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Kennedy to seek new measure on war with Iraq

'Much has changed' since Congress authorized force, he says

From Jonathan Karl
CNN Washington Bureau


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Edward Kennedy will introduce a measure requiring President Bush to get new congressional approval before launching a military strike on Iraq, he announced Tuesday.

"Much has changed in the many months since Congress has debated war with Iraq," the Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement released after President Bush's State of the Union address, in which Bush tried to rally the American people to the need to disarm Iraq.

"U.N. inspectors are on the ground and making progress, and their work should continue," Kennedy said. "Osama bin Laden and the Korean nuclear crisis continue to pose far greater threats [than Iraq]."

But Kennedy's proposal could face a tough road in the GOP-controlled Senate. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said on CNN's "Larry King Live" that Bush made a "very powerful" case against Iraq in his speech and that another vote would be "absolutely unnecessary."

"At the end of the day, the president will decide what's in the best interest of the safety of the American people and lead a coalition to disarm Saddam Hussein," the Tennessee Republican said.

Sen. John McCain, a Republican of Arizona, said Kennedy "would have to give us a more concrete and compelling reason to revisit the resolution" than just his own opposition to military action.

In September, both houses of Congress approved by overwhelming margins a resolution authorizing Bush to take military action against Iraq if necessary. At the time the measure passed, Democrats controlled the Senate.

The resolution requires Bush, either before or within 48 hours after beginning military action, to declare to Congress that diplomatic efforts to enforce U.N. resolutions on weapons of mass destruction have failed.

Bush also must certify that action against Iraq would not hinder efforts to pursue the al Qaeda terrorist network. It also requires the administration to report to Congress on the progress of any war with Iraq every 60 days.

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