December 6, 2001
evening, nine leading members of Congress sent a letter to President Bush
calling for Saddam Husseins removal from power. As they note, Saddam
cannot be permanently contained. As long as he is in power,
he will seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction....We have not
doubt that these deadly weapons are intended for use against the United
States and its allies.
In recent weeks, the president had made it clear that the war on terrorism is made even more urgent by the fact that terrorist states such as Iraq are actively developing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The nexus of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction makes the removal of Saddam key to success in the overall war on terrorism, and a matter of considerable urgency. This letter should reassure the Bush Administration that there will be bipartisan politcal support for the president when he moves on to the next crucial phase of the war.
Letter on Iraq
December 5, 2001
of September 11 have highlighted the vulnerability of the United States
to determined terrorists. As we work to clean up Afghanistan and destroy
al Qaeda, it is imperative that we plan to eliminate the threat from Iraq.
December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last visited
Iraq. There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated
his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear
programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf war status. In addition,
Saddam continues to refine delivery systems and is doubtless using the
cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that
will threaten the United States and our allies.
of the last year, the Administration has struggled to plug loopholes in
the international sanctions against Iraq. Unfortunately, efforts to coopt
Saddams illegal trading partners -- particularly Syria -- have failed.
In the meantime, the illegal oil trade from Iraq has flourished, and Saddam
now earns an estimated $2 billion annually, much of which he has devoted
to his military and his illegal weapons programs.
have learned one thing from the ongoing battle in Afghanistan, it is that
working effectively in coordination with locals on the ground can significantly
leverage our own use of military force. While we have no doubt that in
the long run, the United States will always prevail in battle with the
likes of the Taliban (not to speak of Saddam Hussein), we also know that
we can minimize casualties and shorten conflict by cooperating with opposition
forces. That has been a key element of US strategy for several decades.
the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act three years ago, we have fought
to provide support for Iraqis inside Iraq. The Iraqi National Congress
(INC), an umbrella group of all the significant anti?Saddam forces inside
Iraq, has consistently requested Administration assistance for operations
on the ground in Iraq ranging from the delivery of humanitarian assistance
and information-gathering to military and technical training and lethal
the express wishes of the Congress, the INC has been denied U.S. assistance
for any operations inside any part of Iraq, including liberated Kurdish
areas. Instead, successive Administrations have funded conferences, offices
and other intellectual exercises that have done little more than expose
the INC to accusations of being limousine insurgents and armchair
guerillas. We note the troubling similarity of these accusation
to charges made against the Afghan guerillas now helping us win the war
against the Taliban.
from Iraq is real, and it cannot be permanently contained. For as long
as Saddam Hussein is in power in Baghdad, he will seek to acquire weapons
of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. We have no doubt that
these deadly weapons are intended for use against the United States and
its allies. Consequently, we believe we must directly confront Saddam,
sooner rather than later. Without allies on the ground inside Iraq, we
will be handicapping our own efforts. Each day that passes costs us an
opportunity to unite and professionalize the Iraqi opposition, thus ensuring
it will be less capable when the conflict begins.
all indications are that in the interest of our own national security,
Saddam Hussein must be removed from power. Let us maximize the likelihood
of a rapid victory by beginning immediately to assist the Iraqi opposition
on the ground inside Iraq by providing them money and assistance already
authorized and appropriated.
We look forward to working with you on this most important matter.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman
Sen. John McCain
Sen. Richard Shelby
Sen. Sam Brownback
Rep. Henry Hyde Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. Rep. Benjamin Gilman