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10/10/2002

More of the Case Against Saddam

President George W. Bush 10/7/2002

Tonight I want to take a few minutes to discuss a grave threat to
peace, and America’s determination to lead the world in
confronting that threat.

The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi
regime’s own actions – its history of aggression, and its drive
toward an arsenal of terror.

Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War,
the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass
destruction to cease all development of such weapons and to stop
all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all
of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and
biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given
shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its
own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq’s eleven-year
history of defiance, deception, and bad faith.

We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent
history. On September 11, 2002, America felt its vulnerability –
even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We
resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every
threat, from any source, that could bring sudden terror and
suffering to America.

Members of the Congress of both political parties, and members
of the United Nations Security Council, agree that Saddam
Hussein is a threat to peace and must disarm. We agree that the
Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the
world with horrible poisons, and diseases, and gases, and atomic
weapons. Since we all agree on this goal, the issue is: “How can
we best achieve it?”

Many Americans have raised legitimate questions: About the
nature of the threat. About the urgency of action – and why be
concerned now? About the link between Iraq developing
weapons of terror, and the wider war on terror. These are all
issues we have discussed broadly and fully within my
Administration. And tonight, I want to share those discussions
with you.

First, some ask why Iraq is different from other countries or
regimes that also have terrible weapons. While there are many
dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone – because
it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place.
Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a
murderous tyrant, who has already used chemical weapons to kill
thousands of people. This same tyrant has tried to dominate the
Middle East, has invaded and brutally occupied a small neighbor,
has struck other nations without warning, and holds an
unrelenting hostility towards the United States.

By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities,
by the merciless nature of its regime, Iraq is unique. As a former
chief weapons inspector for the UN has said, “The fundamental
problem with Iraq remains the nature of the regime itself:
Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to
weapons of mass destruction.”

Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world.
The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with
time. If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today
– and we do – does it make any sense for the world to wait to
confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more
dangerous weapons?

In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the
head of Iraq’s military industries defected. It was then that the
regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than
30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The
inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two
to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of
biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and is
capable of killing millions.

We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of
chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, and VX
nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using
chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and
on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions
killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the
number of people who died in the attacks of September 11th.
And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding
facilities that it has used to produce chemical and biological
weapons.

Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or makes is a
direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf War in
1991. Yet Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these
weapons, despite international sanctions, UN demands, and
isolation from the civilized world.

Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds
of miles – far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and
other nations – in a region where more than 135,000 American
civilians and service members live and work. We have also
discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of
manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to
disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We
are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using UAVs for
missions targeting the United States. And of course,
sophisticated delivery systems are not required for a chemical or
biological attack – all that might be required are a small
container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to
deliver it.

And that is the source of our urgent concern about Saddam
Hussein’s links to international terrorist groups. Over the years,
Iraq has provided safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal,
whose terror organization carried out more than ninety terrorist
attacks in twenty countries that killed or injured nearly 900
people, including 12 Americans. Iraq has also provided safe
haven to Abu Abbas, who was responsible for seizing the Achille
Lauro and killing an American passenger. And we know that
Iraq is continuing to finance terror, and gives assistance to
groups that use terrorism to undermine Middle East peace.

We know that Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network share a
common enemy – the United States of America. We know that
Iraq and al-Qaida have had high-level contacts that go back a
decade. Some al-Qaida leaders who fled Afghanistan went to
Iraq.

These include one very senior al-Qaida leader who received
medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been
associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks.
We have learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaida members in bomb
making, poisons, and deadly gases. And we know that after
September 11th, Saddam Hussein’s regime gleefully celebrated
the terrorist attacks on America.

Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or
chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists.
Alliances with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack
America without leaving any fingerprints.

Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could
detract from the war against terror. To the contrary, confronting
the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror.
When I spoke to the Congress more than a year ago, I said that
those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists
themselves. Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the
instruments of terror, the instruments of mass death and
destruction. And he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too
great that he will use them, or provide them to a terror network.

Terror cells, and outlaw regimes building weapons of mass
destruction, are different faces of the same evil. Our security
requires that we confront both. And the United States Military is
capable of confronting both.

Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to
developing a nuclear weapon. We don’t know exactly, and that
is the problem. Before the Gulf War, the best intelligence
indicated that Iraq was eight to ten years away from developing a
nuclear weapon; after the war, international inspectors learned
that the regime had been much closer. The regime in Iraq would
likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993. The
inspectors discovered that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons
development program, had a design for a workable nuclear
weapon and was pursuing several different methods of enriching
uranium for a bomb. Before being barred from Iraq in 1998, the
International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled extensive
nuclear weapons-related facilities, including three uranium-
enrichment sites. That same year, information from a high-
ranking Iraqi nuclear engineer who had defected, revealed that
despite his public promises, Saddam Hussein had ordered his
nuclear program to continue.

The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear
weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings
with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his “nuclear
mujahideen” – his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs
reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part
of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase
high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for
gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear
weapons.

If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of
highly-enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it
could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year. And if we allow
that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed. Saddam Hussein
would be in a position to blackmail anyone who opposes his
aggression.

He would be in a position to dominate the Middle East. He
would be in a position to threaten America. And Saddam
Hussein would be in a position to pass nuclear technology to
terrorists.

Some citizens wonder: after eleven years of living with this
problem, why do we need to confront it now? There is a reason.
We have experienced the horror of September 11th. We have
seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes
into buildings full of innocent people. Our enemies would be no
less willing – in fact they would be eager – to use a biological, or
chemical weapon, or, when they have one, a nuclear weapon.

Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat
gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot
wait for the final proof – the smoking gun – that could come in
the form of a mushroom cloud. As President Kennedy said in
October of 1962: “Neither the United States of America nor the
world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception
and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small.
We no longer live in a world,” he said, “where only the actual
firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nation’s
security to constitute maximum peril.”

Understanding the threats of our time, knowing the designs and
deceptions of the Iraqi regime, we have every reason to assume
the worst, and we have an urgent duty to prevent the worst from
occurring.

Some believe we can address this danger by simply resuming the
old approach to inspections, and applying diplomatic and
economic pressure. Yet this is precisely what the world has tried
to do since 1991. The UN inspections program was met with
systematic deception. The Iraqi regime bugged hotel rooms and
offices of inspectors to find where they were going next. They
forged documents, destroyed evidence, and developed mobile
weapons facilities to keep a step ahead of inspectors. Eight so-
called presidential palaces were declared off-limits to unfettered
inspections. These sites actually encompass twelve square miles,
with hundreds of structures, both above and below the ground,
where sensitive materials could be hidden.

The world has also tried economic sanctions and watched Iraq
use billions of dollars in illegal oil revenues to fund more
weapons purchases, rather than providing for the needs of the
Iraqi people.

The world has tried limited military strikes to destroy Iraq’s
weapons of mass destruction capabilities only to see them
openly rebuilt, while the regime again denies they even exist.

The world has tried no-fly zones to keep Saddam from
terrorizing his own people and in the last year alone, the Iraqi
military has fired upon American and British pilots more than
750 times.

After eleven years during which we have tried containment,
sanctions, inspections, even selected military action, the end
result is that Saddam Hussein still has chemical and biological
weapons, and is increasing his capabilities to make more. And
he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon.

Clearly, to actually work, any new inspections, sanctions, or
enforcement mechanisms will have to be very different.
America wants the UN to be an effective organization that helps
to keep the peace. That is why we are urging the Security
Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough, immediate
requirements. Among those requirements, the Iraqi regime must
reveal and destroy, under UN supervision, all existing weapons
of mass destruction. To ensure that we learn the truth, the
regime must allow witnesses to its illegal activities to be
interviewed outside of the country. And these witnesses must be
free to bring their families with them, so they are all outside of
the country. And these witnesses must be free to bring their
families with them, so they are all beyond the reach of Saddam
Hussein’s terror and murder. And inspectors must have access to
any site, at any time, without pre-clearance, without delay,
without exceptions.

The time for denying, deceiving, and delaying has come to an
end. Saddam Hussein must disarm himself – or, for the sake of
peace, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.

Many nations are joining us in insisting that Saddam Hussein’s
regime be held accountable. They are committed to defending
the international security that protects the lives of both our
citizens and theirs. And that is why America is challenging all
nations to take the resolutions of the UN Security Council
seriously. Those resolutions are very clear. In addition to
declaring and destroying all of its weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq must end its support for terrorism. It must cease the
persecution of its civilian population. It must stop all illicit trade
outside the oil-for-food program. And it must release or account
for all Gulf War personnel, including an American pilot, whose
fate is still unknown.

