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Hussein Stands Out as Threat to World Peace, Rumsfeld Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2003 – Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is in a league of his own as a threat to world peace, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told business and community leaders here today.

While not discounting threats represented by Iran and North Korea, Rumsfeld told about 50 Joint Civilian Orientation Conference alumni from across America gathered at the Pentagon that Hussein "has set himself apart" as the global community's problem child.

Hussein, the secretary noted has invaded his neighbors, used chemical weapons on his own people, used chemical weapons on a neighbor and fired ballistic missiles into two or three of his neighbors.

And, Hussein has been sanctioned by the United Nations in 16 resolutions -- "and violated them all," Rumsfeld declared.

Diplomacy and economic sanctions have been employed over the past 11 years to corral the Iraqi dictator, Rumsfeld noted, but they've failed.

Hussein had promised to eliminate his weapons of mass destruction at the end of the 1990-91 Gulf War, but he still has them even though U.N. weapons inspectors are back in Iraq, Rumsfeld noted.

Not only that, but Hussein's regime has had continuous access to technology adaptable for weapons of war, provided by countries like Germany, France -- "and undoubtedly the United States," the secretary pointed out.

He said there is no country in the world other than Iraq where the United States and its coalition partners have exhausted all diplomatic and economic sanctions.

"None of it has worked," Rumsfeld noted, adding that with each passing month, Hussein's weapons programs "are becoming more mature -- more mature and more dangerous."

Iraq is a different situation from Iran and from North Korea, he said. That's not to say they aren't also on the terrorist list or they aren't also quite busy developing very lethal weapons, he remarked.

Patricia Du Mont, president of a consulting firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was one of the JCOC alumni who attended day-long briefings on the war on terrorism, military transformation, Afghanistan reconstruction and other topics. After Rumsfeld finished his talk with JCOC members, she asked that he autograph a photo of himself that had appeared in Vanity Fair magazine. He did.

"I think it's people like Donald Rumsfeld and the other people who were addressing us today that make us out in the community want to go out and do the things that we can to be supportive of initiatives of the Department of Defense, to support out military, and peace in the world," Du Mont said.

Initiated at the birth of the Defense Department in 1947, the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference is the defense secretary's outreach program to educate senior business and community leaders about the military through briefings, troop visits, and other activities. Air Force Lt. Col. Felecia Tavares, JCOC director, said today's briefings were the first involving a "reunion" of past conference attendees.

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