Bush Vows to Deal with Saddam Hussein, Terrorists
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2002 "We will not allow the world's worst leaders to threaten us with the world's worst weapons," President Bush vowed Monday.
In an address at an Army National Guard facility in Trenton, N.J., the president said the United States would deal with Saddam Hussein with or without the world's support.
"This is a man who would use weapons of mass destruction at the drop of a hat," Bush said. The Iraqi dictator would also "be willing to team up with terrorist organizations with weapons of mass destruction to threaten America and our allies."
For 11 long years after telling the United Nations he would not develop weapons of mass destruction, Saddam has "stiffed the world," Bush said. "He looked at the United Nations and said, 'This is a paper tiger. Their resolutions mean nothing.'"
He said he went to the United Nations Sept. 12 to convey the severity of the Iraqi threat and the strength of America's resolve to do something about it.
"I said to the United Nations, 'We have a true threat that faces America, a threat that faces the world and a threat which diminishes your capacity,'" Bush said. "Either you can become a league of nations, an organization which is nothing but a debating society, or you can be an organization which is robust enough and strong enough to help keep the peace. Your choice.'"
The president wants to see a strong resolution come out of the United Nations. "A resolution which says the old ways of deceit are gone," he said, "a resolution which will hold this man to account."
Bush also stressed that the United States will not tire in the war against global terrorism. "I've made it clear to the world that either you're with us, or you're with the enemy," he said, "and that doctrine still stands."
Terrorists hate the United States because of its freedoms and because "every human life is a life of dignity," Bush said. That's not the way the enemy thinks, he asserted.
"Our enemy hates innocent life," he said. "They're willing to kill in the name of a great religion. And as long as we love freedom and love liberty and value human life, they're going to try to hurt us."
To counter terrorism, he said, "We must be flexible. We must be strong. We must be ready to take the enemy on anywhere he decides to hit us, whether it's America or anywhere else in the globe."
Defending the American homeland is the government's most important job, he said. "We must do everything we can -- everything in our power to keep America safe. And the best way to secure our homeland, the only sure way to make sure our children are free and our children's children are free, is to hunt the killers down wherever they hide, is to hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice."
Global terrorism is a different kind of war, he noted, and the nation has "begun to adjust its thinking" accordingly, the president said.
"Oceans no longer keep us safe," he said. "In the old days, you could measure progress by looking at how many tanks the enemy had one day and how many he had the next day, and whether or not his airplanes were flying, whether or not his ships were floating on the seas.
This kind of war "is not measured in equipment destroyed," Bush said. "It's going to be measured in people brought to justice, and we're making progress."
U.S. and international law enforcement officials have arrested or brought to justice thousands of suspected terrorists. "Slowly, but surely," he said, "we're finding them where they think they can hide.
"We brought in one of them the other day," Bush continued. "He thought he was going to be the 20th hijacker. At least he was bragging that way. I don't know if he's bragging now. He thought he was immune. He thought he was invisible. He thought he could hide from the long arm of justice."
U.S. and coalition military forces have also dealt with a couple of thousands of terrorists. Some met their fate while others are on the run, he noted.
"As part of our doctrine," Bush said, "we're going to make sure there's no place for them to light, no place for them to hide. These are haters and they're killers. We owe it to the American people, and we owe it to our friends and allies, to pursue them no matter where they try to hide."
Bush said he asked Congress for the largest increase in defense spending since Ronald Reagan was president. "I did so because I firmly believe that any time we commit our troops into harm's way, they deserve the best pay, the best training and the best possible equipment.
"I also asked for a large increase because I want to send a clear signal to the rest of the world that we're in this for the long haul -- that there is no calendar on my desk that says by such and such a date we're going to quit. That by such and such a date we'll all have grown weary, we're too tired and therefore we're coming home. That's not the way we think in America."
Americans understand obligation and responsibility, he said. "We have a responsibility to our children to fight for freedom. We have a responsibility to our citizens to defend our homeland.
"That means not only dealing with real, immediate threats," the president said. "It also means anticipating threats before they occur, before things happen. It means we've got to look out in the future and understand the new world in which we live and deal with threats before it's too late."