The following is a statement from Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.):
“I am pleased that the President is addressing the United Nations this morning to make the Administration’s case for regime change in Iraq. Ousting Saddam Hussein may be necessary; however, the President has not yet articulated a compelling justification for military action to either the American people or the international community.
“His address to the UN is an important step toward that goal. The case for regime change must be so compelling that the risks of inaction outweigh the risks of putting many thousands of servicemen and women in harm’s way.
“I believe strongly that our allies must be involved in any effort to secure regime change - that begins with making clear to Hussein that the international community requires that weapons inspectors have nothing less than full, unfettered access to Iraqi sites. I also believe that we must set a deadline for such inspections. If Hussein fails to meet that requirement, then military action may be necessary - but that must be the last, not the first, option.
“The President must also detail the Administration’s vision for Iraq after a regime change. Clearly, the international community - from both a practical and financial standpoint - must be deeply engaged in building a new Iraq.
“Finally, I have been encouraged by the President’s recent commitment to seek both the counsel and the assent of Congress. This is essential. If the American people are to broadly support our military personnel risking their lives in Iraq, they must be confident that the decision to deploy was made in a deliberative manner with a clear strategy for victory.”