From Capitol Hill Blue
White House advisors looking for a "way out" of war with Iraq
By CHB Staff
Feb 20, 2003, 05:47 http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_1796.shtml
Some strategists within the Bush Administration are urging the President to look for an "exit strategy" on Iraq, warning the tough stance on war with the Arab country has left the country in a "no win" situation.
"At this point, the United States and Britain does not have the support for passage of a second UN resolution," admits a White House aide.
In addition, Republican leaders in both the House and Senate are telling the Presidently privately that he is losing support in Congress for a "go it alone war" against Iraq.
"The President's war plans are in trouble, there's no doubt about that," says an advisor to House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert. "Some Republican members want a vote on military action and some of those say they would, at this point, vote against such action."
Some White House advisors are urging the President to consider complying with the UN position or to look for other "face saving" ways to avoid war with Iraq.
President Bush, however, is reported to be "hanging tough" on plans to invade Iraq, even though his closest advisors tell him such a move could be "disasterous" politically.
"The President has backed himself and the nation into a corner in a no win situation," says political scientist George Harleigh. "World opinion is against him. Public opinion polls show support eroding among Americans."
Republican campaign strategist Vern Wilson says he is advising his clients to "put some distance between themselves and the President" on war with Iraq.
"When you have former military leaders questioning the wisdom of war, then you have Vietnam and Gulf War veterans marching against the war, when you have Republicans in Congress questioning the President's judgment, it tells me we could have a problem," Wilson said Wednesday.
The escalating loss of support for the U.S. officials has led to an increase of defiance by Iraqi officials, who have yet to live up to promises of increased support and aid to U.N. inspectors looking for the country's suspected weapons of mass destruction.
Taking heart from the split in the Security Council regarding possible military action against the country. and the world-wide protests against war, Iraq has changed from saying that its officials are complying with U.N. demands to asking for a lifting of sanctions instituted against Iraq after it was forced out of Kuwait more than 10 years ago.
"We have not seen any positive moves on the part of Iraq," one U.N. official in Iraq told The Washington Post, while another said, "They are not fulfilling their promises."
U.N. inspectors returned to Iraq in November after the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, a strongly worded document that promised "serious consequences" should Iraq not live up to the stipulations outlined in the document. Those included giving U.N. inspectors unrestricted access inside Iraq and orders to report any interference by Iraq with the inspections.
However, since last Friday, when lead weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohammad ElBaradei reported to the Security Council, the United Nations has not seen Iraq carry through on promises to deliver documents about old weapons programs nor have there been interviews with scientists involved with possible weapons technology.
Large anti-war demonstrations were staged in several cities around the world. The United States and Britain are having trouble finding support for anything stronger than additional inspections in Iraq in their Security Council deliberations.