a grant, backed by the Bush administration, while the Senate approved part of it as a loan.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican and assistant majority leader, was pushing the administration’s proposal and said the House “did the right thing.” He said he was optimistic that the Senate eventually would agree to a grant.

At a conference in Madrid next week, the United States will appeal to other countries to help pay the soaring costs of rebuilding Iraq.

“We can’t go to the donor conference in Madrid next week and ask countries around the world to contribute in the form of grants if we have just decided to send a bill to Iraq, thereby encumbering their oil, which is their only resource to pay us back in the future. That’s not the message we want to send,” Mr. McConnell said.

Added Mr. McCain: “There is a huge amount at stake here. We can and we must prevail.”

Mr. Graham said the growth of spending in Iraq and the daily death rate have “the fingerprints of another Vietnam.”

Mr. McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five years, rejected Mr. Graham’s comparison.

“Comparisons with Vietnam are grossly overdrawn,” Mr. McCain said. “We were having hundreds of casualties a week in Vietnam over long periods of conflict. It just is not applicable at this time.

“But we cannot continue to experience casualties, and that’s why the reconstruction has to move forward. If you cut off the money to reconstruct Iraq, or announce that we’re going to pull out, then of course, things would descend into a quagmire,” Mr. McCain said.

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