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Military Action Last Option Against Iraq, Bush Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2003 – Military action against Iraq is America's last option, President Bush told an audience today in Kennesaw, Ga.

The president then listed nonoptions. "Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not an option, he said. "Denial and endless delay in the face of growing danger is not an option. Leaving the lives and the security of the American people at the mercy of this dictator and his weapons of mass destruction (is) not an option."

Bush said the United States and its allies are ready to defend the peace against an aggressive dictator. Confronting Iraq over its noncompliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions will serve as an example to other dictators who wish to disturb the peace.

"The disarmament of Iraq will also demonstrate that free nations have the will and resolve to defend the peace," he said. "By defeating this threat, we will show other dictators that the path of aggression will lead to their own ruin. By defeating the threat of Iraq, we will show that the world is able and prepared to meet future dangers wherever they arise. Our goal is peace, and achieving peace requires resolve and action by free nations."

Bush said that if America is forced to act, it will not only help the security of the United States but would liberate Iraq from the rule of an oppressive dictator. He told the Iraqi people that their day of liberation is drawing near and vowed to help them build a country that is "disarmed and peaceful and united and free."

Bush left Georgia for his home in Crawford, Texas. He is scheduled to meet this weekend with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.

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