Doing Nothing About Iraq Is Not An Option, Bush Says
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2002 Doing nothing about the serious threat Saddam Hussein poses to the world is not an option for the United States, President Bush said today.
Speaking during a meeting with Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress, Bush said he looks forward to an open dialogue with Congress about the threat Iraq poses.
He said the United States would work with the United Nations to counter the Iraqi threat.
Bush said he will remind the United Nations that for 11 years, Saddam Hussein "has side-stepped, 'crawfished,' wheedled out of any agreement he had made not to develop weapons of mass destruction, (and) agreements he's made to treat the people within his country with respect," he said.
"I'm going to call upon the world to recognize that (Hussein) is stiffing the world, and I will talk about ways to make sure that he fulfills his obligations," the president said.
Reporters asked Bush if getting U.N. arms inspectors back into Iraq was an option.
"The issue is not inspectors; the issue is disarmament," Bush responded. "This is a man who said he would not arm up. This is a man who told the world that he would not harbor weapons of mass destruction. That's the primary issue. And I'll be discussing ways to make sure that that is the case."
Bush will meet with British Prime Minister Tony Blair this weekend. Blair, talking to reporters in Britain Sept. 3, said the problem Iraq poses "is not one for the United States alone." He defended U.S. calls for regime change in Baghdad, and told reporters that Iraq is "not some benign little democracy."
Blair said Saddam tortures and executes political enemies and "was probably responsible for up to 100,000 Kurdish people dying in a brutal campaign." He reiterated that Iraq has used weapons of mass destruction and is seeking to build more and more powerful weapons.
"Either the (Iraqi) regime functions in an entirely different way, or the regime has to change," Blair told the reporters
In the next few days, Bush said he will also meet with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Cretien, and he said he would speak with the leaders of Russia, China and France. Following those conversations he will speak at the United Nations.
"I am going to state clearly to the United Nations what I think," Bush said. "And I think that (Hussein) has not fulfilled any of the obligations that he made to the world. And I believe it's important for the world to deal with this man."