Senate Democratic leader George Mitchell, delivering the Democratic response to the State of the Union address, said his party will work to see that the war against Iraq "is swift and decisive, with the least possible loss of life."
Mitchell also said Tuesday in remarks on national television that "the other business of the nation won't wait."The president says he seeks a new world order. We ask him to join us in putting our own house in order," said Mitchell. "We have a crisis abroad, but we also have a crisis here at home."
In excerpts of his speech, Mitchell said the men and women in the Persian Gulf are "Americans - not Republicans or Democrats - but Americans who've answered their country's call."
Despite Democratic opposition to authorizing the war anytime after Jan. 15, as prescribed by the United Nations, "We agreed that Iraq's aggression was brutal and illegal and that Iraq must leave Kuwait, by force if necessary."
"The difference was not in the goals, but in the means," he said.
Mitchell said, "We cannot oppose repression in one place and overlook it in another. Students massacred in China, priests murdered in Central America, demonstrators gunned down in Lithuania - these acts of violence are as wrong as Iraqi soldiers killing civilians."
On the domestic agenda, Mitchell said that "the first priority must be economic growth," adding "a skilled and dedicated work force, modern equipment and innovation are essential to a rising standard of living.
"And economic growth solves many problems. The old saying is true: the best social program is a good job."