“Year after year,” as President George W. Bush pointed out in his January 28th State of the Union address, “Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks, to build and keep weapons of mass destruction.” And as the renewed United Nations weapons inspections demonstrate, the Iraqi dictator is still trying to conceal his weapons programs.
Why is he doing it? “The only possible use he could have for those weapons,” said President Bush, “is to dominate, intimidate, or attack. With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East, and create deadly havoc in that region.”
There is also another threat. As U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told the U-N Security Council on February 5th, Iraq’s support for terrorists goes back decades. Moreover, the U.S. has evidence of continuing high-level contacts between Iraqi intelligence and Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorists since the early 1990s.
Before al-Qaida’s September 11th, 2001, attacks on the U.S., many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. Even today, some say that no action should be taken until the threat is imminent. But as President Bush put it, “Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?”
“Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy and it is not an option,” said Mr. Bush. “The dictator who is assembling the world’s most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages, leaving thousands of [Iraq’s] own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained: by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation. . .and rape. If this is not evil,” said Mr. Bush, “then evil has no meaning.”
As President Bush said to the oppressed people of Iraq, “Your enemy is not surrounding your country; your enemy is ruling your country. And the day [Saddam Hussein] and his regime are removed from power will be the day of [Iraq’s] liberation.”