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1/23/03 - BUSH ON IRAQ - 2003-01-27

Saddam Hussein possesses some of the world’s deadliest weapons. He has used poison gas against the Kurdish minority in Iraq. He has fired ballistic missiles at Israel, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia and coalition forces during the Persian Gulf War.

In 1991, as a provision of the Gulf War cease-fire, the United Nations required the Iraqi regime to relinquish weapons of mass destruction. Since then, Iraq has pursued a campaign of defiance, deception, and bad faith. The fundamental problem with Iraq remains Saddam Hussein, a dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction.

Saddam Hussein has already defied sixteen United Nations resolutions requiring him to disarm. Another resolution, passed in November, has returned weapons inspectors to Iraq. It’s the first time the inspectors have been back since Iraq ceased all cooperation with them in December 1998.

But so far, Saddam Hussein is not disarming. As President George W. Bush said, “It appears to be a rerun of a bad movie. He is delaying, he is deceiving, he is asking for time. He’s playing hide-and-seek with the inspectors.”

The U.S. has made it clear. The U.S. is committed to working with the rest of the world to make Saddam disarm. He has been given ample time to disarm. But, said President Bush, Saddam is “employing the tricks of the past today.... He wants to focus the attention of the world on inspectors. This is not about inspectors,” said President Bush. “This is about a disarmed Iraq.... [H]ow much time do we need to see clearly that he’s not disarming?”

Saddam Hussein continues to deceive and delay. As Mr. Bush said, “Time is running out.... In the name of peace [Saddam Hussein] must disarm. And we will lead a coalition of willing nations to disarm him. Make no mistake about that,” said President Bush. “He will be disarmed.”