There have been questions raised about the nature and urgency of Iraq's threat, our response to that threat, and against whom, exactly that threat is directed. What is the best course of action that the U.S. could take to address the threat? What are the economic, political, and national security consequences of possible U.S. or U.S.-British invasion of Iraq? There have been questions raised about the consequences of our actions abroad, including its effects on the continuing war on terrorism, our ongoing efforts to stabilize and rebuild Afghanistan, and efforts to calm the intensifying Middle East crisis, especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And there have been questions raised about the consequences of our actions here at home.

Of first and greatest concern, obviously, are the questions raised about the possible loss of life that could result from our actions. The United States could send tens of thousands of U.S. troops to fight in Iraq, and in so doing we could risk countless lives, of U.S. soldiers and innocent Iraqis. There are other questions, about the impact of an attack in relation to our economy. The United States could face soaring oil prices and could spend billions both on a war and on a years-long effort to stabilize Iraq after an invasion.

[ . . . ] as General Wes Clark, former Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe has recently noted, a premature go-it-alone invasion of Iraq "would super-charge recruiting for Al Qaida."

[ . . . ] Authorizing the pre-emptive, go-it-alone use of force now, right in the midst of continuing efforts to enlist the world community to back a tough new disarmament resolution on Iraq, could be a costly mistake for our country.


--Senator Paul Wellstone
October 3, 2002

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