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<B>Wednesday</B>, June 23, 2021 &nbsp;

Kennedy: Administration's case not convincing

By Wolf Blitzer
CNN Wolf Blitzer Reports

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration may be gearing up for the possibility of war with Iraq but Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy says not so fast. "There is clearly a threat from Iraq and there is clearly a danger but the administration has not made a convincing case that we face such an imminent threat to our national security that a unilateral, pre-emptive American strike and an immediate war are necessary."

Kennedy's main argument is that before sending U.S. men and women into harm's way, President Bush must exhaust all peaceful means in trying to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, especially by embracing U.N. weapons inspections. And the senator warned of dire consequences if the United States should strike out militarily. "If Saddam's regime and his very survival are threatened, then his view of his interests may be profoundly altered. He may decide he has nothing to lose by using weapons of mass destruction himself or by sharing them with terrorists."

Some three hours later on Friday, President Bush appeared to respond during a campaign rally in Colorado but insisted it all depends on Saddam Hussein. "I'm willing to give peace a chance to work. I want the United Nations to work. I want him to do what he said he would do. But for the sake of our future, now's the time -- now's the time."

The president minced no words. "For the sake of your children's future, we must make sure this madman never has the capacity to hurt us with a nuclear weapon, or to use stockpiles of anthrax that we know he has, or VX -- the biological weapons that he possesses."

And the night before in Houston, President Bush appeared to get personal with Saddam Hussein. "There's no doubt his hatred is mainly directed at us. There's no doubt he can't stand us. After all, this is the guy that tried to kill my dad at one time."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld insists the stakes go way beyond family matters. "There's nothing personal about this at all. This is a national issue and an international issue. It's a matter of considerable substantive concern and personal things have nothing to do with it for anybody that I know of."

Will the United States ever find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?