Former U.S. Sen. William Proxmire, best known for his Golden Fleece Awards given to federal government offices that grossly overspend, said that other countries should help foot the bill for the crisis in the Persian Gulf.

The Wisconsin Republican was elected to Congress in 1957 and served until his retirement last year. During his 32-year tenure, he was chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and a member of both the Appropriations and the Congressional Joint Economic committees.He told a Weber State College audience Thursday that the United States should draw up a new contract with the United Nations because America can't afford to fund the crisis in Iraq.

"We're up to our neck in debt," said Proxmire. "We have been stealing from our children and grandchildren."

The former senator said he hopes Saddam Hussein will back down and withdraw from Kuwait without a shot being fired. He also said that he hopes the United States can be patient and not fire the first shot because thousands of American soldiers would die.

But he warned that the Iraqi troops are ready to fight. "Iraq has a million troops. They're willing to die," he said.

Proxmire said that forcing Iraq out of Kuwait by other than military means would help discourage other countries from using aggression and invading weaker and smaller countries.

A shooting war in Iraq would be expensive, and Proxmire said America can't afford to increase the national debt. He said the debt tripled in just 10 years and that the interest alone on the $3 trillion debt is more than the nation can afford.

He said the government should be balancing the budget and running a surplus. "We have to recognize this responsibility and act on it," he added.