WASHINGTON (AP) -- The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged the Bush administration Wednesday to better explain how it plans to deal with the aftermath of a military campaign in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein.
"If we participate in Saddam's departure, what are our responsibilities the day after?" Sen. Joseph Biden asked as he opened hearings. To illustrate his point, Biden noted U.S. actions in Afghanistan.
"The war was prosecuted exceptionally well in my view, but the follow-through ... has, in my judgment, fallen short," the Delaware Democrat said. "It would be a tragedy if we removed a tyrant in Iraq, only to leave chaos."
Biden said he is confident that President Bush has not decided yet whether to stage an invasion to oust Saddam, and doubts there would be such an exercise this year. He said he expects the two days of hearings to yield a better understanding of U.S. military strategy, the threat posed by Saddam's regime and the consequences of war.
"In short, we need to weigh the risks of action versus the risks of inaction," Biden said.
Former U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler told the panel that Saddam has extensive chemical and biological weapons programs and that there is evidence he has stepped up his nuclear programs in recent years.
But he said he had seen no evidence that Saddam, despite long-standing ties to terrorist groups, would provide those weapons to them.
"I suspect that, especially given his psychology and aspirations, Saddam would be reluctant to share what he believes to be an indelible source of his power," Butler said.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.