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COL Iraq war: How many deaths?

Questions for President George W. Bush to answer

As more questions are being raised about the advisability of invading Iraq, President George W. Bush has decided to seek involvement of members of Congress in the decision.

That is the right course, and one that should have been adopted from the beginning. Lawmakers, and especially Democratic leaders, have been too timid in raising questions about going to war, apparently because -- since 9/11 -- voters have been supportive of Bush's belligerent approach. But, of course, that also was true in the early days of the Vietnam War, before people learned of the costs and the consequences.

We would like to suggest some questions that members of Congress can ask of the president for the benefit of all of us.

For example:

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; 1. How many U.S. troops do you think will be killed or wounded before the war is over? What is a tolerable number of casualties in your view?

; 2. How many innocent Iraqi civilians do you think will be killed in the bombing that precedes the invasion and in the war itself?

3. How long do you think it will take from the time the first shot is fired until Saddam is removed and peace is declared?

4. How will the United States go about choosing a leader to replace Saddam Hussein? Do you have anyone in mind?

5. Afghanistan is a poor, developing country and the United States still does not really control any territory outside Kabul. In the more highly developed country of Iraq, how long do you think it will take to restore the damage from the war and establish a functioning, democratic government?

6. How much do you think it will cost the United States to restore the country's infrastructure, feed the surviving Iraqi people and keep the country going until the U.S. troops can depart? How will that affect the U.S. deficit?

7. How much of this money will be contributed by the United States' friends and allies?

8. Experts say the invasion is opposed by ordinary people throughout the Middle East and this could cause civil unrest and disrupt the supply of oil to the United States. Have you considered that?

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; 9. Other experts say that, if you invade Iraq, that will wreck any efforts to end the war between Israelis and Palestinians? How serious a problem is that?

10. Do you support the right of other countries -- say Russia, China or Pakistan -- to make pre-emptive strikes like this against any enemies they choose?

11. Will you ask Congress to approve the invasion?

12. Only one of our European allies supports the invasion of Iraq and all of the Arab countries oppose it. Does that concern you? ;

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