The fate of the current Iraqi regime is being determined by its own actions. President George W. Bush said, “Saddam Hussein knows precisely what he can and must do to avoid conflict. We have made that clear. The world has spoken with one voice.” The United Nations Security Council has made it clear: Iraq is required to cooperate in full with U-N inspectors to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, or face the consequences.
Iraq’s record makes it clear that this is necessary. The Saddam Hussein regime has used chemical weapons against minority groups such as the Kurds and against Iran. Saddam Hussein started the Persian Gulf War by invading Kuwait in 1990. During the 1991 fighting, he launched Scud missiles against Saudi Arabia, Israel, and coalition forces in the Gulf. As a condition for ending the war in 1991, Saddam Hussein agreed to disarm. But four years ago, United Nations weapons inspectors concluded that Iraq had failed to account for large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. In December 2002, Iraq issued a declaration supposedly outlining all aspects of its weapons of mass destruction programs. But that document contained the usual gaps, omissions, and deceptions.
“The Iraqi dictator did not even attempt to submit a credible declaration,” said President Bush. “We can now be certain that he holds the United Nations and the U-N Security Council and its resolutions in contempt. He really doesn’t care about the opinion of mankind. Saddam Hussein,” said President Bush, “was given a path to peace. Thus far, he has chosen the path of defiance.”
Even now, Saddam Hussein could end his defiance. But time is running out. For the U.S. and its allies, the use of military force is the last option. “Yet,” said President Bush, “if force becomes necessary to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and enforce the will of the United Nations, if force becomes necessary to secure our country and to keep the peace, America will act deliberately.”