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SHOWDOWN WITH IRAQ

News Conference Excerpts

March 07, 2003|From Associated Press

IRAQI ARMS

In New York tomorrow, the United Nations Security Council will receive an update from the chief weapons inspector. The world needs him to answer a single question: Has the Iraqi regime fully and unconditionally disarmed as required by Resolution 1441 or has it not?

Iraq's dictator has made a public show of producing and destroying a few missiles, missiles that violate the restrictions set out more than 10 years ago.

Yet our intelligence shows that even as he is destroying these few missiles, he has ordered the continued production of the very same type of missiles.

Iraqi operatives continue to hide biological and chemical agents to avoid detection by inspectors.... We know from multiple intelligence sources that Iraqi weapons scientists continue to be threatened with harm should they cooperate with U.N. inspectors....

These are not the actions of a regime that is disarming. These are the actions of a regime engaged in a willful charade.... The attacks of September the 11th, 2001, show what the enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with weapons of mass destruction.

TERRORISM

I understand that in order to win the war against terror, there must be a united effort to do so. And we must work together to defeat terror.

Iraq is a part of the war on terror. Iraq is a country that has got terrorist ties, it's a country with wealth, it's a country that trains terrorists, a country that could arm terrorists. And our fellow Americans must understand, in this new war against terror, that we not only must chase down Al Qaeda terrorists, we must deal with weapons of mass destruction.... It's now time for this issue to come to a head at the Security Council, and it will.

NORTH KOREA

This is a regional issue. I say regional issue because there's a lot of countries that have got a direct stake in whether or not North Korea has nuclear weapons. We've got a stake as to whether North Korea has a nuclear weapon. China clearly has a stake as to whether or not North Korea has a nuclear weapon. South Korea, of course, has a stake. Japan has got a significant stake.... Russia has a stake.

So, therefore, I think the best way to deal with this is in multilateral fashion by convincing those nations that they must stand up to their responsibility, along with the United States, to convince Kim Jong Il that the development of a nuclear arsenal is not in his nation's interests.

IRAQ DIPLOMACY

This is the last phase of diplomacy. A little bit more time: Saddam Hussein has had 12 years to disarm. He is deceiving people. This is important for our fellow citizens to realize that if he really intended to disarm like the world has asked him to do, we would know whether he was disarming. He's trying to buy time.... The risk of doing nothing, the risk of hoping that Saddam Hussein changes his mind and becomes a gentle soul, the risk that somehow inaction will make the world safer, is a risk I'm not willing to take for the American people.

DISAGREEMENT AMONG FRIENDS

I think if you remember back prior to the resolution coming out of the United Nations last fall ... if I remember correctly, there was a lot of doubt as to whether or not we were even going to get any votes. We would get our own, of course.

And the vote came out 15 to nothing.... And I think you will see when it's all said and done, if we have to use force, a lot of nations will be with us.

You clearly name some that -- France and Germany express their opinions. We have a disagreement over how best to deal with Saddam Hussein. I understand that.

Having said that, they're still our friends, and we'll deal with them as friends. We've got a lot of common interests.

GOD AND FREEDOM

One of the things we love in America is freedom.... Liberty is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to each and every person. And that's what I believe....

I'm convinced that a liberated Iraq will be important for that troubled part of the world. The Iraqi people are plenty capable of governing themselves. Iraq's a sophisticated society. Iraq's got money. Iraq will provide a place where people can see that the Shia and the Sunni and the Kurds can get along in a federation. Iraq will serve as a catalyst for change.... And if we go to war, there will be a regime change. And replacing this cancer inside of Iraq will be a government that represents the rights of all the people.

SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION

No matter what the whip count is, we're calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council.... It's time for people to show their cards, let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam....

I'm confident the American people understand that when it comes to our security, if we need to act, we will act. And we really don't need United Nations approval to do so.... It's Saddam's choice. He's the person that can make the choice of war and peace. Thus far, he's made the wrong choice. If we have to, for the sake and the security of the American people, for the sake of peace in the world and for freedom to the Iraqi people, we will disarm Saddam Hussein. And by we, it's more than America. A lot of nations will join us.

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