Murkowski says she will back Iraqi invasion if Senate votes

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski will back a resolution supporting war in Iraq if it comes before the Senate for a vote, she said Wednesday.

Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Wednesday the final deadline is drawing near for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to demonstrate that he has rid his country of weapons of mass destruction.

''The issue is that Saddam has not demonstrated to us that he has gotten rid of them,'' she said.

Murkowski said anti-war protests over the weekend couldn't help but make an impression, whether they were the vast crowds in European cities or smaller numbers demonstrating in Alaska. An estimated 750,000 protesters gathered in London against the prospect of a U.S.-led war in Iraq. In Juneau, an estimated 1,500 people crossed the Douglas Bridge during a walk for peace.

But Murkowski said the burden of proof has been on the Iraqi president to demonstrate that he has disarmed and that he has failed to do so. She questioned how much more time is needed before the United States intervened.

''That time is drawing near,'' he said.

She said that as a senator, she has been briefed by the Bush administration about the threat represented by Iraq.

''I'm not going to sit here and tell you I have seen the smoking gun,'' Murkowski said. But she said President Bush has made a convincing case for military action, and that if it comes to a vote in the Senate, she believes he will have the backing of Congress.

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