- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 8, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Excerpts from President Bush's address to the nation last night:
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 11-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.
We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September 11, 2001, 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.
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 U.N. 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.
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.
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, U.N. 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.
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 90 terrorist attacks in 20 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 Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq.
These include one very senior al Qaeda 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 Qaeda members in bomb making, poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September 11, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.
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.
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.
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 11 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 11. 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."
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 U.N. inspections program was met with systematic deception.
After 11 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.
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.
By taking these steps, and only by taking these steps, the Iraqi regime has an opportunity to avoid conflict.
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.
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 U.N. 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 11 showed our country that vast oceans no longer protect us from danger.
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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