Originally created 03/18/03

Georgia representatives discuss looming war



ATLANTA -- Georgia's representatives in Congress braced for war Monday as diplomatic efforts to disarm Iraq came to a close.

Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Atlanta, said President Bush has given up on negotiations and is now resorting to brute force to achieve his goals.

"War is harder, more difficult. We should be patient and give peace a chance," Lewis said. "I regret to see us come to this moment."

Lewis said he'd like to see Saddam Hussein go into exile. The United States shouldn't resort to military action because there's not an imminent threat to America or its interests, he said.

But Rep. Jack Kingston, a Republican from Savannah, said Saddam's time has run out to obey the world community's demands that he disarm.

"This was the opportunity for the United Nations to show its relevance to the world," Kingston said. "I can't for the life of me see how anybody can take the U.N. seriously anymore, after 17 resolutions and 12 years of absolute reckless negligence."

Kingston said 18,000 troops have been deployed from Fort Stewart in his district. He said France is leading Europe with the same anti-war attitudes that contributed to Germany's rise to power in World War II.

"You would have thought that Hitler would have taught them something, but sadly that's not the case," he said.

Rep. Sanford Bishop said it's regrettable that the United States is now faced with war, but there aren't many other options left.

"I had hoped that through the United Nations and diplomatic means we could assure that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq's hands," he said. "If it comes to a point where there's no alternative but to use force, then so be it."

Bishop said President Bush was raising the volume on war talk.

"Right now he's driving the train. Perhaps he might be driving the train a little bit fast, but that's his judgment to make, and ours to be prayerful about," Bishop said.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Republican, said in a statement that Bush "went the extra mile for peace. It is Saddam Hussein's own choosing that the diplomatic window is closing.

"For 12 years Saddam Hussein has denied, delayed and deceived the international community. He is a danger to his neighbors and to free nations, a sponsor of terrorism, has a history of mass murder and possesses the weapons of mass murder.

"Thousands of troops from Georgia's military installations have been deployed and will play a key role in the impending military campaign. I am tremendously proud of these brave men and women who serve our nation and defend peace."

Democratic Sen. Zell Miller said the war in Iraq is necessary to ensure the world's safety for years to come.

"Nobody wants to go to war. Nobody wants to put American soldiers in harms way. But there are times when it is necessary to fight shorter, briefer wars in order to avoid longer, more costly wars. This is one of those times," Miller said. "I have the utmost confidence and pride in our troops from Georgia who will help lead the way."