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Clintons urge caution on action against Iraq

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton during a visit to the New York State Fair on Friday.  

SYRACUSE, New York (CNN) -- Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton urged the Bush administration to use caution before any military action against Iraq.

Describing her visit to U.S. soldiers injured in Afghanistan and recovering at Washington's Walter Reed Medical Center, the Democratic New York senator asked President Bush to seek congressional approval before any attack on Iraq.

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"I have personal faces I can put on this debate, and I want to be sure that the president comes with his arguments and information and evidence and that we debate it, and then as a nation we'll stand behind the decision," she said while attending a state fair in upstate New York.

Administration lawyers have concluded President Bush doesn't need congressional approval to launch an attack on Iraq, although White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the president would consult Congress.

Fleischer did not say whether consultation would include a congressional vote approving military action, as was done before the Gulf War in 1991.

The former president said the U.S. military could easily win an attack on Iraq and displace its leader, Saddam Hussein, but he questioned whether it should be done.

"Everybody knows that he's been a thug, hasn't been good for his people, hasn't been good for the region. There's no question people would be better off without him," Clinton said, but warned: "You don't do things just because you can."

While he said he has no doubt the Iraqi leader has stocks of biological and chemical weapons, and has used them on his own people, Clinton said there should be a "large-scale public debate" on whether to wage war.




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