Bush Calls on Congress to "Meet Great Dangers"
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2003 On the first day of the 108th Congress, President Bush said today, the nation's elected officials "have a responsibility to meet great dangers to our country wherever they gather."
Speaking in Chicago, Bush said today's threats include global terrorism, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program and the nuclear weapons threat from North Korea. Responding to these different circumstances requires different strategies, the president said, "yet the nation's resolve in each case will be clear."
"We will not permit any regime to threaten the freedom and security of the American people or our allies and friends around the world," Bush declared.
U.S. officials, he said, will continue to hunt down the terrorists across the world.
"Cell by cell, we are disrupting their plans. One by one, we're showing these merciless killers the meaning of justice," he said.
Turning to Iraq, the president noted that Saddam Hussein's outlaw regime "lives by violence and deception and is arming to threaten the civilized world."
For the sake of peace, Bush stressed, the Iraqi dictator "must disarm himself of all weapons of mass destruction and prove that he has done so."
Should Saddam fail to do so, Bush vowed, the United States would lead "a coalition of the willing to disarm the Iraqi regime of weapons of mass destruction and free the Iraqi people."
Like Iraq, North Korea's regime has expelled international inspectors and is trying to defy the world through its nuclear weapons program, Bush said, and the United States and other nations will also confront this threat.
Working with countries in the region, the president said he believes diplomacy will work.
"We have no aggressive intent, no argument with the North Korean people," he said. "We're interested in peace on the Korean Peninsula."
The president's remarks were part of a speech announcing a new growth and jobs plan to strengthen the U.S. economy.