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Democrats Criticize Bush on Lack of Support for Action on Iraq - 2003-03-17

Key congressional Democrats are criticizing President Bush, saying he has not done enough to secure broader international support for pending military action against Iraq. Their comments came after the United States, Britain and Spain decided not to seek a vote on a proposed resolution that would have effectively authorized war to disarm Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Senator Joe Lieberman said if the world fails to come together to recognize that force is necessary to disarm Iraq, blame should fall not only on the U.N. Security Council, but also on the Bush administration.

"It will rest in part on members of the Security Council, who lost their will to enforce the resolution they approved last November, and it will result in part from the Bush administration's unilateralist divisive foreign policy, which has pushed a lot of the world away from us, and away from this just and necessary cause," he said.

Senator Lieberman is a Connecticut Democrat who is seeking his party's nomination for president next year.

Senator Carl Levin, of Michigan, ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, says the administration's decision to end diplomacy is unwise for several reasons. He argued that U.S.-led military action without broad international support could fuel more anti-American sentiment in the world and make it less likely that other nations will share the costs of rebuilding a post-war Iraq.

"How is it credible to invoke Security Council resolutions as a basis of our action, and then ignore that same Security Council if it does not agree with us on the wisdom of military action at this time, and does not give us the resolution that we want?" Mr. Levin said.

Mr. Levin criticized Bush administration officials for using what he called 'divisive rhetoric' and 'a denigrating attitude' toward other nations whose support the United States seeks. He said such rhetoric comes across as bullying and domineering, alienating U.S. allies and fueling the inflammatory propaganda of U.S. enemies.