By taking these steps, and only by taking these steps, the Iraqi
regime has an opportunity to avoid conflict. These steps would
also change the nature of the Iraqi regime itself. America hopes
the regime will make that choice. Unfortunately, at least so far,
we have little reason to expect it. This is why two
Administrations – mine and President Clinton’s – have stated
that regime change in Iraq is the only certain means of removing
a great danger to our Nation.

I hope this will not require military action, but it may. And
military conflict could be difficult. An Iraqi regime faced with
its own demise may attempt cruel and desperate measures. If
Saddam Hussein orders such measures, his generals would be
well advised to refuse those orders. If they do not refuse, they
must understand that all war criminals will be pursued and
punished. If we have to act, we will take every precaution that is
possible. We will plan carefully, we will act with the full power
of the United States Military, we will act with allies at our side
and we will prevail.

There is no easy or risk-free course of action. Some have argued
we should wait – and that is an option. In my view, it is the
riskiest of all options – because the longer we wait, the stronger
and bolder Saddam Hussein will become. We could wait and
hope that Saddam does not give weapons to terrorists, or develop
a nuclear weapon to blackmail the world. But I am convinced
that is a hope against all evidence. As Americans, we want
peace – we work and sacrifice for peace – and there can be no
peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless
and aggressive dictator. I am not willing to stake one American
life on trusting Saddam Hussein.

Failure to act would embolden other tyrants; allow terrorists
access to new weapons and new resources; and make blackmail a
permanent feature of world events. The United Nations would
betray the purpose of its founding, and prove irrelevant to the
problems of our time. And through its inaction, the United States
would resign itself to a future of fear.

That is not the America I know. That is not the America I serve.
We refuse to live in fear. This Nation – in world war and in Cold
War – has never permitted the brutal and lawless to set history’s
course. Now, as before, we will secure our Nation, protect our
freedom, and help others to find freedom of their own.

Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create
instability and make the situation worse. The situation could
hardly get worse, for world security, and for the people of Iraq.

The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam
Hussein were no longer in power, just as the lives of
Afghanistan’s citizens improved after the Taliban. The dictator
of Iraq is a student of Stalin, using murder as a tool of terror and
control within his own cabinet, and within his own army, and
even within his own family. On Saddam Hussein’s orders
opponents have been decapitated, wives and mothers of political
opponents have been systematically raped as a method of
intimidation, and political prisoners have been forced to watch
their own children being tortured.

America believes that all people are entitled to hope and human
rights – to the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. People
everywhere prefer freedom to slavery; prosperity to squalor; self-
government to the rule of terror and torture. America is a friend
to the people of Iraq. Our demands are directed only at the
regime that enslaves them and threatens us. When these
demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi
men, women, and children. The oppression of Kurds, Assyrians,
Turkomans, Shi’a, Sunnis, and others will be lifted. The long
captivity of Iraq will end, and an era of new hope will begin.
Iraq is a land rich in culture, resources, and talent. Freed from
the weight of oppression, Iraq’s people will be able to share in
the progress and prosperity of our time.

If military action is necessary, the United States and our allies
will help the Iraqi people rebuild their economy, and create the
institutions of liberty in a unified Iraq at peace with its neighbors.

Later this week the United States Congress will vote on this
matter. I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America’s
military, if it proves necessary, to enforce UN Security Council
demands. Approving this resolution does not mean that military
action is imminent or unavoidable. The resolution will tell the
United Nations, and all nations, that America speaks with one
voice and is determined to make the demands of the civilized
world mean something. Congress will also be sending a message
to the dictator in Iraq: that his only choice is full compliance –
and the time remaining for that choice is limited.

Members of Congress are nearing an historic vote, and I am
confident they will fully consider the facts and their duties.

The attacks of September 11th showed our country that vast
oceans no longer protect us from danger. Before that tragic date,
we had only hints of al-Qaida’s plans and designs. Today in
Iraq, we see a threat whose outlines are far more clearly defined
– and whose consequences could be far more deadly. Saddam
Hussein’s actions have put us on notice – and there is no refuge
from our responsibilities.

We did not ask for this present challenge, but we accept it. Like
other generations of Americans, we will meet the responsibility
of defending human liberty against violence and aggression. By
our resolve, we will give strength to others. By our courage, we
will give hope to others. By our actions, we will secure the
peace, and lead the world to a better day.

-----

Hott Spotts will return October 17.

Brian Trumbore


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-10/10/2002-      
Web Epoch NJ Web Design  |  (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.

