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For Immediate Release
December 4, 2002
Excerpts From Signing of Dot Kid Bill, December 4, 2002
QUESTION: Sir, can you tell me specifically what the inspectors have or haven't been able to do, what they've uncovered or what they haven't uncovered that leads you to believe the signs are not encouraging that they're doing their job?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, I can tell you this. This isn't about inspectors. The issue is whether Saddam Hussein will disarm. Will he disarm in the name of peace. And we expect him to fully comply. And one of my concerns is that in the past he has shot at our airplanes -- anybody who shoots at U.S. airplanes, or British airplanes, is not somebody who looks like he's interested in complying with disarmament.
He wrote letters, stinging rebukes to what the U.N. did. He was very critical of the U.S. and Britain. That doesn't appear to be somebody who was that anxious to comply.
But we've just started the process. And one of the things that I want to continue to remind Americans, this is not a game that we're playing of hide and seek. This is our attempt to work with the world community to create peace. And the best way for peace is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm. It's up to him to make his decision.
QUESTION: Kofi Annan said Iraq is cooperating. Is there some daylight between you and --
THE PRESIDENT: We've been at this -- what -- five days. This is after 11 years of deceit and defiance. And the issue, again, is not hide and seek; the issue is whether or not Saddam Hussein will disarm. And soon he'll be making a declaration of whether he has any weapons. For years he said he didn't have any weapons. And now we'll see whether or not he does. And if he does, we expect them to be completed destroyed and a full accounting.
And I remind our citizens that the U.N. Security Council voted overwhelmingly, 15 to nothing, for this approach we've taken. Our NATO allies have joined us, and we all expect Saddam Hussein to disarm.
QUESTION: To follow on what Steve just asked you, do you disagree with the Secretary General's relatively optimistic take on things?
THE PRESIDENT: What I agree with is that we've been doing this for five days, after 11 years of deception and deceit. The process is just beginning. And the world will determine soon whether or not Saddam Hussein is going to do what we've asked, which is, in the name of peace, fully disarm.
This is not a game anymore of, well, I'll say one thing and do another. We expect him to disarm. And now it's up to him to do so. And time will tell whether or not he is willing to do so.