Posted: 6/16/2002 8:51:58 PM EDT
[url=http://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/06/16/iraq.congress/index.html]Congressional leaders back effort to topple Hussein[/url]
June 16, 2002
Responding to questions about a Washington Post report saying President Bush had issued an executive order authorizing the CIA to use whatever means necessary to remove Hussein, [b]Sen. Richard Shelby, R.-Alabama,[/b] said, "The president's on the right track."
"How we do it, when we do it, I don't know and I'm not even sure the president knows," Shelby said on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer." "But this man needs to go." ... Shelby called Iraq "the breeding ground, the focal point for a lot of terrorism in the future."
"The sooner we have a regime change, the better off we'll all be," he said.
[b]Sen. Evan Bayh, D.-Indiana,[/b] a member of the Senate Select Intelligence committee along with Shelby, said he would endorse whatever action Bush takes against Hussein "wholeheartedly," but added that the United States would need "to develop as much diplomatic support as we can."
Republican [b]Sen. John McCain of Arizona[/b] said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that a covert operation to topple Hussein would be "fine," but added that the nation should be prepared for military action.
"I think we also ought to prepare the American public, by way of informing them, that Saddam Hussein has these weapons, continues to attempt to improve their capability, and would not be reluctant to export them to other countries," McCain said. "So he presents a clear and present danger."
It's "probably technically correct," McCain said, that Bush has no plans on his desk for war with Iraq, as the president has said.
"In all due respect ... they're probably not on his desk," McCain said. "They're probably on somebody else's desk down the hall."
"I think there is broad support for a regime change in Iraq," [b]Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota,[/b] said on "Fox News Sunday." "I think the timing of all of this is very important. But we want to work with the administration and try to find the best way and the best time to do this."
[b]House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt[/b] said on ABC's "This Week" that the House had been briefed about the order "some months ago."
"I concur in the goal of dealing with this problem, seeing that U.N. resolutions are not violated any further and that he complies with them," he said. "And if it takes a change of the government, then so be it."
Gephardt said he didn't see any conflict between sending U.S. Special Forces to capture and, if necessary, kill Hussein, and a U.S. policy against assassinating heads of state.
"I think the policy is still intact," he said. "I think in this case, it's trying to bring about a change of regime because they have continued to violate and flout U.N. resolutions and international law."
The only question now is...