With a lopsided House vote Friday, Congress came within six votes of unanimously passing a resolution supporting the war in the Persian Gulf.
The House passed the resolution 399-6 with six abstentions, a day after the Senate passed the same measure 98-0. That came less than a week after Congress authorized war by close votes last Saturday, 250-183 in the House and 52-47 in the Senate.So the 230 members of Congress who had opposed war last week dwindled to just six who continued to oppose it.
All of Utah's House members supported the resolution - including Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, who originally voted against use of force against Iraq. They praised the armed forces and suggested possible solutions to problems involving Israel.
Owens said, "Division in Congress and the nation ended with the vote last Saturday. This resolution shows we are willing to give the president and the troops everything they need now. That is the only tolerable view."
Owens himself had introduced a similar resolution earlier this month, which he had hoped Democratic leaders would bring up immediately after any vote to authorize war. "I felt it was important to show solid support once the decision was made."
He added that the earlier debate on whether to wage war "was cathartic for the nation. The country did unify after that debate."
Owens, a member of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee that oversees the Middle East, said he was not too worried that Iraq's Scud missile attacks against Israel would cause many insurmountable problems with Arab nations now allied against Iraq.
He said such countries as Egypt and Saudi Arabia will stay with the alliance probably no matter what. Syria may bolt if Israel becomes involved long-term.
Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, suggested a way he thinks would help hold Arabs in the alliance - have the United States call for an international peace conference to discuss solutions to the Israel-Palestine question.
Saddam Hussein had tried to link such a conference to Iraq's possible withdrawal from Kuwait.
Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, told the House Friday, "What we in Congress need to do is unite behind the president, and more importantly, behind the brave men and women of our armed forces."