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12/7/02 - THE DANGER POSED BY IRAQ - 2002-12-09

The terrorists who struck the United States on September 11th, 2001, are still at work. They no longer have a safe haven in Afghanistan. But the al-Qaida network still operates in more than fifty countries. It has murdered innocent people around the world, from Kuwait to Kenya, to Jordan, from Yemen to the Philippines. And the al-Qaida terrorists are determined to acquire weapons of mass destruction – chemical, biological, and nuclear.

There is a danger that al-Qaida or other terrorists will join outlaw regimes that have these weapons, and use them against the United States or members of the U.S.-led coalition. “That is why confronting the threat posed by Iraq is not a distraction from the war on terror,” said U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. “It is absolutely crucial to winning the war on terror.”

Mr. Cheney said, “Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror.” He used chemical weapons in his war against Iran and against Kurds in his own country. “His regime,” said Vice President Cheney, “has had high-level contacts with al-Qaida going back a decade and has provided training to al-Qaida terrorists.”

Iraq ceased all cooperation with inspectors in 1998. They were there to ensure that Iraq was disarming, a requirement imposed after Iraq lost the Gulf War in 1991. Recently, the Iraqi regime readmitted the inspectors, in response to U-N Security Council Resolution fourteen-forty-one.

For the inspections to be successful, Saddam Hussein must disclose the extent of his chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons. But said, Mr. Cheney, “Saddam has made such pledges before and he has violated them before.” This time deception will not be tolerated. This time, as President George W. Bush has said, delay and defiance will invite the severest consequences. The demands of the world will be met, or action will be taken. Either Saddam Hussein complies with the U-N resolution, or the U.S. and its allies will do it for him.