On to Iraq
Following are the two most important speeches regarding the
paramount issue of the day Iraq.
President George W. Bush speech to the UN, 9/12/02
We meet one year and one day after a terrorist attack brought
grief to my country, and to the citizens of many countries.
Yesterday, we remembered the innocent lives taken that terrible
morning. Today, we turn to the urgent duty of protecting other
lives, without illusion and without fear.
We have accomplished much in the last year – in Afghanistan
and beyond. We have much yet to do – in Afghanistan and
beyond. Many nations represented here have joined in the fight
against global terror – and the people of the United States are
The United Nations was born in the hope that survived a world
war – the hope of a world moving toward justice, escaping old
patterns of conflict and fear. The founding members resolved
that the peace of the world must never again be destroyed by the
will and wickedness of any man. We created a United Nations
Security Council, so that – unlike the League of Nations – our
deliberations would be more than talk, and our resolutions would
be more than wishes. After generations of deceitful dictators,
broken treaties and squandered lives, we dedicate ourselves to
standards of human dignity shared by all, and to a system of
security defended by all.
Today, these standards, and this security, are challenged.
Our commitment to human dignity is challenged by persistent
poverty and raging disease. The suffering is great, and our
responsibilities are clear. The United States is joining with the
world to supply aid where it reaches people and lift up lives to
extend trade and the prosperity it brings and to bring medical
care where it is desperately needed
Our common security is challenged by regional conflicts – ethnic
and religious strife that is ancient but not inevitable. In the
Middle East, there can be no peace for either side without
freedom for both sides. America stands committed to an
independent and democratic Palestine, living beside Israel in
peace and security. Like all other people, Palestinians deserve a
government that serves their interests and listens to their voices.
My nation will continue to encourage all parties to step up to
their responsibilities as we seek a just and comprehensive
settlement to the conflict.
Above all, our principles and our security are challenged today
by outlaw groups and regimes that accept no law of morality and
have no limit to their violent ambitions. In the attacks on
America a year ago, we saw the destructive intentions of our
enemies. This threat hides within many nations, including my
own. In cells and camps, terrorists are plotting further
destruction and building new bases for their war against
civilization. And our greatest fear is that terrorists will find a
shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies
them with the technologies to kill on a massive scale.
In one place – in one regime – we find all these dangers, in their
most lethal and aggressive forms exactly the kind of aggressive
threat the United Nations was born to confront.
Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation.
And the regime’s forces were poised to continue their march to
seize other countries and their resources. Had Saddam Hussein
been appeased instead of stopped, he would have endangered the
peace and stability of the world. Yet this aggression was stopped
- by the might of coalition forces, and the will of the United
To suspend hostilities and to spare himself, Iraq’s dictator
accepted a series of commitments. The terms were clear: to him,
and to all. And he agreed to prove he is complying with every
one of those obligations.
He has proven instead only his contempt for the United Nations,
and for all his pledges. By breaking every pledge – by his
deceptions, and by his cruelties – Saddam Hussein has made the
case again himself.
In 1991, Security Council Resolution 688 demanded that the
Iraqi regime cease at once the repression of its own people,
including the systematic repression of minorities – which, the
Council said, “threatened international peace and security in the
This demand goes ignored. Last year, the UN Commission on
Human Rights found that Iraq continues to commit “extremely
grave violations” of human rights and that the regime’s
repression is “all pervasive.” Tens of thousands of political
opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary
arrest and imprisonment, summary executions, and torture by
beating, burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation, and rape.
Wives are tortured in front of their husbands; children in the
presence of their parents – all of these horrors concealed from the
world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state.
In 1991, the UN Security Council, through Resolutions 686 and
687, demanded that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and
other lands. Iraq’s regime agreed. It broke its promise. Last
year the Secretary-General’s high-level coordinator of this issue
reported that Kuwaiti, Saudi, Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian,
Egyptian, Bahraini, and Omani nationals remain unaccounted for
– more than 600 people. One American pilot is among them.
In 1991, the UN Security Council, through Resolution 687,
demanded that Iraq renounce all involvement with terrorism, and
permit no terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq. Iraq’s regime
agreed. It broke its promise. In violation of Security Council
Resolution 1373, Iraq continues to shelter and support terrorist
organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel, and
Western governments. Iraqi dissidents abroad are targeted for
murder. In 1993, Iraq attempted to assassinate the Emir of
Kuwait and a former American President. Iraq’s government
openly praised the attacks of September 11th. And al-Qaeda
terrorists that escaped from Afghanistan are known to be in Iraq.
