Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says the Bush administration is working behind the scenes in ways unknown to the public to resolve the Persian Gulf crisis without a war.
"A number of things are being done that are not generally known," Hatch said. He added that he couldn't list them either but said it is more than just waiting for economic sanctions to spur Saddam Hussein into leaving Kuwait.Hatch, whose committee frequently receives classified updates on the crisis, told reporters Tuesday that "there are a number of scenarios" short of war that could lead to peace.
"There are a number of people in Iraq who want Saddam out of power," he said, adding they could apply pressure within the country to remove him.
One scenario Hatch fears could cause a lengthy war is Iraq somehow provoking Israel into war, which he believes could persuade other Arab nations to side with Iraq and Saddam.
Despite criticism from some members of Congress - such as Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y. - that President Bush is escalating the risk of war by sending more troops to the Persian Gulf and may not be consulting close enough with Congress, Hatch said Bush has been acting properly.
"We don't have enough soldiers there now for a sustained conflict," Hatch said. "I want to protect our young people over there as much as possible, so I think it is correct to send more troops. Frankly, I resent some people trying to make this political."
Hatch added that it is in the United States' best interests to stop efforts by Saddam to expand his nation's capability to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
"I believe that Saddam within 2 1/2 to 3 years will have nuclear weapons," he said, adding that he worries about those weapons "in the hands of a mad man."
Hatch also added that he feels that if shooting in the Middle East begins, "it will be a long war, not a short one" because Iraq has the third-largest active army in the world full of combat-hardened veterans from years of war with Iraq.