From a Feb. 6 statement by Rep. Dan Glickman (D-Kansas):

In terms of diplomacy, the events leading up to the Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait are shocking examples of failure to protect or even recognize American interests. President Bush and Secretary of State Baker received warnings from overseas and at home, including ominous reports of statements from Saddam himself that Iraq would invade Kuwait. The Israeli government had warned us for years about Saddam's ambitions and ability to carry them out.

Nonetheless, as Iraqi troops began organizing for an invasion, Baker sent the message to Saddam through high-level State Department officials and, most poignantly, the hapless U.S. ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, that the United States took no position on border disputes in the area. In late July, State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler echoed that policy, stating that the United States had no "defense treaties" or "special defense or security commitments" with Kuwait.

Some members of Congress too participated in sending a mixed message to Saddam. On April 12, 1990, Saddam met with a delegation of senators. According to press reports, members of the delegation conveyed the message that President Bush opposed efforts in Congress to impose economic sanctions on Iraq in response to human rights abuses. One senator reportedly blamed the American press for negative reports about the Iraqi leader... .

The White House, Department of State and leaders in Congress must clearly convey American interests... . Mixed messages, missed signals and principles ignored for political convenience do not advance U.S. leadership in the world, but confuse and cheapen it.