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Bush Hopes for Peaceful Iraqi Disarmament

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2002 – Using military force against Iraq is President Bush's last choice, not his first.

"My hope is that we can achieve a disarmament of the Iragi regime peacefully," the president said Oct. 16 after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the White House. "We have no plans to use our military unless we need to."

Bush said he and Sharon talked about the desire for the U.N. Security Council "to be strong and for the nations that care about peace to see that Saddam is disarmed."

The United States is willing to work with the United Nations, but if the international organization is unable to act, Bush said, the United States would. "If after 11 years and 16 resolutions, they cannot bring themselves to disarm Saddam Hussein, then we will lead a coalition to do just that," Bush said.

In the meantime, he said, U.S. officials are giving the United Nations time "to listen to the arguments and to hopefully come together soon to get a resolution which will achieve the objectives."

Asked about the possibility of an Iraqi attack on Israel, Bush said such an attack would draw an "appropriate response." Saddam must understand, he stressed, "that the international community won't tolerate an unprovoked attack on Israel or anybody else, for that matter."

"Maybe Saddam will attack tomorrow," the president said. "He's certainly a dangerous man."

The Iraqi dictator has attacked two nations and gassed his own people, the president noted. "That's why he must be disarmed. That's why the international community must work to disarm him."

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Related Sites:
President Bush Welcomes Prime Minister Sharon to White House: Remarks by the President, Oct. 16, 2002

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