Frist defends President's Iraq resolution

By Megan R. Harrell

STAR STAFF
mharrell@starhq.com

  
The President's resolution on Iraq is currently in debate on the Senate floor. U.S. Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) spoke to the Senate in defense of the resolution Wednesday afternoon.
   Sen. Frist stated after spending time with President Bush Tuesday in Tennessee, he is confident the resolution will be approved by the end of the week. He expects the vote to be bipartisan with a substantial majority in support of the President's stance against Iraq.
   The senator offered medical insight into the growing concern surrounding Iraq's access to biological weapons, and their effects. "With the low cost of using living viruses, and the ease with which they can be transported, they offer a unique threat," Sen. Frist said. "In many cases they can be more powerful than nuclear weapons."
   The new resolution states that United Nations inspectors must have full access to Iraqi weapons and must be able to interrogate Iraqi scientists outside the nation. It also forces Hussein to destroy his weapons of mass destruction under the supervision of the U.N.
   The timing of the President's resolution on Iraq is crucial according to Sen. Frist. He stated Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological threats against the U.S. are significant, and should not be ignored.
   "He has the capability today, in terms of his arsenal, to put the threat to Americans in the realm of reality," Sen. Frist said. "We know that he had enough botulism toxin at the end of the Gulf War to annihilate every man, woman, and child in America, and we don't currently know where it is."
   Sen. Frist noted Hussein has used biological weapons against other nations, and against even his own people in the past. He stated the U.S. government's declassified, along with its classified information on Hussein, is more than enough to consider Iraq a national threat.
   Although Iraq poses a threat to America, Sen. Frist believes President Bush views war as a last resort. He stated the U.S. will rally as much support as possible before taking any military action in the middle east.
   "The President knows that by standing by U.N. regulations that the U.S. will act with as broad a coalition as can be humanly obtained," Sen. Frist said. "At the end of the day he will gather the support he needs to get rid of weapons of mass destruction over there," Sen. Frist said.
   In other areas of national concern, Sen. Frist described the mood in Washington D.C. after recent sniper shootings. He stated the nation's capital is just as susceptible to the shootings as it was to the terrorist plane on Sept. 11, and last year's anthrax scares. "It has been traumatizing for obvious reasons," Sen. Frist said. "The nation's capital is on edge."
   The shootings in the Maryland and D.C. area have been completely random; however, Sen. Frist believes the element of fear connects the acts. "There is some linkage in terms of the shootings being just terror. They have created personal insecurity similar to that created by the Sept. 11 and the anthrax attacks," Sen. Frist said.
   Sen. Frist stated he does not know how long the Senate will be in session, and that Sen. Tom Daschle has not made it clear as to what bills will be addressed next.