Congress approves war measure

Second District Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen believes war against Iraq should be a last resort, not a first step.

In a written statement issued following the two historic votes in Congress Thursday and Friday morning which gave President Bush the authority to wage war against Iraq, Larsen said, "It may take the use of force against Iraq to get its horrible and ruthless dictator, Saddam Hussein, to comply with United Nations resolutions to disarm his biological, chemical and developing nuclear weapons program.

"Like most Americans, however, I believe war should be a last resort and not a first step. There are other steps the U.S. can take before applying force."

The Washington congressional delegation was divided on the issue during votes in the House of Representatives and Senate yesterday. The state's senators were split on the issue, with Sen. Patty Murray voting against a resolution that gave the president the authority to wage war, and Sen. Maria Cantwell voting for it.

The Senate vote, which was 77 for and 23 against the resolution, occurred at 1 a.m. Friday.

Larsen was one of 133 House members voting against it. It passed in the House, 296-133. A majority of House Democrats --126 of 208 -- voted against the measure.

Larsen is on the Armed Services Committee and the Military Readiness Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Electronic Warfare Working Group.

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