portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

imperialism & war

The One-Party System in now bare-fisted

and Richard Gephhardt is a whore.

Gephardt Backs Offensive Vs. Saddam
Tue Jun 4,12:23 PM ET
By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt volunteered his support Tuesday if the administration resorts to force to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), adding, "I share President Bush (news - web sites)'s resolve to confront this menace head-on."


AP Photo

As Gephardt spoke, Bush told reporters that "one option, of course, is the military option" when it comes to the Iraqi leader. The president added he has no plans to attack, but "nevertheless these nations that I have named need to take America seriously."

"We should use diplomatic tools where we can, but military means where we must to eliminate the threat he poses to the region and our own security," Gephardt, a likely 2004 presidential contender, said in remarks prepared for delivery.

Gephardt alternately praised, prodded and poked the administration in a speech that ranged over the diplomatic and military implications of the war on terrorism.

"President Bush was right Saturday to say we are fighting a new war and will have to be ready to strike when necessary, not just deter," Gephardt said in the speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. "But on the home front, we are moving too slowly to develop a homeland defense plan that is tough enough for this new war."

Gephardt said Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge should be made a member of the Cabinet and given authority over a security budget. Such suggestions would bring Ridge under formal congressional oversight, and Bush has thus far refused to go along with them.

Gephardt commended Bush for helping develop a stronger relationship between NATO (news - web sites) and Russia. But he coupled those words with a call for additional funding to safeguard the remaining nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union.

While he said the administration "deserves credit" for the military victory in Afghanistan (news - web sites), Gephardt said it would be shortsighted "if we stop now and withhold support for expanding the international security presence beyond Kabul, as Chairman (Hamid) Karzai has urgently requested."

On defense issues, he said he would support adding troops to the armed forces, proposed an overhaul of a logistics and supply system that he described as sluggish, and offered to support a bipartisan commission to build support for military modernization.

On foreign policy, he urged the Bush administration to build on a tradition of worldwide engagement, not turn away from it.

He said the United States should abandon the use of the term "foreign aid," with its Cold War implications, and use its money to try and foster economic development, democracy and universal education abroad.

Gephardt voted against the use of force in the run-up to the 1991 Persian Gulf War (news - web sites), but in his prepared remarks, said he was ready to work with the administration "to build an effective policy to terminate the threat posed by" the Iraqi regime.

"New foreign policy initiatives can help remove one of the legs of Saddam's survival by reducing the desperation of many in the Arab world who see him as a defiant ray of hope," he said.

"At the same time, we should be prepared to remove the other leg with the use of force."

Bush branded Iraq as a member of the "axis of evil" in a speech last winter, and administration officials have not discouraged speculation that the war on terrorism might involve an effort to oust Saddam.

Gephardt also urged the Bush administration to demonstrate leadership in the effort to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

"We cannot expect that the parties to this conflict will resolve it without the active support of the United States," he said.

"We must be steadfast in our support of Israel," he added. "There is no moral equivalence between suicide bombings and defending against them."