August 15, 2002 11:00 pm

President Bush appears willing to finish the job that his father started a decade ago in the Persian Gulf War and put an end to the troubling reign of Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein.

A WASHINGTON POST-ABC News Poll this week indicated that 57 percent of Americans support the U.S. invading Iraq with ground troops with the mission of removing Hussein.

Several questions need to be answered, however, before U.S. soldiers set foot on Iraqi soil. The American people, and at the very least, the U.S. Congress, need to have the answers to such questions as how many casualties Americans can expect in the invasion. Where are Iraq's military strongholds, and can air strikes take them all out before our troops arrive? What is the expected toll among Iraqi forces and civilians? How will American allies be involved?

AND WHAT about the other nations in the Middle East? What will be their response to U.S. aggression? How long will U.S. military action in Iraq take?

What does America stand to gain through an invasion? Will it simply be a reduced threat to or can we expect greater stability throughout the Middle East as we rid the world of an evildoer?

What kind of government will be put in place in Iraq when Hussein is ousted? Will there be popular elections? How long will that take? Will peacekeeping forces be needed?

TO BE SURE, Saddam Hussein will be following all the media coverage as the United States plans its attack. Hussein may not know the exact hour or location of an invasion, but he will be forewarned. His best recourse would be to come running out into the street raising a white flag, but that won't happen. He has pledged to fight.

U.S. forces should have a clear idea of where Hussein is before an invasion occurs. It would be a shame if Hussein turned out to be just as elusive as Osama bin Laden has been in the 10-month war the United States has waged against terrorism.


Normal summertime wisdom suggests that people go west, especially to the Oregon coast, to cool off during the hot days of August.

ODDLY, THE REVERSE occurred Tuesday. While places like Pendleton, La Grande and Ontario were experiencing highs in the mid-90s, communities in Western Oregon were sweltering under much warmer, humidity-laden temperatures. Newport on the central coast hit 99, while Portland, Salem and Eugene all had temperatures over 100.

It's nice to view La Grande and the rest of Eastern Oregon as the cool place to be, even if it's for only one day during the summer.