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Archive for Monday, April 29, 2002

Senators urge slow approach to Iraq attack

April 29, 2002

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— Senate leaders said Sunday there is broad support for toppling Saddam Hussein but that it is too early to take military action against Iraq.

"We've got to win the war on terror, we've got to stabilize Afghanistan. We have to do all that we can to ensure that we succeed there before we take on another mission," Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said.

A senior Bush administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said any attack on Iraq probably would wait until next year, but that President Bush has yet to sign off on the time, scope or manner of such a campaign.

Daschle, D-S.D., said on ABC's "This Week" that there is "strong bipartisan support" and "probably world support" for ousting Saddam.

Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said that the United States needs to first bolster opposition to Saddam among Iraqis inside and outside that country. "There's a lot more we could be doing," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

The New York Times reported Sunday that the administration is developing plans for a major air and ground war that would involve 70,000 to 250,000 troops.

Private analysts have said that at least 100,000 troops might be needed to attack Saddam, who could shield his troops among civilians and retaliate against U.S. forces with chemical weapons.

The newspaper said the administration has decided that a coup probably would not succeed and that a proxy battle using local Iraqi forces which was the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan would not bring down Saddam.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, who has been in Mideast peace talks with U.S. officials for several days, was asked about the Times story at a news conference in Houston. What he has heard from the Bush administration is, "There was no plan for that," al-Faisal said.

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