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2/11/03 - BUSH STATEMENT ON IRAQ - 2003-02-12

For a dozen years, Iraq has violated United Nations Security Council resolutions requiring it to account for and eliminate all programs for weapons of mass destruction. And those violations continue today. That is clear from U-N weapons inspections and intelligence information collected by the United States and other countries.

As President George W. Bush said, “The Iraqi regime has actively and secretly attempted to obtain equipment needed to produce chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.” Among other things, said Mr. Bush, “witnesses have informed us that Iraq has at least seven mobile factories for the production of biological agents, equipment mounted on trucks and rails to evade discovery.”

Moreover, the Iraqi regime has acquired and tested the means to deliver weapons of mass destruction. On February 5th at the U-N, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell showed a film of an Iraqi Mirage aircraft with a fuel tank modified to spray biological agents over wide areas. Iraq has also developed spray devices that could be used on unmanned aerial vehicles with ranges far beyond what is permitted by the U-N Security Council.

That is not the only threat that Iraq poses to the U.S. and the rest of the world. Weapons of mass destruction might be passed to terrorists, who would not hesitate to use them. As President Bush pointed out, Iraqi dictator “Saddam Hussein has longstanding, direct and continuing ties to terrorist networks. Senior members of Iraqi intelligence and al-Qaida have met at least eight times since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making. . .experts to work with al-Qaida. Iraq has also provided al-Qaida with chemical and biological weapons training.”

On September 11th, 2001, the American people saw what the al-Qaida terrorists could do by turning four airplanes into weapons. “We will not wait,” said President Bush, “to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons.”

The U.S. would welcome and support a new resolution which makes clear that the U-N Security Council stands behind its previous demands that Iraq eliminate all programs for weapons of mass destruction. “Yet resolutions mean little without resolve,” said President Bush. “And the United States, along with a growing coalition of nations, will take whatever action is necessary to defend ourselves and disarm the Iraqi regime.”