With these words, President George W. Bush put Saddam Hussein on notice: his possession of weapons of mass destruction --and his dictatorship -- are coming to an end: "All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within forty-eight hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing."
The security of the world requires disarming and removing Saddam Hussein now. Intelligence gathered by the U.S. and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. Saddam Hussein has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people. And he has aided, trained, and harbored terrorists. The United States and its allies will remove Saddam Hussein from power because, as Mr. Bush said, "the risk of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over."
For over a decade, the U.S. and other nations have patiently tried to disarm Saddam Hussein without war. After the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Saddam pledged to reveal and destroy all his weapons of mass destruction. Since then, more than a dozen resolutions calling on Iraq to disarm were passed by the United Nations Security Council. Hundreds of weapons inspectors were sent to oversee the disarmament. But the good faith of the U.S. and its allies was never returned. As President Bush said, "Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again -- because we are not dealing with peaceful men."
Saddam Hussein has deceived and defied the world for the last time. As President Bush said, "The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed."