Akaka and Case
say war isn’t
yet justified


By Rosemarie Bernardo

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and U.S. Rep. Ed Case of Hawaii said yesterday that Secretary of State Colin Powell's detailed description of Iraq's concealment of weapons of mass destruction was not enough to justify military action against Iraq.

Akaka, a Democrat, said he still believes that President Bush "has to explain why imminent military action is necessary and why ongoing U.N. inspections should be abandoned."

Case, also a Democrat, and a freshman representative for rural Oahu and the neighbor islands, said Iraq's violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution does not justify unilateral military action by the United States.

In a written statement, Akaka said: "Clearly, the Iraqi regime needs to realize that this is its last chance to honor U.N. resolutions it has accepted and must cooperate fully with the inspections and disarm. The information released by Secretary Powell outlines a disturbing pattern of Iraqi deceit and obstruction."

However, he added: "If we engage in use of force, we should have the broadest possible support of the international community. Without a clear postwar strategy and strong international support at the outset, I am concerned that our troops will be tied down in an army of occupation and nation-building in Iraq for a very long period. This is a quagmire we should avoid."

Case said he now believes that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his country "are in fact in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441."

The resolution requires Iraq to completely get rid of any weapons of mass destruction and to fully cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors, Case said.

"So the question in my mind is no longer whether Iraq is in breach, but what we do about it," he added. "I agree with Secretary Powell that neither our country nor our world can take that risk, and I disagree with those countries such as France, which advocate only containment."

Still, Case added, "If there was a clear and present danger to our country and world presented by Iraq's breach that could and would not be addressed multilaterally, we would have no choice but to act. But that doesn't appear to be the case at present."

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie could not be reached for comment.

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