Under the terms of the cease-fire that ended the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Iraq was required to relinquish all weapons of mass destruction and end all programs to develop such weapons. In November, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution fourteen-forty-one, which gave Iraq one last chance to disarm peacefully or “face serious consequences.”
On February 5th, Secretary of State Colin Powell told the U-N Security Council that Iraq has failed to disclose those weapons. In the words of President George W. Bush, "The Iraqi regime's violations of Security Council resolutions are evident, they are dangerous to America and the world, and they continue to this hour."
Saddam Hussein has failed to account for a vast arsenal of deadly biological and chemical weapons. In fact, his regime is working to conceal its weapons materials and to hide or intimidate key Iraqi scientists. At the same time, Saddam has secretly attempted to obtain equipment needed to produce chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Iraq has at least seven mobile factories for the production of biological agents -- equipment mounted on trucks and rails to evade discovery.
One of the greatest dangers is that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction might be passed to terrorists who would not hesitate to use them. Senior members of Iraqi intelligence and al-Qaida have met at least eight times since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document-forgery experts to work with al-Qaida. Iraq has provided al-Qaida with chemical and biological weapons training. "Saddam Hussein," said President Bush, "has longstanding, direct, and continuing ties to terrorist networks."
Twelve years after Saddam Hussein first agreed to disarm and more than ninety days after the U-N Security Council passed resolution fourteen-forty-one, the civilized world is faced with a serious decision. As President Bush said, "Saddam Hussein was required to make a full declaration of his weapons programs. He has not done so. Saddam Hussein was required to cooperate fully in the disarmament of his regime. He has not done so. Saddam Hussein was given a final chance. He is throwing away that chance."
The U.S. would support a new resolution making it clear that the U-N Security Council stands behind its previous demands. Yet as President Bush said, U-N resolutions "mean little without resolve. The United States, along with a growing coalition of nations, will take whatever action is necessary to defend ourselves and disarm the Iraqi regime."