February 5, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Statement by Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Howard Dean in response to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s comments today before the U.N. Security Council:

“While I have the utmost respect for Secretary of State Colin Powell, I heard little today in his comments before the U.N. Security Council that makes the President’s case for war strong enough to establish a new doctrine of preemption, or strong enough for going to war unilaterally.

“The Secretary of State made a compelling case for what the American people already know. Saddam Hussein is a deceitful tyrant who must be disarmed.

“But I heard little today that leads me to believe that there is an imminent threat warranting unilateral military action by the United States against Iraq.

“Terrorism around the globe is a far greater danger to the United States than Iraq. We are pursuing the wrong war. While Secretary Powell discussed the previously known fact that elements of Al Qaeda have been present in Iraq, he did not offer compelling evidence that there is a current operational link between the two.

“Despite the Secretary of State’s comments today, we continue to have more questions than answers in this debate about sending U.S. troops into harm’s way.

“This is the gravest decision any President will make: Whether to send our sons and daughters into battle to risk their lives for freedom.

“Neither the President in his speech before Congress nor Secretary of State Colin Powell today before the Security Council has made a case for immediate, unilateral military action.


February 5, 2003

WASHINGTON–Senator John Edwards on Wednesday said Secretary of State Colin L. Powell made a powerful case before the United Nations that Saddam Hussein violated a Security Council resolution on Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction.

"I have long argued that Saddam Hussein is a grave threat and that he must be disarmed. Iraq's behavior during the past few months has done nothing to change my mind," Senator Edwards said.

"Secretary of State Powell made a powerful case. This is a real challenge for the Security Council to act. Saddam Hussein is on notice," he added.

February 5, 2003

Washington, D.C. -"I believe Secretary Powell made a compelling case that Iraq is concealing its weapons of mass destruction and is in material breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1441.

"I hope today's presentation will strengthen our alliance with other nations about the course of action ahead. I encourage the administration to work with our allies during the upcoming weeks on how best to resolve this matter in the interest of our mutual security."

February 5, 2003

Washington, DC – Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) issued today the following statement regarding Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation of evidence to the United Nations:

"I am gratified the Administration finally came to the United Nations and made its case to the world. I've said that the hard diplomatic work and the work of educating America and the world were too long in coming. The road could have been easier had we chosen a mutilateral strategy from the beginning, but nonetheless I am glad we've reached this moment in our diplomacy.

In his speech to the, Secretary Powell made a compelling case, providing strong evidence, including human intelligence, satellite photography, and electronic intercepts that will only serve to strengthen our hand should military action be required to force Saddam Hussein to disarm. As I’ve said previously, convincing evidence of Saddam Hussein’s
possession of weapons of mass destruction should trigger, I believe, a final ultimatum from the United Nations for full, complete, immediate disarmament of those weapons by Iraq. Over the next hours, I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to fully examine the evidence offered by the Secretary for a complete and closer reading but, on it’s face, the evidence against Saddam Hussein appears real and compelling.

With such strong evidence in front of them, it is now incumbent on the U.N. to respect its own mandates, and stand up for our common goal of either bringing about Iraq’s peaceful disarmament or moving forward with the decisive military victory of a multilateral coalition. If Saddam Hussein does not disarm he will have chosen to make regime change the ultimate weapons enforcement mechanism. It is also incumbent on the Bush Administration to maximize international support so as many countries as possible share in the burden and costs of actions to come, and that the Administration makes clear its plans to deal with the aftermath of a post-Saddam Iraq and for continued efforts in the war against terrorism."


February 5, 2003

Lieberman Praises Powell's Statement As "Compelling, Convincing, and Chilling Case" Against Iraq

WASHINGTON - Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) today issued the following response to Secretary of State Colin Powell's statement to the United Nations regarding the continuing security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's leadership of Iraq:

I believe Secretary Powell's presentation to the United Nations this morning put forward a compelling, convincing, and chilling case that Iraq is not complying with the U.N.'s resolutions. Though I had already seen much but not all of what Secretary Powell said today in classified briefings, taken together, the case against Saddam grows stronger and stronger.

Secretary Powell presented evidence that Iraq is moving equipment from suspicious sites before inspectors arrive... coordinating the "evacuation" of forbidden ammunition -- threatening scientists to prevent their cooperation... and replacing key personnel with Iraqi intelligence officials. As Secretary Powell said, this is not just a lack of cooperation. It's a deliberate plan to prevent the inspectors from doing their work. According to the United Nations Resolution 1441, that unequivocally constitutes a material breach.

Further, Secretary Powell presented-in specific and harrowing detail-facts on the chemical and biological weapons and delivery systems that Saddam Hussein has developed and failed to destroy.

Will this convince the American people and our allies to confront Saddam? It should, and I believe it will. There is no doubt in my mind that Iraq is systematically trying to thwart the inspectors, conceal information, and mislead the world. The question is how long we will wait while this deception, which has gone on for 12 years now, continues unabated.

Thousands of years ago, the Greeks taught, "What you cannot enforce, do not command." The contemporary corollary of that axiom is: what the world through the United Nations, commands, it must enforce-or the judgments of the U.N. and the indispensable leadership of the United States will lose their force, and the world will grow much less secure.

It is time for the world to restate its resolve. It is time for the United Nations to prove that its resolutions are worth more than the paper they are printed on. And it is time for Congress to stand firmly behind our own resolutions on Iraq.

Patience is a virtue. But too much patience with dangerous lawlessness is a vice. For 12 years, the world has demonstrated remarkable patience in dealing with Saddam Hussein's regime-a regime that has an enormous appetite for terrible weapons, an unparalleled willingness to use those weapons, and an unalterable penchant for lying about it. We have tried political isolation. Economic sanctions. U.N. inspections. And limited military strikes. Nothing has changed the ways of Saddam Hussein.
I have argued for more action against Saddam Hussein since 1991. And in 1998, when Saddam Hussein ejected the U.N. inspectors, I joined with Senators John McCain, Bob Kerrey, Trent Lott, and others to introduce the Iraqi Liberation Act, which made clear that containment of Saddam Hussein was no longer enough to protect America's security or world security. Instead, it said, we needed to assist the Iraqis in changing their regime and ending Saddam Hussein's brutal rule. That bill passed. It has been the law of our land for five years now.

In September and October of last year, we had many long days of debate about Iraq. Informed debate. Passionate debate. And at the conclusion, 77 Senators approved a strong and clear resolution that authorized the President to use force if necessary to disarm Saddam. Our resolution required the President to go to the United Nations first and challenge the Security Council to bring Saddam into compliance. And it required the President to report to Congress if and when he determined that peaceful means to protect the security of the United States and enforce relevant United Nations resolutions had been exhausted, and that military action was necessary. With this Resolution, we in Congress fulfilled our Constitutional responsibility to authorize military action, and we did so responsibly and faithfully.

In my view, the case against Saddam is clear, and it is compelling. The time for containment has passed. The time for patience with Saddam's deceit in the face of Saddam's danger is over. The American military is a sword. A sword without a sheath is dangerous. We all know that. But a sword locked in its sheath is useless, and that also can be dangerous-because there are times when only the sword can protect our security and our liberty. We are rapidly approaching such a time with Saddam Hussein.

The Prime Ministers of Spain, Portugal, Italy, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, and the Czech Republic released a statement last week. "The combination of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism is a threat of incalculable consequences," they wrote. "...Resolution 1441 is Saddam Hussein's last chance to disarm using peaceful means. The opportunity to avoid greater confrontation rests with him."

It does, indeed. And the responsibility to confront his evasions rests with us.