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The World | DEBATE ON IRAQ

For and Against Bush Resolution

October 10, 2002

Excerpts from Wednesday's debate in the House and Senate on whether to grant President Bush authority to use force against Iraq:

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.):

"I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region.... The administration may not be in the habit of building coalitions, but that's what they need to do and it's what can be done. If we go it alone without reason, we risk inflaming an entire region and breeding a new generation of terrorists, a new cadre of anti-American zealots--and we will be less secure, not more secure, at the end of the day, even with Saddam Hussein disarmed."

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Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.):

"I cannot support the resolution for the use of force before us.... I agree that Saddam Hussein is exceptionally dangerous.... We retain and will always retain the right of self-defense, including, of course, self-defense against weapons of mass destruction. When such a threat requiring self-defense would present itself--and I am skeptical that that is exactly what we're dealing with here--then we can, if necessary, act alone, including militarily.... I am concerned that the president is pushing us into a mistaken and counterproductive course of action. Instead of this war being crucial on the war on terrorism, I fear it could have the opposite effect."

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Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.):

"The resolution now before the Senate goes well beyond what the president said on Monday about working through the United Nations. It would permit the administration to take precipitous, unilateral action without following through at the U.N..... I can count votes, and I can see that the Senate will pass this resolution and give the president the authority to send U.S. troops to Iraq, if he chooses. But before he takes that step, I hope he will consider the questions that have been asked here. I hope he will consider the concerns raised by former generals, senior diplomats and intelligence officers in testimony before Congress. Above all, I hope that he will listen to the American people, who are urging him to proceed cautiously and to not act alone."

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Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa):

"A decade ago, I opposed war with Iraq because I felt we had not exhausted all the other alternatives available to us. Today, I support this resolution because we have exhausted other remedies. After years of evasion and defiance, the time has come to stand firm and enforce the resolutions to disarm Iraq."

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Rep. Pete Stark (D-Hayward):

"I am deeply troubled that lives may be lost without a meaningful attempt to bring Iraq into compliance with U.N. resolutions through careful and cautious diplomacy.... Make no mistake, we are voting on a resolution that grants total authority to the president, who wants to invade a sovereign nation without any specific act of provocation. This would authorize the United States to act as the aggressor for the first time in our history."

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Rep. Randy Cunningham (R-San Diego):

"Imagine New York, Chicago or Los Angeles like Nagasaki or Hiroshima.... Imagine millions of Americans dying with ebola, smallpox, anthrax or even nerve gas.... As a member of the Committee on Intelligence, I would say it is highly probable if we wait and do nothing."

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Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley):

"Sept. 11 has tragically taught us the price of not acting when faced with a clear and present danger. And there should be no doubt that, today, we face a clear and present danger in the form of weapons of mass destruction in the possession of Saddam Hussein. We know after the 1991 liberation of Kuwait, Iraq unequivocally agreed to eliminate its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs and agreed to allow international weapons inspectors to ensure that be accomplished. But as we all know, Iraq has willfully, and in direct violation of its own agreements and those of the U.N. Security Council, thwarted over and over again the efforts of the inspectors to find and destroy those weapons. This can only mean one thing: Saddam intends to hold on to these weapons and use them at the appropriate time and in the manner he deems necessary."

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