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3/11/03 - BUSH CITES IRAQ’S NONCOMPLIANCE - 2003-03-11

Saddam Hussein has had a chance to disarm. He has had twelve years in which to get rid of his chemical and biological weapons, eliminate his ballistic missiles with a range of more than one-hundred-fifty kilometers, and end his nuclear weapons program. In November, United Nations Security Council resolution fourteen-forty-one gave the Iraqi dictator one last chance.

But he has not disarmed. Iraq continues to deceive the U-N. As President George W. Bush said, “If the Iraqi regime were disarming we would know it, because we would see it. Iraq’s weapons would be presented to [U-N weapons] inspectors, and the world would witness their destruction.”

Mr. Bush said that “If the world fails to confront the threat posed by the Iraqi regime, refusing to use force, even as a last resort, free nations would assume immense and unacceptable risks.”

Saddam Hussein has a history of reckless aggression. He has fought with Iran and invaded Kuwait. He has tortured and murdered Iraqi citizens, including the Kurdish minority. And Iraq is a country with terrorist ties. Saddam Hussein provides funding and training and a safe haven to terrorists. As President Bush said, “The cause of peace will be advanced only when the terrorists lose a wealthy patron and protector, and when the dictator is fully and finally disarmed.”

The hope of doing nothing, the risk of hoping that Saddam Hussein changes his mind and becomes a gentle soul is unrealistic. The U.S. and its friends and allies do not want to go to war. “But,” said Mr. Bush, “if we do go to war, we will disarm Iraq. And...there will be a regime change. And replacing this cancer inside Iraq will be a government that represents the rights of all the people.” Saddam Hussein is the person who can make the choice of war or peace. “Thus far,” said President Bush, “he’s made the wrong choice. If we have to...for the sake of peace in the world, and for freedom to the Iraqi people, [the U.S., its friends and allies]...will disarm Saddam Hussein.”