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Bush: Saddam Hussein Has Had Success 'Gaming the System'

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2003 – President Bush suspects Iraq's Saddam Hussein "will try to fool the world one more time," he said at the White House today.

"After all, he's had a history of doing that for 12 years," the president told reporters before a meeting of the National Economic Council. "He's been successful at gaming the system, and our attitude is it's now time for him to fully disarm."

Speaking on the proposed resolution the United States and other countries presented to the U.N. Security Council Feb. 24, Bush said U.N. approval would be "helpful and useful" but not necessary in using force in Iraq. Security Council Resolution 1441, approved unanimously in November, he said, already authorizes the use of force to disarm Iraq if it fails to do so willingly itself.

The president acknowledged there are risks involved in going to war, but said there are more risks involved in doing nothing. "The risk of the security of this country being jeopardized at the hands of a madman with weapons of mass destruction far exceeds the risks of any action we may be forced to take," he said.

He also addressed concerns among critics that a war would be too costly and that Bush should be more concerned about the future of America. The president assured that he has his own concerns about the future. "I worry about a future in which Saddam Hussein gets to blackmail and/or attack," he said. "I worry about a future in which terrorist organizations are fueled and fronted by Saddam Hussein."

Earlier this morning in New York, chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix disclosed that his team had received a letter in which Iraq claims it "found an R-400 bomb containing liquid."

Blix didn't give any details about the liquid except to say the Iraqis purportedly found the bomb at a site familiar to the inspectors as one the Iraqis used to dispose of biological weapons in the past.

He refused to comment about a television news interview in which Hussein says Iraq would not destroy its Al Samoud 2 missiles, as Blix had ordered. "This is not an official response to us," Blix said. "We're still awaiting official response."

(The R-400 is an Iraqi aerial bomb that can carry up to 90 liters of biological or chemical agents. According to the latest "Medical Management of Biological Casualties Handbook" published by the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md., U.N. weapons inspectors received information in 1995 revealing that Iraq in December 1990 -- just prior to the start of the Gulf War -- had filled 100 R-400 bombs with botulinum toxin, 50 with anthrax, and 16 with aflatoxin.)

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