- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 29, 2005

From Nov. 10, 1998, State Department Daily Press Briefing:

Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin: With respect to Iraq, let me say that we obviously prefer a peaceful resolution in which Saddam agrees to comply with [U.N. Security] Council resolutions and cooperate with UNSCOM. But we have a lot of experience dealing with Saddam Hussein. For over seven years, [Iraq’s] leadership has relentlessly deceived and obstructed efforts by the international community to identify and destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein has misled fellow Arab leaders about his intention to invade Kuwait [in 1990]. He lied to UNSCOM when he said that he did not weaponize VX [nerve gas], and the Iraqi leadership lied to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan when it signed the agreement pledging full and unfettered access for UN inspectors and then failed to implement it.

Question: Given that catalogue of vices, how can the U.S. deal with an Iraq in any circumstances with Saddam still president? Does he have to leave?

Mr. Rubin: We’ve stated very clearly that it is up to Saddam Hussein to comply with the resolutions of the Security Council that lay out the needs and requirements, including weapons of mass destruction… in which case we are prepared to see an adjustment in the sanctions regime. That is our view. We’ve never expressed a great deal of optimism that he would do so, but that is our view.

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