WASHINGTON - Two key senators said on Tuesday that Congress should hold hearings on what intelligence led the United States to go to war against Iraq.
Concerns have been rising in the United States and worldwide that the banned arsenal the U.S. administration cited as the reason for launching the war has not been found in the weeks since the ousting of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
President Bush stopped short on Monday of repeating his pledge that weapons of mass destruction would be found, although he stated flatly that Iraq had a banned arms program.
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said on NBC's "Today" show that a "certain problem" existed with U.S. credibility in Europe and that hearings should be held, though he added he was "confident we will be able to make the case for conflict in Iraq."
Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, also said on NBC that a "very thorough investigation" was needed into why the United States went to war against Iraq, given that weapons of mass destruction have yet to be uncovered.
"We need to have a very thorough investigation into what happened that caused the president to go ahead and proceed with the war," he said, adding that a joint hearing by the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees would be best.
McCain backed the suggestion. It is entirely appropriate for the Congress to hold oversight hearings," he said, adding any delay would not be in the interests of the American people.
Rockefeller, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was negotiating with the committee's Republican chairman, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, who said last week he would review intelligence documents provided by the administration before deciding to proceed with hearings.
Armed Services Committee chairman John Warner, a Virginia Republican, said last week he planned hearings on the continuing search for weapons but would work with Roberts on intelligence issues.
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