WASHINGTON -- The general who would command an invasion of Iraq has presented President Bush and his key advisers the latest Pentagon scenario for a U.S. attack.
Gen. Tommy Franks, who oversaw the war in Afghanistan, delivered the plan Monday at the White House.
But there was no indication Bush was about to make a decision on how to accomplish "regime change" in Baghdad.
Bush has raised the threat of a military assault to depose President Saddam Hussein, but has said other tactics were under consideration.
Possibly anticipating a decision, Saddam invited the chief U.N. weapons inspector, Hans Blix, to Baghdad for talks, with the hint a search for illicit weapons may be permitted after a suspension of more than 3 1/2 years.
Also, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri flew to Jordan with a letter from Saddam for King Abdullah, one of many Arab leaders who have tried to persuade the United States not to use force.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration rejected the invitation to the United Nations for talks as well as one to members of Congress to tour suspected biological, chemical and nuclear weapons sites.
Iraq's parliament speaker, Sadoun Hammadi, invited the lawmakers, accompanied by arms experts of their choice, for a three-week visit.
Administration officials said that would not satisfy the president's demand for rigorous inspections in Iraq.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld stressed the difficulty of locating Iraq's weapons caches since some are underground and others mobile.
"I can't think of anything funnier than a handful of congressmen walking around. They'd have to be there for the next 50 years trying to find something. It's a joke," he said in an interview with a group of journalists.
Administration officials also dismissed an Iraqi offer to meet with Hans Blix, the head of the U.N. inspection team.
Iraq's obligations go beyond permitting inspections to fulfilling a commitment to disarm, State Department deputy spokesman Philip T. Reeker said.
"Our position on inspections and disarmament is well-known," said Sean McCormack, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
In New York, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Blix could accept the invitation for talks in Baghdad if Saddam agreed to the return of U.N. inspectors.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said "the letter seems to be another attempt by the Iraqi leadership to deflect attention from their unwillingness to fulfill a commitment they've already made to the international community."
Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said the invitation should not be considered until Iraq complies with U.N. resolutions for weapons inspections.
In the meantime, a group of key leaders of the Iraqi opposition is expected in Washington on Friday at the invitation of the State and Defense Departments.
The aim is to end infighting between the rival opposition leaders and unnerve Saddam.
Bush signed an order earlier this year authorizing the Central Intelligence Agency to increase support to Iraqi opposition groups and allowing the use of CIA and military special forces teams against Iraq.
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