There is no doubt this is a Saddam rally. In order to win over the Senate doves, the administration has agreed to let diplomacy prevail over a unilateral pre-emptive strike. The tough talk from the administration on how they are already planning the post-Saddam regime masks the fact that there are now enough assurances given to the Senate that weapons inspectors will return to Iraq, unfettered. This dramatically reduces chances of military action after the November elections, or next year for that matter. Here is Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in the heart of his statement of support:
"First: Instead of giving the President broad and unfocused authorization to take action `in the region,` as the Administration originally sought, this resolution focuses specifically on the threat posed by Iraq. It no longer authorizes -- nor should it be used to try to justify -- the use of force against other nations, organizations or individuals that the President may believe threaten peace and stability in the Persian Gulf region. It is a strong and focused response to a specific threat. It is not a template or model for any other situation.
Second: This resolution expresses the deep conviction of this Congress, and of the American people, that President Bush should continue to work through the United Nations Security Council in order to secure Iraqi compliance with UN resolutions. Unfettered inspections may or may not lead to Iraqi disarmament. But whether they succeed or fail, the effort we expend in seeking inspections will make it easier for the President to assemble a global coalition against Saddam, should military action eventually be needed.
Third: This resolution makes it clear that, before the President can use force in Iraq, he must certify to the Congress that diplomacy has failed, and that further diplomatic efforts alone cannot protect America`s national security interests, nor can they lead to enforcement of the UN Security Council resolutions.
Fourth: This resolution protects the balance of power by requiring the President to comply with the War Powers Act and to report to Congress at least every 60 days `on matters relevant to this resolution.`"
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It seems most unlikely this will now unravel as the Pentagon hawks have pushed every possible button to head off the inspectors and still have been outflanked by Colin Powell. The CIA has been going public on the pressures they have been facing from the Pentagon, with stories like this one in the LATimes undermining their latest efforts.