Vermont Senate holds informal debate on war in Iraq

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(Host) The Vermont Senate Tuesday afternoon debated the merits of the impending war against Iraq. Using a procedure known as personal privilege, a number of senators offered their perspective about President Bush’s decision to take military again to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

Chittenden Senator Jim Leddy considered offering a resolution opposing the war but he chose instead to make a personal statement on the Senate floor. Leddy said he believes the United States has an obligation to exhaust all diplomatic efforts before launching a war:

(Leddy) “I don’t believe we have – nor does the rest of the world, nor does Pope John Paul, nor do our neighbors to the north, Canada, our neighbors to the south, Mexico, the overwhelming majority of counties in the world – and yet we are going to war.”

(Host) A number of other senators rose to speak about the war, including Rutland Senator Hull Maynard who urged his colleagues to support the president once the war has started:

(Maynard) “I would like to urge us to all get together. We are the ones that delegated the authority to the president of the United States to have the powers that he has.”

(Host) In a very unusual move, Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie addressed the Senate on a point of personal privilege. Dubie is a colonel in the Air Force Reserve:

(Dubie) “I certainly respect anyone who disagrees and I’ll fight to the day to give them the right for their disagreement. But I thought it was important for me to go on record to say I do support the president and I support our troops and I pray for a safe and quick resolution of this impending war.”

(Host) Dubie is a disaster relief specialist for the Air Force Reserve and he says he could be called up in the next few weeks if there’s a need to coordinate a response to a possible terrorist attack in this country.

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