Bush Says Saddam Hussein 'Must Be Stopped'
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sep. 26, 2002 Saddam Hussein "must be stopped" before he has the means to terrorize and dominate the region and to threaten the United States, its friends and allies, President Bush said today.
"The dangers we face will only worsen from month to month and from year to year. To ignore these threats is to encourage them," Bush said after a bipartisan congressional meeting at the White House.
The United States refuses to "live in a future of fear," the president said. "We're determined to build a future of security. All of us long for peace, peace for ourselves, peace for the world. Passing a strong U.N. Security Council resolution, Bush said, would send a clear message to the world and to the Iraqi regime that the demands of the U.N. Security Council must be met. "The Iraqi dictator must be disarmed," he said. "These requirements will be met, or they will be enforced."
The danger to America is grave and growing, Bush said. The Iraqi regime has biological and chemical weapons and is building the facilities needed to make more. British officials, he noted, say the Iraqi regime could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes if given the order.
"The regime is seeking a nuclear bomb and, with fissile material, could build one within a year," Bush said.
Iraq has used weapons of mass destruction on its neighbors and its own citizens, he added. "The Iraqi regime practices the rape of women as a method of intimidation, and the torture of dissenters and their children."
Iraq has responded to Security Council resolutions with "defiance, bad faith and deception," for more than a decade, Bush said. "We know that the Iraqi regime is led by a dangerous and brutal man. We know he's actively seeking the destructive technologies to match his hatred."
The Iraqi regime also has "long-standing and continuing ties to terrorist organizations, and there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq," he said. "Each passing day could be the one on which the Iraqi regime gives anthrax or VX nerve gas -- or some day, a nuclear weapon -- to a terrorist ally."
During a Sept. 24 photo opportunity with Colombian President Alvaro Aribe in the Oval Office, Bush called Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda equally bad, evil and destructive.
"You can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror," Bush said. The Iraqi leader and the global terrorist network are both risks and they're both dangerous.
"The difference, of course, is that al Qaeda likes to hijack governments. Saddam Hussein is a dictator of a government," he said. "Al Qaeda hides; Saddam doesn't. But the danger is that they work in concert. The danger is that al Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world."
The American people understand that life has changed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack last year, he said, and they should expect their president to do everything possible to protect the homeland.
"I am absolutely determined to make sure that 10 years from now we don't look back and say, 'What happened? Why did America go soft? Why did we ignore true threats that face(d) our people?'" he said.
Protecting the American people is his main obligation, he said. "It's the most important job this president will have, and it's the most important job future presidents will have, because the nature of war has changed, (and) we're vulnerable."
Bush said he remains determined to pursue enemies who want to hurt America and to hold people accountable.
"We will continue to fight terror," he said. "It's our obligation, our duty. History has called us into action."