Congress, President Agree on Iraq Resolution
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2002 President Bush and leaders of the House and Senate gathered at the White House Wednesday to endorse a bipartisan resolution on Iraq.
Bush said the resolution, approved by the House and now before the U.S. Senate, shows American unity. The resolution "is clear, and it is strong," he said.
The president has been working with congressional leaders to craft the resolution. He said the resolution would show to all nations U.S. resolve to confront Saddam Hussein and make Iraq follow U.N. Security Council demands.
"In Baghdad, the regime will know that full compliance with all U.N. security demands is the only choice, and the time remaining for that choice is limited," Bush said.
No American wants war, he said, but Congress confirming the United State's willingness to use force against Iraq "is the best way to ensure compliance and avoid conflict."
"Saddam must disarm," Bush said. "If, however, he persists in his defiance, the use of force may become unavoidable. That course of action may bring many sacrifices, yet delay in decision and inaction could lead to a massive and sudden horror. By timely and resolute action we can defend ourselves and shape a peaceful future."
The president referred to Iraq's proven chemical and biological weapons programs as dangers to the United States and the world. He said Iraq has the scientists and facilities needed to build nuclear weapons and is seeking nuclear material to do so.
The Iraqi regime also has had dealings with terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda. Bush said the nexus of a rogue regime with these weapons and terror organizations that want to use them against the United States is a unique and dangerous threat.
The president said Saddam Hussein's regime has a history of buying time with "hollow promises."
"They move incriminating evidence to stay ahead of inspectors," Bush said. "They concede just enough to escape punishment and then violate every pledge when the attention of the world is turned away."
House Minority Leader Rep. Dick Gephardt said the bipartisan group has crafted a resolution all can agree with. He said everyone's goal "is that Iraq is disarmed."
Gephardt said Bush has agreed to a number of changes to the original resolution. These include stressing priority of U.S. diplomatic efforts at the United Nations and limiting the scope of the authorization.
The president also agreed to send "presidential determinations" to Congress before U.S armed forces may be used against Iraq.
Such determinations would "include assurances by the president that he has exhausted diplomatic means to address this threat and that any military action against Iraq will not undermine ongoing efforts in the war on terrorism," Gephardt said.
Both houses of Congress will debate the issue. The final resolution could be approved next week.