Isle congressmen
voice doubts

Staff and news services

Despite his confidence in the ability of the country's military to defeat Iraq, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka said the United States is not "sufficiently prepared either materially or psychologically for a protracted occupation of that country."

Nor does the Hawaii Democrat say the United States is "sufficiently well-prepared domestically for possible terrorist attacks on American soil."

In a statement addressed to President Bush, Akaka said he is concerned that "we are not as prepared as we should be for the consequences of a war with Iraq."

Akaka added he does not understand why Bush "has chosen to fight Iraq at this time or what his objective is in so doing."

Despite Saddam Hussein's disregard of U.N. resolutions to disarm as well as his oppression of his people, Akaka said "those actions do not justify going to war now if we are unprepared for the consequences of war and if we do not have a clear exit strategy for getting out of Iraq.

"It would be far better to take the time to ensure that we are prepared for both the consequences at home and abroad before sending our superb military into combat in a distant land."

Akaka and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye voted against the resolution giving Bush the broad authority to use military force against Iraq with or without U.N. support.

Inouye said yesterday, "If President Bush's ultimatum to Saddam Hussein requires the sending of our brave men and women into harm's way, I hope that all America will stand united in supporting our troops."

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie had strong words against military action.

"Clearly, Saddam Hussein is a dangerous tyrant, but I don't think President Bush has made the case for war," he said. "He's presented no convincing evidence that Iraq is an imminent threat to the United States and no evidence at all that it was involved in the 9/11 attacks."

U.S. Rep. Ed Case said it's a "tragedy" the United Nations has chosen not to enforce its resolutions and that diplomacy has not forced Iraq to disarm and provide open weapons inspections. "We must exhaust, fully and totally, all means of compliance through diplomacy and international action before we initiate any actions unilaterally, and I don't believe we have exhausted it," he said.

State of Hawaii

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