Hot Spots

10/10/2002

More of the Case Against Saddam

President George W. Bush 10/7/2002

Tonight I want to take a few minutes to discuss a grave threat to
peace, and America’s determination to lead the world in
confronting that threat.

The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi
regime’s own actions – its history of aggression, and its drive
toward an arsenal of terror.

Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War,
the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass
destruction to cease all development of such weapons and to stop
all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all
of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and
biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given
shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its
own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq’s eleven-year
history of defiance, deception, and bad faith.

We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent
history. On September 11, 2002, America felt its vulnerability –
even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We
resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every
threat, from any source, that could bring sudden terror and
suffering to America.

Members of the Congress of both political parties, and members
of the United Nations Security Council, agree that Saddam
Hussein is a threat to peace and must disarm. We agree that the
Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the
world with horrible poisons, and diseases, and gases, and atomic
weapons. Since we all agree on this goal, the issue is: “How can
we best achieve it?”

Many Americans have raised legitimate questions: About the
nature of the threat. About the urgency of action – and why be
concerned now? About the link between Iraq developing
weapons of terror, and the wider war on terror. These are all
issues we have discussed broadly and fully within my
Administration. And tonight, I want to share those discussions
with you.

First, some ask why Iraq is different from other countries or
regimes that also have terrible weapons. While there are many
dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone – because
it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place.
Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a
murderous tyrant, who has already used chemical weapons to kill
thousands of people. This same tyrant has tried to dominate the
Middle East, has invaded and brutally occupied a small neighbor,
has struck other nations without warning, and holds an
unrelenting hostility towards the United States.

By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities,
by the merciless nature of its regime, Iraq is unique. As a former
chief weapons inspector for the UN has said, “The fundamental
problem with Iraq remains the nature of the regime itself:
Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to
weapons of mass destruction.”

Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world.
The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with
time. If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today
– and we do – does it make any sense for the world to wait to
confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more
dangerous weapons?

In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the
head of Iraq’s military industries defected. It was then that the
regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than
30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The
inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two
to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of
biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and is
capable of killing millions.

We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of
chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, and VX
nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using
chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and
on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions
killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the
number of people who died in the attacks of September 11th.
And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding
facilities that it has used to produce chemical and biological
weapons.

Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or makes is a
direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf War in
1991. Yet Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these
weapons, despite international sanctions, UN demands, and
isolation from the civilized world.

Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds
of miles – far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and
other nations – in a region where more than 135,000 American
civilians and service members live and work. We have also
discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of
manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to
disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We
are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using UAVs for
missions targeting the United States. And of course,
sophisticated delivery systems are not required for a chemical or
biological attack – all that might be required are a small
container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to
deliver it.

And that is the source of our urgent concern about Saddam
Hussein’s links to international terrorist groups. Over the years,
Iraq has provided safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal,
whose terror organization carried out more than ninety terrorist
attacks in twenty countries that killed or injured nearly 900
people, including 12 Americans. Iraq has also provided safe
haven to Abu Abbas, who was responsible for seizing the Achille
Lauro and killing an American passenger. And we know that
Iraq is continuing to finance terror, and gives assistance to
groups that use terrorism to undermine Middle East peace.

We know that Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network share a
common enemy – the United States of America. We know that
Iraq and al-Qaida have had high-level contacts that go back a
decade. Some al-Qaida leaders who fled Afghanistan went to
Iraq.

These include one very senior al-Qaida leader who received
medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been
associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks.
We have learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaida members in bomb
making, poisons, and deadly gases. And we know that after
September 11th, Saddam Hussein’s regime gleefully celebrated
the terrorist attacks on America.

Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or
chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists.
Alliances with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack
America without leaving any fingerprints.

Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could
detract from the war against terror. To the contrary, confronting
the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror.
When I spoke to the Congress more than a year ago, I said that
those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists
themselves. Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the
instruments of terror, the instruments of mass death and
destruction. And he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too
great that he will use them, or provide them to a terror network.

Terror cells, and outlaw regimes building weapons of mass
destruction, are different faces of the same evil. Our security
requires that we confront both. And the United States Military is
capable of confronting both.

Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to
developing a nuclear weapon. We don’t know exactly, and that
is the problem. Before the Gulf War, the best intelligence
indicated that Iraq was eight to ten years away from developing a
nuclear weapon; after the war, international inspectors learned
that the regime had been much closer. The regime in Iraq would
likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993. The
inspectors discovered that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons
development program, had a design for a workable nuclear
weapon and was pursuing several different methods of enriching
uranium for a bomb. Before being barred from Iraq in 1998, the
International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled extensive
nuclear weapons-related facilities, including three uranium-
enrichment sites. That same year, information from a high-
ranking Iraqi nuclear engineer who had defected, revealed that
despite his public promises, Saddam Hussein had ordered his
nuclear program to continue.

The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear
weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings
with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his “nuclear
mujahideen” – his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs
reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part
of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase
high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for
gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear
weapons.

If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of
highly-enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it
could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year. And if we allow
that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed. Saddam Hussein
would be in a position to blackmail anyone who opposes his
aggression.

He would be in a position to dominate the Middle East. He
would be in a position to threaten America. And Saddam
Hussein would be in a position to pass nuclear technology to
terrorists.

Some citizens wonder: after eleven years of living with this
problem, why do we need to confront it now? There is a reason.
We have experienced the horror of September 11th. We have
seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes
into buildings full of innocent people. Our enemies would be no
less willing – in fact they would be eager – to use a biological, or
chemical weapon, or, when they have one, a nuclear weapon.

Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat
gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot
wait for the final proof – the smoking gun – that could come in
the form of a mushroom cloud. As President Kennedy said in
October of 1962: “Neither the United States of America nor the
world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception
and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small.
We no longer live in a world,” he said, “where only the actual
firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nation’s
security to constitute maximum peril.”

Understanding the threats of our time, knowing the designs and
deceptions of the Iraqi regime, we have every reason to assume
the worst, and we have an urgent duty to prevent the worst from
occurring.

Some believe we can address this danger by simply resuming the
old approach to inspections, and applying diplomatic and
economic pressure. Yet this is precisely what the world has tried
to do since 1991. The UN inspections program was met with
systematic deception. The Iraqi regime bugged hotel rooms and
offices of inspectors to find where they were going next. They
forged documents, destroyed evidence, and developed mobile
weapons facilities to keep a step ahead of inspectors. Eight so-
called presidential palaces were declared off-limits to unfettered
inspections. These sites actually encompass twelve square miles,
with hundreds of structures, both above and below the ground,
where sensitive materials could be hidden.

The world has also tried economic sanctions and watched Iraq
use billions of dollars in illegal oil revenues to fund more
weapons purchases, rather than providing for the needs of the
Iraqi people.

The world has tried limited military strikes to destroy Iraq’s
weapons of mass destruction capabilities only to see them
openly rebuilt, while the regime again denies they even exist.

The world has tried no-fly zones to keep Saddam from
terrorizing his own people and in the last year alone, the Iraqi
military has fired upon American and British pilots more than
750 times.

After eleven years during which we have tried containment,
sanctions, inspections, even selected military action, the end
result is that Saddam Hussein still has chemical and biological
weapons, and is increasing his capabilities to make more. And
he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon.

Clearly, to actually work, any new inspections, sanctions, or
enforcement mechanisms will have to be very different.
America wants the UN to be an effective organization that helps
to keep the peace. That is why we are urging the Security
Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough, immediate
requirements. Among those requirements, the Iraqi regime must
reveal and destroy, under UN supervision, all existing weapons
of mass destruction. To ensure that we learn the truth, the
regime must allow witnesses to its illegal activities to be
interviewed outside of the country. And these witnesses must be
free to bring their families with them, so they are all outside of
the country. And these witnesses must be free to bring their
families with them, so they are all beyond the reach of Saddam
Hussein’s terror and murder. And inspectors must have access to
any site, at any time, without pre-clearance, without delay,
without exceptions.

The time for denying, deceiving, and delaying has come to an
end. Saddam Hussein must disarm himself – or, for the sake of
peace, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.

Many nations are joining us in insisting that Saddam Hussein’s
regime be held accountable. They are committed to defending
the international security that protects the lives of both our
citizens and theirs. And that is why America is challenging all
nations to take the resolutions of the UN Security Council
seriously. Those resolutions are very clear. In addition to
declaring and destroying all of its weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq must end its support for terrorism. It must cease the
persecution of its civilian population. It must stop all illicit trade
outside the oil-for-food program. And it must release or account
for all Gulf War personnel, including an American pilot, whose
fate is still unknown.