In 1991, the Iraqi regime agreed to destroy and stop developing
all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and to
prove to the world it has done so by complying with rigorous
inspections. Iraq has broken every aspect of this fundamental
From 1991 to 1995, the Iraqi regime said it had no biological
weapons. After a senior official in its weapons program defected
and exposed this lie, the regime admitted to producing tens of
thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents
for use with Scud warheads, aerial bombs, and aircraft spray
tanks. UN inspectors believe Iraq has produced two to four
times the amount of biological agents it declared, and has failed
to account for more than three metric tons of material that could
be used to produce biological weapons. Right now, Iraq is
expanding and improving facilities that were used for the
production of biological weapons.
United Nations inspections also reveal that Iraq likely maintains
stockpiles of VX, mustard, and other chemical agents, and that
the regime is rebuilding and expanding facilities capable of
producing chemical weapons.
And in 1995 – after four years of deception – Iraq finally
admitted it had a crash nuclear weapons program prior to the
Gulf War. We know now, were it not for that war, the regime in
Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than
Today, Iraq continues to withhold important information about
its nuclear program – weapons design, procurement logs,
experiment data, an accounting of nuclear materials, and
documentation of foreign assistance. Iraq employs capable
nuclear scientists and technicians. It retains physical
infrastructure needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iraq has made
several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to
enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should Iraq acquire fissile
material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a
year. And Iraq’s state-controlled media has reported numerous
meetings between Saddam Hussein and his nuclear scientists,
leaving little doubt about his continued appetite for these
Iraq also possesses a force of Scud-type missiles with ranges
beyond the 150 kilometers permitted by the UN. Work at testing
and production facilities shows that Iraq is building more long-
range missiles that could inflict mass death throughout the
In 1990, after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the world imposed
economic sanctions on Iraq. Those sanctions were maintained
after the war to compel the regime’s compliance with Security
Council resolutions. In time, Iraq was allowed to use oil
revenues to buy food. Saddam Hussein has subverted this
program, working around the sanctions to buy missile technology
and military materials. He blames the suffering of Iraq’s people
on the United Nations, even as he uses his oil wealth to build
lavish palaces for himself, and arms his country. By refusing to
comply with his own agreements, he bears full guilt for the
hunger and misery of innocent Iraqi citizens.
In 1991, Iraq promised UN inspectors immediate and
unrestricted access to verify Iraq’s commitment to rid itself of
weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles. Iraq broke
this promise, spending seven years deceiving, evading and
harassing UN inspectors before ceasing cooperation entirely.
Just months after the 1991 cease-fire, the Security Council twice
renewed its demand that the Iraqi regime cooperate fully with
inspectors, “condemning” Iraq’s “serious violations” of its
obligations. The Security Council again renewed that demand in
1994 and twice more in 1996, “deploring” Iraq’s “clear
violations” of its obligations. The Security Council renewed its
demand three more times in 1997, citing “flagrant violations”
and three more times in 1998, calling Iraq’s behavior “totally
unacceptable.” And in 1999, the demand was renewed yet again.
As we meet today, it has been almost four years since the last
UN inspectors set foot in Iraq – four years for the Iraqi regime to
plan and build and test behind a cloak of secrecy.
We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder
even when inspectors were in the country. Are we to assume that
he stopped when they left? The history, the logic and the facts
lead to one conclusion. Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave and
gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the
evidence. To assume this regime’s good faith is to bet the lives
of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And
this is a risk we must not take.
Delegates to the General Assembly: We have been more than
patient We have tried sanctions. We have tried the carrot of “oil
for food” and the stick of coalition military strikes. But Saddam
Hussein has defied all these efforts and continues to develop
weapons of mass destruction. The first time we may be
completely certain he has nuclear weapons is when, God forbid,
he uses one. We owe it to all our citizens to do everything in our
power to prevent that day from coming.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair speech of 9/10/02
Tomorrow, September 11, is the anniversary of the worst
terrorist act in history. Let us today, once again, remember and
mourn the dead. Let us give thanks to the firefighters, the police,
the ambulance and medical services, the ordinary citizens of
New York. Their courage was the best answer to the terrorists’
cruelty. Terrorists can kill and maim the innocent, but they have
not won and they never will.
On September 11 last year, with the world still reeling from the
shock of events, it came together to demand action. But suppose
I had come last year on the same day as this year, 10 September.
Suppose I had said to you: there is a terrorist network called al-
Qaeda. It operates out of Afghanistan. It has carried out several
attacks and we believe it is planning more. It has been
condemned by the UN in the strongest terms. Unless it is
stopped, the threat will grow. And so I want to take action to
Your response, and probably that of most people, would have
been very similar to the response of some of you yesterday on
Iraq. There would have been few takers for dealing with it and
probably none for taking military action of any description.
So let me tell you why I say Saddam Hussein is a threat that has
to be dealt with. He has twice before started wars of aggression.
Over one million people died in them. When the weapons
inspectors were evicted from Iraq in 1998 there were still enough
chemical and biological weapons remaining to devastate the
entire Gulf region.
