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Rumsfeld: America Wouldn't Move on Iraq Alone

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2002 – Should President Bush decide military action against Iraq is necessary, the United States would not take such action alone, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today.

Speaking to CNN International's Jim Clancy, Rumsfeld called the international coalition fighting terrorism "breathtaking in its breadth and its depth." He noted Bush got 90 nations to cooperate in various ways. "It's the largest coalition in the history of humankind," Rumsfeld said.

He went on to add there's no reason such a coalition wouldn't again cooperate to move against Saddam Hussein should Bush and the United Nations deem it necessary.

"There are dozens of countries who have supported the United States and are supporting the United States, and in the event something is decided, I can assure you there will be a large number of countries participating," Rumsfeld said.

Other Bush administration officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, have said recently that Iraq could possibly meet U.N. requirements with Hussein remaining in power.

They have said publicly that disarmament is the bottom-line goal and suggested Hussein could maintain rule in Iraq, despite a longstanding U.S. policy supporting regime change in that country, if he agreed to disarm and allow U.N. weapons inspectors to verify disarmament.

Rumsfeld today dismissed this as unlikely. "That's like saying what if I decided to jump over the moon," he said. "The likelihood of (Hussein agreeing to such conditions) is so small."

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