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3/3/03 - THE DREAM OF A POST-SADDAM IRAQ - 2003-03-03

If Saddam Hussein refuses to meet the demands of the United Nations, the United States is prepared to lead a coalition of nations to disarm the Iraqi dictator. "The danger posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons [of mass destruction] cannot be ignored or wished away," said President George W. Bush. "The danger must be confronted."

The end of Saddam Hussein's regime would bring freedom to the Iraqi people, who live in fear under a dictator who has brought them nothing but war, misery, and torture. The end of Saddam Hussein's regime would show, in the words of President Bush, "the power of freedom to. . . .bring hope and progress into the lives of millions." The passing of Saddam Hussein's regime will give other regimes a clear warning that support for terrorism will not be tolerated. It will deprive terrorist networks of a wealthy patron that pays for terrorist training and offers rewards to families of suicide bombers. And without outside support for terrorism, Palestinians who are working for democracy will be in a better position to choose new leaders who would strive for peace. As President Bush said, "Old patterns of conflict in the Middle East can be broken, if all concerned will let go of bitterness, hatred, and violence, and get on with the serious work of economic development, political reform, and reconciliation."

The end of Saddam Hussein's regime could set in motion progress toward a democratic Palestinian state. With the threat of terrorism removed, the government of Israel would be expected to support the creation of a viable Palestinian state and to work as quickly as possible toward a final agreement with the Palestinians. In the words of President Bush, "As progress is made toward peace, settlement activity in the occupied territories must end. And the Arab states will be expected to meet their responsibilities to oppose terrorism, to support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Palestine, and state clearly they will live in peace with Israel."

The United States hopes war can be avoided. But one way or another, the regime of Saddam Hussein will be disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction. "The security of our nation and the hope of millions depend on us," said President Bush. "We go forward with confidence, because we trust in the power of human freedom to change lives and nations."