McInnis to speak to NATO |

McInnis to speak to NATO

Congressman Scott McInnis heads to NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly in Belgium Friday and relishes the opportunity to present his views on Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

“There will be lots of face-to-face meetings,” said McInnis, who has served as a select House member to NATO’s parliamentary arm since 1996. “My seniority is such that I’ll be well placed to have an opportunity to speak my mind.”

France, and its reluctance to endorse an invasion of Iraq, is high on McInnis’ hit list. “This is a time when friendship counts … when we see who is on the team and who isn’t,” said McInnis, R-Grand Junction. “Take it for what you want, but there is a consequence for nonaction.”

For McInnis, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation at the United Nations Wednesday signaled a change in Powell’s stand on whether to invade Iraq.

“Colin Powell has always been the dove in the administration,” said McInnis, who grew up in Glenwood Springs.

McInnis said if Powell is now convinced Iraq harbors weapons of mass destruction but refuses to remove them, the option of a United States-led invasion is more viable.

“I agree with Powell when he said there aren’t many more exits left on the highway for Saddam Hussein,” said McInnis. “We are at a critical juncture in addressing the threat Saddam Hussein poses to our nation’s security and the world. Several of our allies are complacent in believing no action is necessary, fooling themselves into believing that a very real and serious threat does not exist to world security.”

The forum will include discussions on a variety of defense, political and economic issues, and include meetings with NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson and American NATO Ambassador Nick Burns.

McInnis said the discussions will occur during scheduled forums and at dinners and other informal settings.

There are 19 countries in NATO (The North American Treaty Organization), most of which support the United States in its invasion plans, McInnis said. Germany and Belgium have also cast NATO votes against a U.S.-led invasion, but France draws most of McInnis’ wrath, in part because it holds veto power on the U.N. Security Council.

“France is the weak brother in the family,” McInnis said.

McInnis said it’s preferable if the U.N. Security Council passes a resolution backing an invasion of Iraq, but regardless, “We have a willing coalition. … I’m not about to let a country like France dictate to us what to do.”

As he has stated before, McInnis compares Saddam Hussein to a cancer that must be removed. “Today the cancer is in the foot,” McInnis told a group of students in Washington, D.C., last week. “If my generation doesn’t do something today, the cancer will take over the whole body, and your generation will have to deal with it.”

McInnis said he will also attend military briefings in Turkey after the NATO meetings in Belgium.

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

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