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For Immediate Release
December 4, 2002
Excerpts from the Remarks by the President in Louisiana Welcome, December 3, 2002
But September the 11th brought home a new reality, and it's important for all our citizens to understand that reality. See, a lot of us, when we were raised, never really worried about the homeland. We all believed that two oceans would forever separate us from harm's way, and that if there was a threat gathering overseas, we could pick and choose whether or not we wanted to be involved in dealing with that threat. September the 11th delivered a chilling message to our country, and that is oceans no longer protect us. And therefore, it is my obligation to make sure that we address gathering threats overseas before they could do harm to the American people.
And that's why -- that's why I elevated the issue of Iraq. That's why I took our message of peace and freedom to countries around the world. I want them to understand the nature of the man who runs Iraq is the nature of a man who doesn't tell the truth. He says he won't have weapons of mass destruction; he's got them. He's not only got them, he's used them. And he's not only used them in his neighborhood, he's used them on his own people. That's the nature of the man with whom we deal.
For 11 long years, he has deceived and denied. So I went to the United Nations -- I said, when is enough enough? They voted 15 to nothing to say, now enough is enough. (Applause.) The members of the Security Council had a chance and they accepted the challenge to make sure that this United Nations became an effective body when it comes to keeping the peace, not an empty debating society.
Then I went to NATO -- strong allies in NATO -- and overwhelmingly, the message was, enough is enough. And now there's inspectors inside this country. But I want to tell you, the issue is not the inspectors. The issue is whether or not Mr. Saddam Hussein will disarm like he said he would. We're not interested in hide and seek inside Iraq. The fundamental question is, in the name of peace, in the name of security, not only for America and the American people, in the name of security for our friends in the neighborhood, in the name of freedom, will this man disarm? The choice is his. And if he does not disarm, the United States of America will lead a coalition and disarm him, in the name of peace. (Applause.)
We have an obligation to our children and our children's children to do everything we can to make sure the homeland is secure. And we'll meet the obligation. We'll meet that obligation together.
You know, the amazing thing about America is that I can predict -- boldly predict and certainly predict, that out of the evil done to our country will come incredible good. Because of the nature of our country, I can say that. By being tough and strong and united in the face of danger, we can bring peace to the world. I believe that. (Applause.) I believe that, by doing what we need to do to secure the world from terrorist attack, to rid tyrants of weapons of mass destruction, to make sure that somebody like Saddam Hussein doesn't serve as a training base or a provider of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist networks -- by doing our job, that the world will be more peaceful. By standing strong for what we believe, by remembering that freedom is not America's gift to the world, but God's gift to each and every human being -- (applause) -- that we can achieve peace. I want you to tell your kids and your grandkids that amidst all the speculation about war and military, that our drive and our vision is for a peaceful world in which everybody can realize their potential and live in peace.