Posted: Feb. 5, 2003


U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., a six-term Democrat, released the following statement Wednesday on Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's adress to the United Nations:

“Secretary Powell made a powerful and irrefutable case today before the UN Security Council. The evidence he produced confirms what many of us already know - that Saddam continues to flout the world’s demand that he disarm. 

I commend the Secretary for taking his case to the Security Council and for convincing the President to go there last fall.  By going to the UN, he has made Iraq the world’s problem, not just an American problem. 

“The question now is whether the Security Council will live up to its responsibilities to enforce its own resolutions? The Security Council should make clear that the choice between war and peace is Saddam’s to make. 

 “Solidarity in the UN Security Council is the best means to avoid war.  Let me repeat that: Only when Saddam realizes there is a strong international consensus will he stop trying to drive a wedge between the US and our allies. That consensus is our best, and probably last, chance to concentrate his mind about his choice of war or peace. 

“Now that the Secretary of State has delivered his powerful statement, the President must continue to engage in personal diplomacy to convince key members of the Security Council to pass a second resolution setting a deadline authorizing force if necessary to disarm Iraq.  While a second resolution isn’t a requirement, and while we can win a war on our own, we are much better off if we have the support of the UN and a broad coalition.

"The harder part will begin after a war, with what likely will be a lengthy and costly period of nation-building and occupation.  We want as many countries as possible helping us in this “decade after” Saddam falls.  We are far more likely to get their help on the landing if we get them in on the take-off.  And getting them to sign up will be much easier if we have a second resolution. 

“But the most important task for the President is to inform the American people about everything that may be asked of them.  I have urged the President to be straightforward with the American people about the commitment they may be asked to shoulder. No foreign policy, no matter how well formulated, can be sustained without the informed consent of the American people.  The President must explain to the public that we are about to embark on a costly and complicated effort that may require American forces to stay in Iraq for several years. 

“I believe the American public will give their support, but only if they are informed ahead of time. I don’t think many Americans understand the scope and magnitude of what the US will be obligated to do for many years to come.

“We owe this not only to the American people, but just as important, to our fighting men and women must know they have our full support. 

“Should the President make the decision that going to war is necessary to disarm Saddam, it’s vital that the American people and their political leaders continue to maintain full support – supplying all the forces, material and the billions of dollars it will cost – until the job is done. 

“A united and stable Iraq is our goal, and it’s a necessity as we work to enhance our security and stabilize the region. 

“The choice of war is Saddam’s.  The choice for the Security Council is between relevance and irrelevance.  I hope it moves quickly to live up to its mandate by enforcing its own resolutions and thereby providing a united front to force Saddam to back down and avoid war.”