- The Washington Times - Friday, September 6, 2002

SOUTH BEND, Ind. One day after opening a dialogue with Congress to convince lawmakers that Saddam Hussein poses a serious threat to the United States, President Bush yesterday began trying to persuade Americans to support the ouster of the Iraqi dictator.

"I want the American people to fully understand all the consequences," the president told about 1,000 supporters gathered for his speech in an airplane hanger.

"That's why we'll share information as much as we possibly can with the American people; not only with the American people but with our friends and allies around the world."

Mr. Bush said the world cannot ignore the threat Saddam presents.

"This is a man who used poisons on his own people. He's invaded two countries. Two countries. He's a person who has ignored all admonitions by international organizations.

"The world cannot allow the world's worst leaders to hold America blackmailed, to threaten America, to threaten our peace and threaten our friends and allies with the world's worst weapons," Mr. Bush said to applause.

Earlier in the day in a speech to about 5,000 supporters in Louisville, Ky., Mr. Bush said Saddam is a serious threat because he develops weapons of mass destruction.

The president vowed to be patient and solicit views of U.S. lawmakers and world leaders before deciding what course of action to take with the Iraqi leader.

"I look forward to a dialogue. I'm a patient man. I've got tools we've got tools at our disposal," he said.

In his speeches, Mr. Bush called for ousting Saddam a goal approved unanimously in the Senate in 1998 and announced he would be consulting the other four members of the permanent U.N. Security Council in the next few days.

"Yesterday I began an important discussion about our future, about peace, about freedom; a discussion that I will continue to have with the United States Congress, Republican and Democrat alike; a discussion I will carry on with the American people.

"A discussion I will begin at the United Nations next week; a discussion I will have with the prime minister of Britain Saturday; a discussion I'll have with the prime minister of Canada on Monday; a discussion I'll be having with the president of Russia, [the president] of China, president of France tomorrow."

In his calls to those leaders, Mr. Bush said he would "remind them of the facts."

The president's four speeches yesterday two at fund-raisers are a continuation of his widely publicized views on Saddam, the White House said.

"The president will continue to speak out because he has a case to make; he will continue to make it, and the American people deserve to hear it they deserve to hear all sides of it," Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Asked if Mr. Bush supports an emerging proposal for weapons inspectors, ousted from Iraq in 1998, to return with the backing of troops, the spokesman said: "The president supports disarmament. The goal is to make certain that the United States knows, the United Nations knows and Iraq's neighbors know that Iraq is living up to its commitments."

Dismissing lawmakers' complaints that the Bush administration has offered no new, compelling information for attacking Iraq, Mr. Fleischer said enough evidence of Saddam's danger already exists.

"The evidence as cited by Congress in 1998, when Congress overwhelmingly passed regime change, was Saddam Hussein's history of using military force to solve problems or to approach issues," said Mr. Fleischer.

"He has used military force when he invaded Iran. He used military force when he invaded Kuwait. He used military force when he launched ballistic missiles against Iran, against Saudi Arabia, against Israel."

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