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2/3/03 - STATE OF THE UNION - IRAQ - 2003-02-03

The “gravest danger facing America and the world,” said President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address, “is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. These regimes could use such weapons for blackmail, terror, and mass murder. They could also give or sell those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation.”

The most dangerous outlaw regime is that of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. A dozen years ago, Saddam Hussein agreed to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction. But as United Nations weapons inspections have made clear, said President Bush, “The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. . .he is deceiving.”

Before they were forced out of Iraq in 1998, U-N inspectors uncovered evidence that the Saddam Hussein regime had the means to produce thousands of liters of anthrax and botulinum toxin capable of killing millions of people. It is further estimated that Iraq had hundreds of tons of sarin, mustard, and V-X chemical agents, along with some thirty-thousand munitions capable of delivering them. U-N inspectors are now back in Iraq. But the regime of Saddam Hussein has not provided them with the required evidence to show that these weapons have been destroyed. It has also been reported that Iraq is continuing its efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

Moreover, as President Bush pointed out, there is evidence from many sources “that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaida. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.”

Referring to the September 11th, 2001, attacks on the U.S., Mr. Bush said, “Imagine those nineteen hijackers with other weapons and other plans, this time armed by Saddam Hussein.” If terrorists were to slip one vial or canister of chemical agents or lethal viruses into the U.S., he said, it could “bring a day of horror like none we have ever known. We will do everything in our power,” said President Bush, “to make sure that that day never comes.”

The U.S., like the world community, continues to hope that Iraq will quickly act on its own to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction. “But let there be no misunderstanding,” said President Bush. “If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.”