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3/6/03 - BUSH ON LIBERATING IRAQ - 2003-03-07

Iraq said it would destroy its chemical and biological weapons, its ballistic missiles with a range of more than one-hundred-fifty kilometers, and its nuclear weapons program. This requirement was set by the United Nations as a condition for ending the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Since then, more than a dozen United Nations resolutions have called for Iraq to disarm. The latest was passed by the U-N Security Council in November. But Iraq continues to deceive the U-N.

The United States, its friends and allies are committed to confronting the danger posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. “This dictator,” said President George W. Bush, “will not be allowed to intimidate and blackmail the civilized world, or to supply his terrible weapons to terrorist groups.”

But more than security is at stake. President Bush said that the U.S. also stands for “the advance of freedom and opportunity and hope. The lives and freedom of the Iraqi people matter little to Saddam Hussein, but they matter greatly to us.”

Saddam Hussein has a long history of committing crimes against the Iraqi people, including the Kurdish minority. If war comes, Saddam could target civilians or use them as human shields. Saddam Hussein, said Mr. Bush, “could encourage ethnic violence. He could destroy natural resources. Or, worst of all, he could use his weapons of mass destruction.”

In order to minimize the suffering of Iraq's people, the U.S.-led coalition, said President Bush, “will deliver medicine to the sick, and make sure that Iraq’s fifty-five-thousand food distribution sites, operating with supplies from the oil-for-food program, are stocked and open as soon as possible."

The U.S. will also lead in carrying out the work of destroying chemical and biological weapons, providing security, and protecting the territorial integrity of Iraq. The U.S. has no desire to determine the precise form of Iraq’s new government. “That choice,” said President Bush, “belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet [the U.S.] will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another. All Iraqis must have a voice in the new government, and all citizens must have their rights protected.”