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Boxer Backs Resolution Authorizing Multilateral Efforts To Force Iraq To Disarm Weapons of Mass Destruction

Opposes Blank Check for Unilateral War on Iraq

October 3, 2002


Washington, DC – From the floor of the U.S. Senate today U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) announced her opposition to the unilateral use of force and her support for an alternative resolution to back multilateral efforts compelling the dismantling of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

To follow are excerpts of the Senator's floor statement:

I will not vote for a blank check for unilateral action. I also will not vote for a resolution that is dressed up to look like Congress has power when in fact all that the words really call for are consultations and determinations . . . to me, consultations and determinations without a vote is like a computer that's not plugged in. It looks impressive but it can do nothing.

In the past four years, I have voted to use force twice – once against Milosevic to stop a genocide and once after September 11 when we suffered a barbarous attack. But, in this case, if any President wants to go to war alone or outside the type of coalitions we have built for the war on terror, or the last Persian Gulf War, then let him come to the American people, through the Congress for another debate and a vote.

To me the issue of Iraq should be approached in the following way:

  • Iraq must be held to their word as expressed in U.N. resolutions that it will submit to thorough inspections and dismantlement of weapons of mass destruction. PERIOD. That's what they agreed to and that is what must happen.
  • These were United Nations Resolutions and we should work for an updated resolution ensuring that the unfettered inspections do take place or there will be consequences.
  • These weapons are a threat to the world and the world must respond and if we handle this matter right the world will respond. If our allies feel that we have not made the case; if they feel this is political or a grudge match or if they feel that they are being manipulated for domestic political reasons that is going to hurt our nation and isolate us.

I support the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Levin, on his resolution. This is what it does:

  • One – It urges the U.N. Security Council to quickly adopt a resolution that demands immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access for U.N. inspectors so that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and prohibited missiles are destroyed.
  • Two – It urges this new U.N. Security Council resolution to authorize the use of necessary and appropriate force by U.N. member states to enforce the resolution if Iraq refuses to comply.
  • Three – It reaffirms that under international law and the U.N. Charter, that the U.S. has the inherent right to self-defense. · And four, it authorizes the use of U.S. armed forces pursuant to the new U.N. Security Council Resolution.

The Levin resolution authorizes force as a part of a U.N. enforcement action to dismantle Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. But if the President wants to go it alone, he must come back to us.

I believe the people of my state expect me, on their behalf, to get my questions and their questions answered, not to engage in guesswork and above all not to abdicate my responsibility to the Executive Branch. If our Founders wanted the President, any President, to have the power to go to war, they would have said so.

I want to say unequivocally that the myriad of questions I have asked have not been answered and in good conscience, how can I vote to take our country to war alone – which is the authority the President wants – without allies and without the facts I need to fulfill my responsibilities to the people of California. America, at her best has been seen as a beacon of hope, not fear...an example not of might makes right but might backing right. And what is right at a time like this? Laying out a path for peace not just a path for war; trying everything to avoid the chaos and devastation to our own and to innocent civilians.


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