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1/25/03 - THE IRAQI THREAT - 2003-01-27

Few current dictators have shown the same willingness and ability to use weapons of mass destruction as Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. As President George W. Bush said, “Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave and gathering threat.” Iraq is a danger to its neighbors and to international peace and stability.

For more than a decade, the United Nations has tried peacefully to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. But Iraq has continued to defy the U-N.

U-N weapons inspectors are in Iraq now, for the first time since 1998. But as U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, “The test is whether or not Iraq is going to cooperate.” The burden is not on the U-N to demonstrate that Iraq has given up its weapons of mass destruction. The burden is on Iraq to verifiably disarm.

So far, Iraq has failed the test. Iraq, said Mr. Rumsfeld, has “submitted a fraudulent declaration [to the U-N about its weapons of mass destruction]. There are great gaps between their records with respect to anthrax and botulism and sarin and V-X.”

War with Iraq is not the first choice. War is the last choice. “The hope,” said Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, “is that Iraq will be cooperative. If they’re not, the hope is that Saddam Hussein will leave the country.... If not, the hope is that people of the country will take back [Iraq] and their government from this vicious regime.”

The U.S. and its friends and allies are prepared to do whatever is necessary to make Saddam Hussein comply with the U-N requirement that Iraq disarm.