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1/27/03 - BUSH ON WHY THE WORLD MUST ACT - 2003-01-28

The United Nations Security Council has given Saddam Hussein a clear message: the Iraqi dictator must comply with U-N resolutions and disarm. He must destroy his weapons of mass destruction.

Saddam Hussein is adept at deceiving, delaying, and denying. He was given eleven years to disarm. Now Saddam Hussein is asking for more time. He wants to give U-N weapons inspectors the runaround. Saddam Hussein wants to play hide and seek. He’s not interested in disarming.

“It’s time...for Saddam Hussein to be held to account,” said President George W. Bush. “We must not be fooled by the ways of the past.... For the sake of peace, we must not let him play a game....

If Saddam Hussein will not disarm,” said Mr. Bush, “the United States of America and friends of freedom will disarm Saddam Hussein.”

If Saddam refuses to disarm, there will be serious consequences for him. And there will be serious consequences for any members of the Iraqi military who use weapons of mass destruction on U.S.-led coalition troops or on civilians in Iraq. As Mr. Bush put it, “Should any Iraqi officer or soldier receive an order from Saddam Hussein, or his sons, or any of the killers who occupy the high levels of their government, my advice is, don’t follow that order. Because if you choose to do so, when Iraq is liberated, you will be treated [and] tried [prosecuted] as a war criminal.”

There will be serious consequences, but better ones, for the people of Iraq. If the U.S.-led coalition is forced to act, the Iraqi people will gain freedom from oppression, freedom from torture, and freedom from murder.

“We’ve got a lot of challenges when it comes to keep[ing] the peace,” said President Bush. But the U.S. “will lead the world to peace, so that not only our children, but children in the far reaches of our globe, can grow up in a peaceful society.”