Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, referred to himself as a hawk and then as a "well-armed dove."
Having said that, the congressman went on to tell state lawmakers Tuesday that he has grave concerns about growing talk of U.S. air strikes against Iraq."I do not see a clear military objective," Hansen, a senior member of the House National Security Committee, told the Utah Senate.
"The president today (Tuesday) is going to talk to all of you and talk about doing it with airstrikes . . . But how do you do it? I don't know if it's going to work at all.
"Like Jim Woolsey, the past director of the CIA says, if you really want to do this you've got to get people on the ground and change the regime around."
Hansen said he doesn't believe military action against Iraq "is a wise move at this point" and said if Congress were asked to support an attack on Iraq, he'd vote against it.
Hansen said there just isn't the same support for U.S. intervention in Iraq as there was in January 1991.
"We went in there, and the world was with us. Every nation wanted to be a part of doing this job and doing it right . . . We followed the U.N. resolution," he said. "Now, it's an entirely different situation. There's no unanimity. They haven't invaded anyone."
Hansen, the last of Utah's five congressmen to appear before legislators this year, brought up other topics and fielded questions during visits to the House and Senate.
Here is some of what he said:
- New technology being developed by the French, Scandinavians and Japanese would allow spent nuclear fuel rods to be re-used, thus eliminating the need for temporary or permanent storage of those highly radioactive forms of nuclear-reactor waste.
If fuel-rod recycling does not occur anytime soon, however, Hansen said he shares the concern of many state lawmakers that a proposed temporary storage site on the Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation could become a permanent site.
Even if the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada opens for permanent waste storage in the future, Hansen doubts any fuel rods stored in above-ground containers in Utah would be moved there. He also said taxpayers dollars likely would be spent to develop the Goshute site.
However, Hansen said lawmakers on both the national and local level could rally together to prevent storage of high-level nuclear waste in Utah.
"If push comes to shove on that, I think a few of us old dogs will think of a way to handle it," he told senators.
- Hansen, chairman of the House Ethics Committee, said he has seen a growth in reports of alleged wrongdoing by federal lawmakers. But less than 10 percent of those charges are substantiated, even in part, he said, resulting in a waste of public expense on investigations.
Hansen said he is calling on Democrats and Republicans alike to stop making unfounded accusations of love affairs, drug use, bribery and other indiscretions against other members of Congress.
"It doesn't make a lick of sense and hurts us all," Hansen said, adding that political contests should be waged on the issues, not character assassination.
Hansen himself has been the subject of false charges, he said, referring to a recent rumor that Snowbasin Ski Resort owner Earl Holding has stashed $10 million in a Swiss bank account under Hansen's name for help in securing Forest Service permission and funds to expand the resort and build a new access road.
- As long as he is chairman of the House National Parks and Public Lands Subcommittee, Hansen promised a bill calling for Lake Powell to be drained would not make it out of his committee.