From a statement by Joseph Sisco, former under secretary of state for political affairs, before the House Armed Services Committee on Dec. 20:

As the national dialogue continues, let us each, critics and supporters, try to put ourselves in the position of the president. He has organized an unprecedented global and regional coalition. He has developed a political, economic and military cordon around Saddam. He has eliminated the threat to Saudi Arabia. He has prevented a stranglehold by Saddam Hussein on the economies of the industrial democracies. He is seeking to threaten war to avoid war. He has to convince Saddam Hussein the military option is credible. At the same time, he must reassure Congress and the American people he is not rushing precipitously into war.

Let us debate vigorously. But let us resist the temptation of partisanship. Let us remember the the admonition of my favorite philosopher, Charlie Brown. He said plaintively: "The world is full of individuals ready to function in an advisory capacity." ...

I want sanctions to work. I do not believe prolonging them for many months will succeed. I welcome the Bush administration efforts at diplomacy. I strongly prefer successful diplomacy to war provided we do not pay a price to a dictator who seeks dominance in the Gulf and a stronghold on the economies of the industrial democracies. But if diplomacy and sanctions do not produce Saddam's unconditional compliance with the demands of the U.N. Security Council, the avoidance of war cannot become a sole object of policy. I say with a heavy heart and as a former infantry officer who experienced war first hand, that we must then use force, use it overwhelmingly, at an early date after Jan. 15 and seek to conclude war as quickly as possible.