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U.S. Iraq Policy Developed Over Two Administrations

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2003 – U.S. policy toward Iraq has been shaped by a dozen years of defiance by Saddam Hussein and at least two presidential administrations, Secretary of State Colin Powell explained to some members of Congress today.

"U.S. policy with respect to Iraq is not just something that has been developed in the last month or so," he said at a House subcommittee hearing. "One can go back many years to the end of the Gulf War."

Powell reminded several members of the House Appropriations Committee that the United Nations imposed sanctions and conditions on Iraq at the end of that 1991 conflict -- disarmament conditions Iraq still hasn't met.

With Security Council Resolution 1441, approved unanimously in November 2002, "the whole international community came together -- Arab nations and European nations and nations in the hemisphere," the secretary said.

He also pointed out that the Clinton administration, with full congressional concurrence, decided in 1998 that regime change in Iraq was in the best interests of the United States.

In late 2002, Congress again gave its full support for disarming Iraq when it passed a joint resolution "supporting the president's efforts to cause Saddam Hussein to come into compliance," he said.

The U.S. policy toward Iraq "is driven by our own national interests," Powell said. "It is driven by us trying to help the United Nations do its job. It is driven by our concern for the people of Iraq."

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