Come back, Congress

November 13, 1990

Sen. Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is preparing today to ask President Bush to call Congress back into session just after Thanksgiving to debate the most significant question any nation can ever confront: Should we go to war? We heartily endorse Lugar's proposal, and suggest that the debate agenda should include these items:

1. Have we already achieved our principal initial stated purpose of protecting Saudi Arabia from Iraqi takeover?

2. Are we prepared to go to war to reinstall a government in Kuwait which is every bit as dictatorial, even if not as ruthless, as Saddam Hussein's in Iraq?

3. Do we need to take further steps to keep the Middle East oil pipeline open, or has this already been achieved by Saudi Arabia's huge increase in production under American protection?

4. Are we prepared to write off the lives of 1,000 American hostages now being held in Iraq?

5. Is "the American way of life" really at stake, or is it the "way of life" of such countries as Germany and Japan, which do not have a single fighting man or woman committed to the Persian Gulf conflict?

6. Is Saddam Hussein so close to achieving nuclear capability that our intervention is justified? If so, what about other small countries which possess nuclear weapons and might use them irresponsibly? Are they to be neutralized, also?

7. Should we take steps to reinstitute the draft in order to assure an adequate supply of men and women necessary to carry on a war and possibly the occupation of a large country in the Middle East?

8. Can we be certain that if a shooting war starts, our Arab allies will in fact take part, or will it be only Western soldiers -- overwhelmingly American soldiers -- in combat with Arab soldiers?

9. Will Congress, at the end of this debate, declare war as required by the Constitution if President Bush chooses to initiate an attack against Iraq?

Each and every one of these questions is a legitimate point of debate. Let it begin.

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