I sometimes think that there is a kind of word fatigue about
chemical and biological weapons. We’re not talking about some
mild variants of everyday chemicals, but anthrax, sarin and
mustard gas – weapons that can cause hurt and agony on a mass
scale beyond the comprehension of most decent people.
Uniquely, Saddam has used these weapons against his own
people, the Iraqi Kurds. Scores of towns and villages were
attacked. Iraqi military officials dressed in full protection gear
were used to witness the attacks and visited later to assess the
damage. Wounded civilians were normally shot on the scene. In
one attack alone, on the city of Halabja, it is estimated that 5,000
were murdered and 9,000 wounded in this way. All in all in the
north around 100,000 Kurds died, according to Amnesty
International. In the destruction of the marshlands in southern
Iraq, around 200,000 people were removed. Many died.
Saddam has a nuclear weapons program too, denied for years,
that was only disrupted after inspectors went in to disrupt it. He
is in breach of 23 outstanding UN obligations requiring him to
admit inspectors and to disarm.
People say: but containment has worked. Only up to a point. In
truth, sanctions are eroding. He now gets around $3 billion
through illicit trading every year. It is unaccounted for, but
almost certainly used for his weapons programs.
Every day this year and for years, British and American pilots
risk their lives to police the no-fly zones. But it can’t go on
forever. For years when the weapons inspectors were in Iraq,
Saddam lied, concealed, obstructed and harassed them. For the
last four years there have been no inspections, no monitoring,
despite constant pleas and months of negotiating with the UN. In
July, Kofi Annan ended his personal involvement in talks
because of Iraqi intransigence.
Meanwhile Iraq’s people are oppressed and kept in poverty.
With the Taliban gone, Saddam is unrivalled as the world’s worst
regime: brutal, dictatorial, with a wretched human rights record.
Given that history, I say to you: to allow him to use the weapons
he has or get the weapons he wants, would be an act of gross
irresponsibility and we should not countenance it.
Up to this point, I believe many here in this hall would agree.
The question is: how to proceed? I totally understand the
concerns of people about precipitate military action. Military
action should only ever be a last resort. On the four major
occasions that I have authorized it as Prime Minister, it has been
when no other option remained.
I believe it is right to deal with Saddam through the United
Nations. After all, it is the will of the UN he is flouting. He, not
me or George Bush, is in breach of UN resolutions. If the
challenge to us is to work with the UN, we will respond to it.
But if we do so, then the challenge to all in the UN is this: the
UN must be the way to resolve the threat from Saddam, not
Let it be clear that he must be disarmed. Let it be clear that there
can be no more conditions, no more games, no more
prevaricating, no more undermining of the UN’s authority. And
let it be clear that, should the will of the UN be ignored, action
will follow. Diplomacy is vital. But when dealing with
dictators, and none in the world is worse than Saddam,
diplomacy has to be backed by the certain knowledge in the
dictator’s mind that behind the diplomacy is the possibility of
force being used.
Because I say to you in all earnestness: if we do not deal with the
threat from this international outlaw and his barbaric regime, it
may not erupt and engulf us this month or next; perhaps not even
this year or the next. But it will at some point. And I do not
want it on my conscience that we knew the threat, saw it coming
and did nothing.
I know this is not what some people want to hear. But I ask you
only this: to listen to the case I will be developing over the
coming weeks and reflect on it. And before there is any question
of taking military action, I can categorically assure you that
Parliament will be consulted and will have the fullest opportunity
to debate the matter and express its view. On Kosovo, on
Afghanistan, we did not rush. We acted in a sensible, measured
way, when all other avenues were exhausted and with the fullest
possible debate. We will do so again.
But Saddam is not the only issue. We must restart the Middle
East peace process. We must work with all concerned, including
the U.S., for a lasting peace, which ends the suffering of both the
Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and the Israelis at the
hands of terrorists. It must be based on the twin principles of an
Israel safe and secure within its borders, and a viable Palestinian
This must go alongside renewed efforts on international
terrorism. That threat has not gone away. I cannot emphasize
this too strongly.
Put it alongside India and Pakistan, climate change and world
poverty, and it is a daunting international agenda. But the most
difficult thing is to persuade people that all issues are part of the
same agenda. A foreign journalist said to me the other day: “I
don’t understand it Mr. Blair. You’re very left on Africa and
Kyoto. But you’re very right on weapons of mass destruction
and terrorism. It doesn’t make sense.”
But it does. The key characteristic of today’s world is
interdependence. Your problem becomes my problem. They
have to be tackled collectively. All these problems threaten the
ability of the world to make progress in an orderly and stable
way. Climate change threatens our environment. Africa, if left
to decline, will become a breeding ground for extremism.
Terrorism and weapons of mass destruction combine modern
technology with political or religious fanaticism. If unchecked
they will, as September 11 showed, explode into disorder and
Due to travel, Hott Spotts will not return until October 3rd.