Sen. Nelson on the war in Iraq
April 2, 2003
I firmly believe that in this time of peril our thoughts must be with the brave American and allied men and women who are engaged in this fight to disarm a tyrant and free an oppressed people. I pray for a quick and successful conclusion - and the personal safety of all of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. We came to this action as a last resort after several months of Senate hearings, intelligence briefings, meetings with the administration and presentations to the United Nations about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his regime. Throughout this process, I became more and more convinced that Iraq posed a real danger to our national security through its possession of biological and chemical weapons. It is critical that we destroy such weapons of mass destruction and put a stop to Iraq’s plans for developing nuclear weapons. I voted to pass the resolution requiring the Iraqis to disarm and submit to weapons inspections. And, despite the presence of U.N. inspectors over several months, the Iraqi government didn’t cooperate. Its own report to the U.N. last December failed to account for large amounts of chemical and biological weapons the regime possessed after the Gulf War in 1991. Clearly, we knew beforehand that any military action to disarm Iraq would involve significant risks to both American service members and innocent civilians. But I believed then, and still do now, that the threat from Iraq’s regime warranted our country taking these risks. I also believe the U.S. must redouble future diplomatic efforts in order to work more effectively with the international community to address this pressing danger - not just in Iraq - but in other nations as well. Armed combat in Iraq is presenting the men and women of our armed forces with the worst dangers and hardships. But I'm confident they will complete their mission successfully and make our nation proud.