Case: Iraq is in violation, and a danger to world

But, says don’t wage war without U.N. backing

U.S. House Rep. Ed Case told Kaua’i residents yesterday Iraq poses a threat to world peace, but that the United States should not attack Iraq without first receiving backing from the United Nations.

During a town meeting at the Wilcox School cafeteria, Case said he believes Iraq has violated United Nation’s Resolution 1441, which calls for Iraq to disarm and to allow for full UN inspections for weapons of mass destruction.

“But it doesn’t translate that because there has been a violation of 1441, we, as a country, get to invade,” Case said.

Case said military action should be used only if the world reaches “the consensus that there have been violations and we need to disarm Iraq forcibly.”

“I support the direction that we are going in, which is to go through the United Nations,” he said.

The days when the United States could unilaterally solve world problems is pretty much over, he said.

The fact that France and Germany have not joined the call by the U.S. and Great Britain for military action is “part of an international democracy where we are trying to handle the world’s conflicts,” without unilateral action by one country, Case said.

More than 40 people attended Case’s town meeting at Wilcox School, including Mayor Bryan Baptiste, Kaua’i County Council chairman Kaipo Asing and council members Joe Munechika and Mel Rapozo, Gov. Linda Lingle’s Kaua’i representative Laurie Yoshida and Grove Farm Co. president David Pratt.

Case and his staff held two similar meetings Saturday at the Kilauea Neighborhood Center and at the Waimea Neighborhood Center.

Case, who represents the rural areas of O’ahu and the neighbor islands, said he plans to hold a total of 26 town hall meetings statewide during his visit home.

Case talked about his work in Washington D.C., provided information about the services of his offices, acquainted himself and his staff with the public and discussed his efforts to help solve traffic and drug problems on Kaua’i.

The preparation of war against Iraq is the number one foreign issue facing the nation today, Case said.

He said he is not among those who believe that Iraq “can’t hurt anybody, adding “I believe they can.”

“I believe the combination of weapons of mass destruction under the control of a regime with the will and the means and the desire could use them,” Case said.

He said he believes the Iraqi government has pulled the wool over UN inspectors eyes, frustrating their efforts to find nuclear and biological weapons.

“It (Iraq) declared it had the weapons and hasn’t explained what happened to them,” Case said. “This is a violation of (UN Resolution) 1441.”

Case said that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction “whether they have been found or not.”

Iraq also has not fully complied with the UN resolution by not allowing UN and U.S. planes to participate in the search for weapons.

Iraq doesn’t pose an immediate threat to the United States, but it can initiate a biological attack at any time, Case said.

While the buildup of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and terrorism are other matters of grave importance to the United States, “Iraq is important,” Case said.

Switching gears, Case reported the biggest domestic issue facing Congress dealt reviving the nation’s economy as the federal deficit starts to climb.

“If we don’t take care of the economy first, we cannot pay adequately for our schools, we cannot do a host of other things,” Case said. “We will not have adequate jobs.”

Congress is essentially looking at two ways of revitalizing the economy, Case said.

One involves supporting a proposal by President Bush to make permanent “huge taxes” that were provided in recent years, and to accelerate further tax cuts, Case said.

But other members of Congress are wondering whether $600 billion plus in tax cuts proposed by Bush will work and whether “we can afford the tax,” Case said.

Other federal legislators are wondering about the long-term impact of granting the tax cut, Case also said.

Case said he agrees with Bush that the economy is “our number one priority. “However, Case said he is reluctant to support the level of tax cut Bush has proposed “because I am very concerned about the budget decrease in the long run.”

He is worried approving the large tax cut could result in “handing off a huge deficit to the next generation and hindering their option.”

During other discussions, Asing asked how the federal government could help alleviate traffic congestion on Kaua’i and the future of Society Security benefits.

On traffic, Case is cognizant of the problem and would help county officials secure sufficient federal funding for projects to improve traffic flow.

Rapozo also asked whether a federal agent could be assigned to Kaua’i to help coordinate the war on drugs. A satellite office set up somewhere on Kaua’i also could be useful in busting drug operations, he said.

Case said the ideas had merit, and he said he would check into them.

Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and lchang@pulitzer.net

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