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Copyright 2001 The Chronicle Publishing Co.  
The San Francisco Chronicle



LENGTH: 1066 words


GOP war powers resolution would let Bush use 'all force necessary'

SOURCE: Chronicle Washington Bureau

BYLINE: Marc Sandalow, Carolyn Lochhead

DATELINE: Washington

President Bush, fighting back tears, vowed today to "lead the world to victory" in a war against terrorism, as a top administration official said the response to this week's attacks will be a "sustained military campaign."

With bipartisan outrage growing over Tuesday's terrorist attacks, members of Congress considered several proposed resolutions to give the president unprecedented military powers. One Republican draft version, obtained by The Chronicle, would give Bush new, sweeping powers to "deter and pre-empt any selected future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States."

Speaking in the Oval Office, Bush said the new focus of his presidency would be "hunting down and whipping terrorism." "My resolve is steady and strong about winning this war that has been declared on America," the president said, his eyes welling with tears as he discussed the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

"It's a new kind of war. This government will adjust, and this government will call other governments to join us."

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, speaking at the Pentagon today, would not say what any U.S. military strikes might target or discuss specific military options.

But, he said, one thing is clear. "You don't do it with just a single military strike, no matter how dramatic," he said.

Wolfowitz said the United State will "keep after these people and the people who support them until this stops."

He said part of the $20 billion in emergency funds President Bush is seeking from Congress will be used to strengthen U.S. military readiness for the fight against terrorism. He said he could not specify how much.

Despite the focus on military action, Wolfowitz said the anti-terrorism campaign the president plans to direct will be multifaceted.

"These people try to hide. They won't be able to hide forever," Wolfowitz said. "They think their harbors are safe, but they won't be safe forever. One has to say it's not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states who sponsor terrorism."

In order for the Bush administration to achieve its goal of eradicating terrorism, there must be a military buildup over the next year or longer, Wolfowitz said.

Bush made his comments after a public phone call to Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York and Gov. George Pataki.

"There is a quiet rage in America," Bush told them.

That rage was evident in Congress, where members circulated draft resolutions, some declaring war against terrorists, others granting the president sweeping powers to annihilate potential enemies.

Congress has not declared war since 1941, but members are more resolute and united than any time in recent memory.

"I say to our enemies, 'We are coming. God may show you mercy. We will not,' " Senator John McCain, R-Ariz. said on the Senate floor yesterday.

A similar determination was voiced by Democrats.

"This calamity caused what I think will be the greatest loss of life on American soil by an outside force in the history of the country. We must act," said House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt.

"We must act, in concert and together, to give the president what the president needs and requires in order to get this done."

The draft obtained by The Chronicle would grant the president authority to "use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he determines planned, authorized, harbored, committed or aided in the planning or commission of the attacks" that occurred Tuesday, as well as "to deter any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States."

Gephardt said he did not see the need for a declaration of war, saying: "The president has powers to deal with what is in front of us. If the president wants a restatement of that authority or additional authority, we are prepared to do that."

Others, including Rep. Bob Barr and five other Republicans, announced plans to introduce a resolution formally declaring a state of war between the United States and international terrorists.

The Constitution grants the Congress, not the president, the authority to declare war. However, as commander-in-chief, the president has traditionally made such decisions.

The drafts calling for carte blanche for the president prompted the first signs of dissent in what had otherwise been a united front in Congress.

Many members who support wholescale retaliation do not want to give the president unlimited powers.

"I didn't come here to have written on my tombstone that any president could, if he wanted, put eight divisions into Afghanistan or go to war with the entire Arab world . . . without consulting with any other human being in government," said Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

"Congress is going to make it very clear we are behind the president," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut Creek. "But at the same time, we have to be accountable.

"We are going to take this very serious. We want to be involved -- not just consulted -- in helping to make this kind of policy."

The War Powers Act of 1973, passed over President Richard Nixon's veto, was largely a reaction to the conduct of the Vietnam War by Nixon and his predecessor, President Lyndon B. Johnson. There never was a formal declaration of war by Congress in the Vietnam conflict.

The 1973 law, which every president since Nixon has resisted on the ground that it unconstitutionally limits the president's powers, requires the nation's leader to report to Congress within 48 hours when American forces engage in hostilities.

The president then has 60 days to end that action by U.S. forces, unless Congress declares war, authorizes the operation, or grants an extension of the 60-day period.

The drafts were the subject of meetings all day on Capitol Hill. Sources said that a vote could come as early as this afternoon, but might not come until next week.

The final resolution "will be a product of both parties involved," said Greg Crist, spokesman for House Majority Leader Dick Armey. "It's something we want to work on together."

Chronicle staff writers Carla Marinucci and Ed Epstein contributed to this report.E-mail Marc Sandalow at msandalow@sfchronicle.com

LOAD-DATE: September 14, 2001