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Inslee opposed to ill-timed war

Although Rep. Jay Inslee agrees that Saddam Hussein is a “tyrant,” he doesn’t believe now is the time to for the the U.S. to single-handedly oust the Iraqi leader.

Inslee said that President George W. Bush’s Monday address had not altered his own opposition to a Congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.

“If anything, (the speech) firmed up my thinking against it,” Inslee said, in an interview with the Review Tuesday morning.

Inslee, a 1st District Democrat, said the president presented no evidence of an “imminent threat” from the Iraqi leader to the United States or its allies, and said evidence that Iraq was associated with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was “stunning in its absence.”

At a public meeting held on Bainbridge Island last Saturday, Inslee announced that he would “vote against the start of a unilateral, ill-timed war” when the resolution to authorize use of force against Iraq comes up for a vote before Congress this week.

Inslee said at that time that the Bush administration has not yet developed a coalition among our allies, or obtained United Nations’ support for military action.

Instead, Inslee supports a competing resolution, due to be put forward by Rep. John Sprat (D-South Carolina), which supports the use of force only after exhausting all other “meaningful options” – namely, “a rigorous, robust inspection and disarmament plan” under the aegis of the U.N.

“We should go with the world, not against the world, in working toward disarmament (of Iraq),” Inslee said.

Inslee also expressed concern that war in Iraq would distract from the current efforts to combat terrorism in Afghanistan.

“No Congress should give any president a blank check to start a war with or without our allies,” he said.

The U.S. House of Representatives was to take up debate on the Congressional resolutions Tuesday.

A vote on the resolution is expected as early as Thursday.

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