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Bush Says Trusting Saddam 'Not a Strategy,' 'Not an Option'

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2003 – "Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option," President George W. Bush told Congress and the nation Jan. 28 during his State of the Union speech.

The president answered questions about why Iraq is a crisis now. He said the Iraqi dictator has weapons of mass destruction and will share them with terror groups.

"Before Sept. 11, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained," he said. "But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy networks are not easily contained."

The president asked Americans to imagine the suicide terrorists who attacked the United States if they had been armed by Iraq. He said terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction could "bring a day of horror like one we have never known."

The president said the United States will ask the U.N. Security Council to convene on Feb. 5 to consider Iraq's continuing defiance. He said Secretary of State Colin Powell would present information and intelligence about Iraq's illegal weapons of mass destruction programs, its attempts to hide those weapons from inspectors and its links to terrorist groups. Bush stated that the United States will consult with allies and the United Nations, but he said if Saddam Hussein does not disarm, "for the safety of our people and the safety of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him."

Bush also spoke directly to the members of the armed forces. "Some crucial hours may lay ahead," he said. "In those hours, the success of our cause will depend on you. Your training has prepared you, your honor will guide you, you believe in America, and America believes in you."

Bush also attempted to reassure the Iraqi people that the United States separates the regime from the population. "I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: The enemy is not surrounding your country; the enemy is ruling your country," he said. "And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation."

As is fitting in a State of the Union address, Bush spoke about many other programs and proposals. He also reported on the global war on terrorism. "There are days that our fellow citizens do not hear news of the war on terror," he said. "There is never a day that I do not learn of another threat or receive reports of operations in progress or give an order in this global war against a scattered network of killers. The war goes on, and we are winning."

Bush cited a number of terrorist plots that have been foiled and terror groups left leaderless. He said more than 3,000 terrorists have been arrested around the world, and many others have been killed.

Within the United States, homeland security has been strengthened and Bush thanked the Congress for its support of fielding a limited ballistic missile defense beginning this year. The president also said he is asking for $6 billion to fund Project BioShield. If approved, the project would be a major research and production effort to guard Americans against bioterrorism. The money would go to make effective vaccines and treatments available quickly against such agents as anthrax, botulinum toxin, ebola and plague.

"We must assume our enemies will use these diseases as weapons, and we must act before the dangers are upon us," he said.

Bush told Congress that he had instructed the leaders of the FBI, the CIA, the new Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department to develop a Terrorist Threat Integration Center to merge and analyze all threat information in a single location. "Our government must have the very best information possible, and we will use it to make sure the right people are in the right places to protect all our citizens," he said.

The president stressed a number of times that the greatest dangers to freedom are rogue nations possessing weapons of mass murder. He said those countries could use those weapons for blackmail, terror and mass murder. "They could also give those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation," he said.

Last year, the president lumped Iraq, Iran and North Korea together as an "axis of evil." He spoke of U.S. efforts to influence the other two countries of the axis.

He said that different threats require different strategies. "In Iran, we continue to see a government that represses its people, pursues weapons of mass destruction and supports terror," he said. "We also see Iranian citizens risking intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty and human rights and democracy. Iranians, like all people, have a right to choose their own government and determine their own destiny -- and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom."

The North Korean leaders continue to starve and oppress their people. "Throughout the 1990s, the United States relied on a negotiated framework to keep North Korea from gaining nuclear weapons," Bush said. "We now know that that regime was deceiving the world and developing those weapons all along. And today the North Korean regime is using its nuclear program to incite fear and seek concessions. America and the world will not be blackmailed."

He said the United States would work with South Korea, Japan, China and Russia to find a peaceful solution. "The North Korean regime will find respect in the world and revival for its people only when it turns away from its nuclear ambitions," he said.

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