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thanks to Rick Rozoff for this. f. http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=3167173&BRD=1699&PAG=461&dept_id=4 6371&rfi= 6 The Morning Journal U.S. pushes NATO to make Iraq first target Knight Ridder Newspapers February 03, 2002 MUNICH, Germany -- U.S. political leaders called on NATO members yesterday to transform their military union in to a terrorism-fighting alliance and consider Iraq their first target. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., urged allies to join in an effort against Baghdad but said the United States would go it alone if necessary. Many in their audience of political and military leaders from 43 countries appeared taken aback by the pugnacious Americans, especially by McCain. ''The next front is apparent and we should not shrink from acknowledging it,'' McCain, a former prisoner of war and presidential candidate, told 400 invitation-only attendees at the 38th Munich Conference on Security Policy. ''A terrorist resides in Baghdad,'' McCain continued, ''with the resources of an entire state at his disposal, flush with cash from illicit oil revenues and proud of a decade-long record of falsifying the international community's demands that he come clean on his programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. ''A day of reckoning is approaching.'' Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., the former Democratic vice presidential candidate, told attendees that he agreed completely with his Senate colleague. ''There is more than enough evidence to lead us to reach a conclusion that Iraq under Saddam constitutes a clear and present danger. As the president said the other night, in this regard, time is not on our side.'' Some European speakers bristled at the senators' hawkishness, and warned the U.S. was courting trouble if it did not consult its allies in the war on terror. ''Action versus Iraq, it seems to me, would require incontrovertible evidence in order to justify, and I speak as a member of parliament of a country willing to put boots on the ground,'' said Menzies Campbell, a member of the British House of Commons. Gert Weisskirchen, a member of the German parliament, said, ''There has to be a more multilateral approach in U.S. policy.'' He urged a more prominent role for NATO in the terror fight, and said the United States needed to involve its allies in the planning and execution of the battles ahead. ''It cannot be that you decide on your own, and we trot along after you.'' In comments to reporters, Wolfowitz said there is no plan to attack Iraq and the tough talk is the beginning of a dialogue between the United States and its allies, not a call to battle. The Munich conference, which continues Sunday, began under tight security. Munich courts last week banned protesters from demonstrating outside the imposing Bayerischer Hof hotel, and thousands of police, with riot gear and water cannons ready, kept protesters far away. The cobble-stoned Bavarian streets were filled with distinctive mixture of Mohawks and Lederhosen. Organizers expected about 3,000 potentially violent demonstrators, though they caused little trouble. Demonstrator Alexandra Jonke, 24, traveled by bus with 50 others from Vienna to protest ''NATO's war.'' Wearing a placard that said ''Bread instead of bombs,'' the call-center operator called Bush the biggest terrorist, and said the wealthy were waging war on the poor. Inside the conference, there were more protests that NATO wasn't involved enough in counterterrorism. Friedbert Pflueger, another member of Germany's parliament, said NATO needed to find ways of engaging at a higher level ''if we want to be more than scrap iron collectors in Macedonia,'' a reference to the alliance's role receiving old guns from Balkan fighters last year. One French participant noted that President Bush did not mention NATO once during his State of the Union address last week. Others said NATO should have commanded the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Wolfowitz said NATO does not need to be involved everywhere America is involved, and cited the latest U.S. military efforts to root terrorists from the Philippines. ''At the end of the day, we don't need NATO in the Philippines,'' Wolfowitz said. ''We don't need any people in the Philippines. We didn't need everyone in Afghanistan. ''The events of Sept. 11 have made this a case of national self interest,'' Wolfowitz said, ''and that has got to be the main consideration in what we do and how we consult.'' McCain issued a sharp reply to the German member of parliament who asked why NATO did not carry more weight in the terror fight: ''Perhaps you ought to look at how much money you are spending on defense,'' he said. President Bush has recommended increasing U.S military spending by $48 billion next year. The increase alone is one-third more than the total defense budget of Great Britain, the second largest military spender in NATO. __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Great stuff seeking new owners in Yahoo! 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