Daschle Says Bush Failed Diplomatically on Iraq
ABCNews.com | Reuters
Thursday 6 March 2003
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said on Thursday an invasion of Iraq now would be premature and that the Bush administration has failed diplomatically to build international support for war to oust Saddam Hussein.
In some of his harshest criticism of President Bush's handling of Iraq, Daschle of South Dakota told reporters he and fellow Democrats feel the administration is "rushing to war without an adequate concern for the ramifications of doing so unilaterally, or with a very small coalition."
Daschle, who on Wednesday attended a White House briefing with Bush on Iraq war plans, said he believes "military invasion today would be premature. My preference would be that we not concede failure diplomatically. I just fail to concede that war is inevitable."
U.S. and British war planes have more than doubled their patrols over Iraqi "no-fly zones" in the latest sign of a looming invasion.
While Democrats are divided on whether war is necessary to topple Saddam, Daschle said "there is virtual unanimity" that the administration has "failed diplomatically."
Daschle voted in October for the congressional resolution authorizing a possible attack on Iraq. But he said the "extraordinary disintegration of support in the international community" since then has changed the situation.
"If anything, the situation has put us in a more isolated position than I ever anticipated," he said. "I think it is a significant risk, a major problem for the United States if we do it alone."
He said he would support war if that was the only available option, but "I strongly believe we have not yet reached that point."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who voted against the war powers resolution in October, said she believed the case "has not been made" for war.
"It has not been made to the American people," she said. "It has not been made to the world community. It has not been made to the (U.N.) Security Council."
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