LONDON - The United States has no choice but to
take action against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, White House
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday.
But President Bush had not decided "how he wants to do it"
or how to "make the case for particular methods," she said.
"We certainly do not have the luxury of doing nothing,"
Rice, a pivotal player in Bush's administration, told BBC
radio. "We believe the case for regime change is very
Bush has labelled Iraq part of an "axis of evil" intent on
seeking weapons of mass destruction. Iraq denies the charges.
Rice said Saddam had twice come close to acquiring nuclear
"This is an evil man who, left to his own devices, will
wreak havoc again on his own population, his neighbors and, if
he gets weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver
them, on all of us," she said.
The Financial Times reported on Thursday that the United
States had launched a public bidding process for humanitarian
relief organizations to work in Iraq and neighboring areas as
it prepares for a possible military strike.
The newspaper said it had obtained a document from the
State Department inviting proposals for humanitarian aid
projects in Iraq and for Iraqi refugees in surrounding
A State Department spokesman in Washington said he had no
information on the report.
Official U.S. policy has been to seek a "regime change" in
Iraq, but recently Bush and U.S. government officials have
sought to play down expectations of an imminent attack.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has backed Bush staunchly
since the September 11 attacks but while polls show Americans
support an attack on Iraq, most Britons do not.
Ranks of clergy and even Blair's own supporters are lined
up against him but few analysts expect the prime minister to
stand on the sidelines if the United States attacks.
Gerald Kaufman, a veteran and traditionally loyal lawmaker
in Blair's Labour Party, warned him not to follow that course.
"There is substantial resistance in the Parliamentary
Labour Party against war on Iraq, not just from the usual
suspects," he wrote in the Spectator magazine on Thursday.
The former Labour foreign policy spokesman also launched a
savage attack on Bush and his advisers, including Rice.
"Bush, himself the most intellectually backward American
president of my political lifetime, is surrounded by advisers
whose bellicosity is exceeded only by their political, military
and diplomatic illiteracy," he wrote.
Rice also turned her fire on Iran -- which along with North
Korea completes Bush's "axis of evil" -- saying its leaders
were "on the side of the terrorist."
"Iran is a place where an unelected few are really crushing
the aspirations of their people," she said. "Iran is not on the
side of peace. Iran is on the side of the terrorist."
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Bush
on Wednesday of using the language of Adolf Hitler to bully the
world. Khamenei opposes any rapprochement with Washington while
reformists have called for dialogue to ward off possible