CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTION ON IRAQ
Congressional lawmakers say President George W. Bush's proposed resolution to force Iraqi disarmament needs fine-tuning, but will likely receive approval once they understand how much power it gives him.
The Senate Intelligence Committee last week debated a resolution that would give Bush the authority to send military forces into Iraq should it continue its refusal to dismantle weapons of mass destruction. Earlier this month, Bush called on the United Nations to support a resolution that would compel Iraq to disarm, rather than allow weapons inspectors to return, or threaten consequences if it fails to do so.
He then asked Congress to give him authorization to send troops if necessary to pre-empt any chance of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein using such weapons.
At issue is whether the United States will undertake the operation without the help of its allies, many of whom oppose a first strike against Iraq. Concern also exists over whether the resolution, as the draft from the White House is worded, gives Bush broader powers to station troops in the region and possibly turn its anti-terrorism movement on Iran in the future.
-- Critics say the wording of the Senate resolution is a "blank check" that would give Bush almost unfettered discretion in the use of military personnel in the region. Do you agree?
-- Has there been enough public debate on the administration's Iraqi strategy?
(Thanks to UPI White House Reporter Kathy A. Gambrel)
SMALLPOX VACCINE PLANS
The federal government issued guidelines Monday to state and local governments detailing how to set up mass-vaccination clinics to inoculate 1 million people in 10 days in response to a bioterrorist attack using smallpox.
Although the federal government maintains the national stockpile of the smallpox vaccine, state and local governments will be responsible for setting up clinics and vaccinating people if an attack occurs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is capable of shipping the vaccine anywhere in the country in a matter of hours.
Because smallpox has been globally eradicated, a single case of the disease in the United States would be enough to trigger the new mass vaccination guidelines, said David Fleming, the CDC's deputy director for science and public health. "We would act as if the nation was under attack and immediately implement this response plan."
-- Could your local health department provide smallpox vaccinations for everyone in your community in 10 days?
-- Is one smallpox case enough to trigger such a response?
(Thanks to UPI Medical Reporter Steve Mitchell)
"American Idol," FOX's hit reality show of the summer, allowed television viewers to crown the pop stars of tomorrow from a slate of would-be celebs. Now a new television show is upping the ante, with contestants vying for the chance to run for the ultimate prize -- the White House, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reports.
The two-year endeavor will culminate in the summer 2004 with U.S. television viewers choosing a "people's candidate" for president, say network officials at Rupert Murdoch's FX cable channel -- "one whom they hope will be outspoken and photogenic."
"American Candidate" will allow viewers to handpick their choice for the White House from a list of about 100 pre-screened contenders, according to the show's producers.
-- Would voters pass over a presidential candidate with brains and experience for one with a "telegenic presence?"
-- With most voters getting their information from the candidate's television commercials and debates, has television taken over politics?