Loyal opposition

Congress has voted to give President George W. Bush carte blanche in dealing with Saddam Hussein and his real or potential weapons of mass destruction. If Bush is, as some suggest, playing a high-stakes game of "chicken" with Saddam, then perhaps Congress has strengthened his hand and increased the chances for a resolution of this conflict short of war. However, if Bush has some motive or plan other than Iraqi disarmament, then the vote in Congress will prove a good deal less responsible.

In the meantime, very important congressional elections are about to be held. Given the challenges facing the nation, it hardly seems wise to give Bush carte blanche both abroad and at home, yet that is very nearly what is at stake should the Republicans hold on to the House of Representatives and recapture (they need to regain only one seat) the Senate. The very real possibility of the entire federal government being in the control of the Republican Party should make Americans as well as Iraqis nervous.

No one who watched the World Trade Center fall and the Pentagon burn seriously doubts that the United States faces an unprecedented threat from Al Qaeda terrorists. In Afghanistan and elsewhere, the administration has demonstrated resolve and considerable competence. It is much less clear, however, whether the burdens of this "war on terror" will be shared equally at home or if the urgency for victory overseas is...

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