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2/5/03 - CHENEY ON WAR ON TERRORISM - 2003-02-07

Speaking about the global war on terrorism, Vice President Dick Cheney said, “We are defending both ourselves and the safety and survival of civilization.” Today, the U.S. leads a worldwide coalition that is sharing intelligence, hunting down terrorists, and freezing the assets of terrorist groups and front organizations. Al-Qaida has been deprived of its stronghold in Afghanistan. The U.S. and its allies have captured or killed leading al-Qaida terrorists and have disrupted their chain of command.

The global coalition against terrorism has dismantled terrorist cells in Italy, Spain, Britain, Germany, France, Singapore, and Malaysia. Moreover, millions of dollars in terrorist assets have been frozen. The U.S. and its allies have arrested more than three-thousand suspected terrorists worldwide, including many top al-Qaida leaders.

The al-Qaida terrorist network is a formidable enemy. Together with its local sympathizers, it operates in more than fifty countries. It is responsible for murdering people on the Indonesian island of Bali and in Kuwait, Yemen, and Jordan. Al-Qaida is also working to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. and its allies.

One potential source for these weapons is Iraq. As Vice President Cheney said, Iraq is run by a brutal dictator who has “ties to terror and a record of reckless aggression.” Twelve years ago, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein agreed to get rid of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. For twelve years, he has violated that agreement, pursuing chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.

In November, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution giving Iraq one last chance to disarm. But Saddam Hussein has made it clear that he has no intention of complying with the U-N’s demands. Saddam’s agents are hiding documents and materials from the U-N inspectors. Moreover, Saddam has decreed that scientists who cooperate with U-N inspectors will be killed along with their families.

As Vice President Cheney said, “Confronting the threat posed by Iraq is not a distraction from the war on terror; it is absolutely crucial to winning the war on terror. America seeks a world of peace, but we will not accept a serious threat to our country, to our friends, and to our allies.”