By taking these steps, and only by taking these steps, the Iraqi
regime has an opportunity to avoid conflict. These steps would
also change the nature of the Iraqi regime itself. America hopes
the regime will make that choice. Unfortunately, at least so far,
we have little reason to expect it. This is why two
Administrations – mine and President Clinton’s – have stated
that regime change in Iraq is the only certain means of removing
a great danger to our Nation.

I hope this will not require military action, but it may. And
military conflict could be difficult. An Iraqi regime faced with
its own demise may attempt cruel and desperate measures. If
Saddam Hussein orders such measures, his generals would be
well advised to refuse those orders. If they do not refuse, they
must understand that all war criminals will be pursued and
punished. If we have to act, we will take every precaution that is
possible. We will plan carefully, we will act with the full power
of the United States Military, we will act with allies at our side
and we will prevail.

There is no easy or risk-free course of action. Some have argued
we should wait – and that is an option. In my view, it is the
riskiest of all options – because the longer we wait, the stronger
and bolder Saddam Hussein will become. We could wait and
hope that Saddam does not give weapons to terrorists, or develop
a nuclear weapon to blackmail the world. But I am convinced
that is a hope against all evidence. As Americans, we want
peace – we work and sacrifice for peace – and there can be no
peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless
and aggressive dictator. I am not willing to stake one American
life on trusting Saddam Hussein.

Failure to act would embolden other tyrants; allow terrorists
access to new weapons and new resources; and make blackmail a
permanent feature of world events. The United Nations would
betray the purpose of its founding, and prove irrelevant to the
problems of our time. And through its inaction, the United States
would resign itself to a future of fear.

That is not the America I know. That is not the America I serve.
We refuse to live in fear. This Nation – in world war and in Cold
War – has never permitted the brutal and lawless to set history’s
course. Now, as before, we will secure our Nation, protect our
freedom, and help others to find freedom of their own.

Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create
instability and make the situation worse. The situation could
hardly get worse, for world security, and for the people of Iraq.

The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam
Hussein were no longer in power, just as the lives of
Afghanistan’s citizens improved after the Taliban. The dictator
of Iraq is a student of Stalin, using murder as a tool of terror and
control within his own cabinet, and within his own army, and
even within his own family. On Saddam Hussein’s orders
opponents have been decapitated, wives and mothers of political
opponents have been systematically raped as a method of
intimidation, and political prisoners have been forced to watch
their own children being tortured.

America believes that all people are entitled to hope and human
rights – to the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. People
everywhere prefer freedom to slavery; prosperity to squalor; self-
government to the rule of terror and torture. America is a friend
to the people of Iraq. Our demands are directed only at the
regime that enslaves them and threatens us. When these
demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi
men, women, and children. The oppression of Kurds, Assyrians,
Turkomans, Shi’a, Sunnis, and others will be lifted. The long
captivity of Iraq will end, and an era of new hope will begin.
Iraq is a land rich in culture, resources, and talent. Freed from
the weight of oppression, Iraq’s people will be able to share in
the progress and prosperity of our time.

If military action is necessary, the United States and our allies
will help the Iraqi people rebuild their economy, and create the
institutions of liberty in a unified Iraq at peace with its neighbors.

Later this week the United States Congress will vote on this
matter. I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America’s
military, if it proves necessary, to enforce UN Security Council
demands. Approving this resolution does not mean that military
action is imminent or unavoidable. The resolution will tell the
United Nations, and all nations, that America speaks with one
voice and is determined to make the demands of the civilized
world mean something. Congress will also be sending a message
to the dictator in Iraq: that his only choice is full compliance –
and the time remaining for that choice is limited.

Members of Congress are nearing an historic vote, and I am
confident they will fully consider the facts and their duties.

The attacks of September 11th showed our country that vast
oceans no longer protect us from danger. Before that tragic date,
we had only hints of al-Qaida’s plans and designs. Today in
Iraq, we see a threat whose outlines are far more clearly defined
– and whose consequences could be far more deadly. Saddam
Hussein’s actions have put us on notice – and there is no refuge
from our responsibilities.

We did not ask for this present challenge, but we accept it. Like
other generations of Americans, we will meet the responsibility
of defending human liberty against violence and aggression. By
our resolve, we will give strength to others. By our courage, we
will give hope to others. By our actions, we will secure the
peace, and lead the world to a better day.

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Hott Spotts will return October 17.

Brian Trumbore