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UN Official Warns Against Use of Force Against Iraq - 2002-08-25


The national debate on Iraq continues to dominate the news interview programs that air every Sunday on U.S. television networks. A congressional leader predicts that if the Bush administration takes military action against Saddam Hussein, Iraqi troops would respond by defecting in large numbers.

Texas Republican Tom DeLay is leading the call in congress for swift military action.

He is one of the most powerful members of the legislature, and just a few days ago delivered a forceful speech calling for immediate action against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Congressman DeLay carried on that theme during an appearance on the Fox News Sunday program, saying Saddam Hussein is evil and needs to be removed. He said President Bush is consulting with lawmakers and will ask for congressional support once a decision is made.

Mr. DeLay was then asked if the president should seek U.N. approval before resorting to military force, an idea put forward by former Secretary of State James Baker in a column he wrote for The New York Times.

"I do not agree with that at all," he said. "I think the president certainly needs the support of the American people. Congress speaks for the American people."

Congressman DeLay left no doubt he hopes the president will go with the military option. He acknowledged war is dangerous and there will be American casualties. But he also predicted that Saddam Hussein's army will give up the fight quickly.

"I have every expectation that you will see huge surrenders of troops, including his most elite troops, as soon as we start moving," he said.

Another view was heard a short time later on NBC's Meet the Press. Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix warned against the use of force, saying inspectors should be given every chance to do their job first and determine if Iraq is developing or acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

"I think that inspection is an avenue that is important. It does not give a 100 percent certainty, but one must compare that solution and that approach to other solutions and see what are the advantages and drawbacks," he said. "And war certainly also has a drawback."

Mr. Blix was asked if the inspectors feel they need another Security Council resolution to increase pressure on Iraq. He said they do not believe any more resolutions regarding inspections are necessary, adding the problem is Iraqi compliance with resolutions already in effect.

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