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FW: US Pushes NATO Allies TO Atack Iraq

thanks to Rick Rozoff for this. f.

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

''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

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

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

''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

''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

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