The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday that the United States will do all it can to force Iraq to destroy its remaining weapons of mass destruction.
"The administration and partners in this endeavor will bring all pressure to bear on the Iraqi militants so they understand that at the end of the day they must comply," Gen. Colin Powell told the Senate Armed Services Committee.Powell dodged a question about a newspaper report saying he was reluctant to take military action against Saddam Hussein.
The Washington Post said Friday that Powell opposed military force because it would be unlikely to destroy the bulk of Iraq's non-conventional weapons or compel Saddam to do so.
Asked about the report, Powell said only it was "troublesome that Iraq continues to try to frustrate the U.N. mandate."
An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon "is nervous about going down a path of broad engagement with Iraq."
The official said that of the various government agencies asked for their views on how to handle Iraq, the Pentagon was "most wary of a new policy that gets us deeper" into a confrontation with Iraq.
In contrast, officials at the State Department and the White House feel the United States must become more "aggressive in undermining Saddam Hussein's authority in every way possible," the official said.
U. N. destroys nerve gas rockets
A U.N. team announced Friday it had completed its mission of destroying 500 leaking nerve gas rockets in southern Iraq with good cooperation from Iraqi authorities.
The success of the mission contrasted with problems met by another U.N. team, which returns to Baghdad Saturday to demand an end to Iraqi stalling over scrapping its Scud rockets and production equipment.
"We destroyed 500 warheads, rockets and partial missiles, each one containing 6.1 liters of chemical agent," team leader Michel Desgranges told reporters in Baghdad. The chemical in the rockets was the nerve gas agent Sarin. A liter is slightly more than a quart.