|Bush Takes Iraq Case to American People|
As the U.S. Congress debates a resolution authorizing him to use military force against Iraq, President Bush attempted to explain to the American people why Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein must be removed from power... and soon.
Speaking from Cincinnati, Ohio, President Bush accused the Hussein regime of refusing to comply with U.N. arms-development sanctions placed against him as part of the 1990 Gulf War peace accords, developing and concealing weapons of mass destruction, and of supporting global terrorism.
In his address, the president attempted to respond to questions the American people had about the dangers of Iraq and of his plans to respond using military force.
Why Iraq and Why Now?
Responding to the question of what makes the terrorist threat posed by Iraq different from those posed by other countries, Bush stated, "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.... By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities, by the merciless nature of its regime, Iraq is unique."
Citing the Hussein's regime's repeated demonstrations of hostility for the U.S., Bush repeated his demand that Baghdad immediately disclose and destroy its weapons of mass destruction. "Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous tyrant, who has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people," Bush said. "The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time."
"We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas," said Bush.
What About the War on Terror?
In response to suggestions that concentrating on Iraq would compromise U.S. efforts in the war on terrorism, Bush stated that dealing with the threat of Iraq was, in fact, "crucial to winning the war on terror." Citing information showing Iraq had trained al Qaeda members in "bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases," Bush added, "we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America."
"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," said the president.
Effect of the Use of Power Resolution?
Addressing the resolution, currently being debated in Congress, authorizing him to use military force against Iraq, President Bush explained that its passage did not mean that war was imminent or unavoidable. Instead, said the president, "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."
Iraq After Saddam Hussein?
Explaining his vision of life in Iraq after the removal from power of Saddam Hussein, President Bush said the United States would see to it that the people of Iraq enjoyed a free and better life. "America is a friend to the people of Iraq," he said. "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."
What Must Iraq Do to Avoid War?
Calling on Saddam Hussein to disarm his nation or be disarmed by the forces of a U.S.-led world coalition, President Bush said, "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."
Iraqi Military Officers Warned
Suggesting that Hussein, faced with the fall of his regime, might order the use chemical and biological weapons on his own people, warned Iraqi military leaders against following such orders. "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." Bush further warned that Iraqi military leaders who did not refuse Hussein's orders to use weapons of mass destruction would be pursued and punished as war criminals.
"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," Bush stated.
"We refuse to live in fear."
Stating that while he hoped military action against Iraq would not be required, Bush said it might be both unavoidable and difficult. Calling extended delay of action against Iraq to be "the riskiest of all options," Bush contended that "the longer we wait, the stronger and bolder Saddam Hussein will become."
"As Americans, we want peace -- we work and sacrifice for peace. But there can be no peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless and aggressive dictator. I'm not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein," said President Bush.
Suggesting that failure to take immediate action against Iraq would serve to "embolden other tyrants, allow terrorists access to new weapons and new resources, and make blackmail a permanent feature of world events," thus condemning America to live in fear.
"That is not the America I know," said Bush. "That is not the America I serve. We refuse to live in fear."
"The number of wars which have happened or will happen in the world will always be found to be in proportion to the number and weight of the causes, whether real or pretended, which provoke or invite them." -- John Jay, 1787 in Federalist 3