Capitol Hill Blue has learned the Joint Chiefs of Staff are split over
plans to invade Iraq in the coming weeks. They have asked Secretary of
State Donald Rumseld to urge Bush to back down from his hard line stance
until United Nations weapons inspectors can finish their jobs and the U.S.
can build a stronger coalition in the Middle East.
Intelligence sources say some Arab nations have told US diplomats they may
side with Iraq if the U.S. attacks without the backing of the United
Nations. Secretary of State Colin Powell agrees with his former colleagues
at the Pentagon and has told the President he may be pursuing a "dangerous
An angry Rumsfeld, who backs Bush without question, is said to have told
the Joint Chiefs to get in line or find other jobs. Bush is also said to be
"extremely angry" at what he perceives as growing Pentagon opposition to
his role as Commander in Chief.
In addition, Capitol Hill Blue has learned that both House Speaker Dennis
J. Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist have told the White House
that they have "increasing" numbers of Republicans in both Houses raising
doubts about the war.
"Nobody in the party wants to come out publicly and tell the President he's
wrong," says one Hill source close to the GOP leadership, "but we don't
have the kind of unity we need on this thing. It could blow apart on us at
Some Pentagon staffers point to last weekend's antiwar rally in Washington,
where they say the crowd included many veterans of Desert Storm.
"This wasn't just a bunch of tree huggers and longhairs marching," says
Arnold Giftos of Huntington, West Virginia, who served in Desert Storm and
who came to march. "Go to any meeting of veterans groups in this country
and you will see serious discussion on whether or not we should be getting
into this war."
"I served in Vietnam," said Robert Brighton of Detroit, who marched in
Washington. "I supported Desert Storm. I don't support this. It's madness."