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Biden: US Will Likely Go to War with Iraq - 2002-08-04

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden says he believes the United States will probably go to war with Iraq and that President George W. Bush should start making the case for military action now.

Senator Biden says he can not predict a timetable, but war appears to be likely. "I believe there probably will be a war with Iraq," he said. "The only question is, is it alone, is it with others and how long and how costly will it be."

The Delaware Democrat recently chaired two days of hearings on Iraq. During an appearance on NBC television's Meet the Press he said President Bush must seek support from Congress, the American public and U.S. allies.

"This is a tough judgment call," he said. "But the case has not been made in earnest. Think what happened after September 11. The president did not go off half-cocked and just go ahead and invade Afghanistan. He set out the bill of particulars. He went around to every capital in the world, basically, with his people and he laid out what we had. He made his case. The case [against Iraq] has not been made yet."

Speaking on ABC's This Week, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said Congress must have a say in any decision to launch military action against Iraq.

"The hearings demonstrated there are a lot of outstanding questions that have to be asked," he said. "Do we have the support of our allies? Do we have an appropriate plan for what happens once the regime change takes place?"

Senator Biden said another big question is not just whether Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction, but if it has the means to deliver them effectively. He rejected the latest offer from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to hold talks on conditions surrounding the return of weapons inspectors.

"I think it is important we push for real inspections, set down a marker that is a non-compromising marker that we have full access even if the only result is he rejects it," he said.

Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix turned down the Iraqi invitations for talks in an interview that appeared in the London-based Arabic language newspaper al-Hayat.