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For Immediate Release
December 4, 2002
Excerpts from the Remarks by the President in Terrell for Senate and Louisiana Republican Party Luncheon, December 3, 2002
It's very important for us to recognize threats when we see them, and deal with them appropriately. After all, the threat gathering in a distant land turns out to be a threat directly on the American people. We've got to be wise about how we view the world and make sure that the new arrangements, the new alliances aren't allowed to develop. An alliance, for example, where a nation that has weapons of mass destruction uses a shadowy terrorist network as a forward army, perhaps encouraging them to attack America without leaving any fingerprints. You've got to worry about disrupting training facilities.
And that's why I started talking about Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Not only starting a debate in the halls of the United States Congress, which overwhelmingly supported any means necessary to deal with the threat to the United States, but also took the debate to the United Nations, and a couple of weeks ago to NATO.
It's important for our fellow Americans to understand that, when we're talking about Saddam Hussein, we're talking about a man who said he has had no weapons of mass destruction, yet we believe has weapons of mass destruction -- a man who has not only had weapons of mass destruction, but he's used weapons of mass destruction. He used weapons of mass destruction on his neighbors and he used weapons of mass destruction on his own citizens. He's a man who has professed hate to America, as well as our friends and allies. He's a man who has got terrorist ties, a man who helps train terrorists. He's a threat and he's a danger.
I went to the United Nations because I felt like, in a world that required cooperation in this new war of the 21st century, that it was important the United Nations show some backbone, that the United Nations be something other than an empty debating society, that when they issue a resolution, they mean it. And on a 15-0 vote, the United Nations recognized the threat of Saddam Hussein and demanded that he disarm.
I then went to our close allies in NATO and said the same thing. I said, this man's a threat; he's a threat to us, he's a threat to you. He, too, must disarm. And now, as you've seen in your newspapers, inspectors are inside of Iraq. Inspectors are there not to play hide-and-seek with Mr. Saddam Hussein. Inspectors are there to verify the will of the world. And the will of the world says clearly, disarm. Saddam Hussein, for the sake of peace, must disarm. And if he refuses to disarm, if he tries to deceive his way out of disarmament, this nation -- along with other willing nations -- will disarm Saddam Hussein. (Applause.)
I say that -- I say that because I believe in peace. I believe this is how you achieve peace, by being strong and resolute, by fighting terror and all forms of terror, by not allowing those who hate to try to dictate to those of us who love freedom. See, I believe out of the evil done to America is going to come some incredible good. Part of the good done to this -- part of the evil done to this country is going to help lead the world to peace.
Oh, I know some don't believe that, but I do. I believe that if we remain steadfast and strong, if we remain true to our values, we'll achieve peace -- not only peace for ourselves, but because we believe every life is precious, everybody matters, everybody has worth. We can achieve peace in parts of the world where they've quit on peace, where people have given up hope.
I also believe here at home we can be a more compassionate country. See, there's people who are hurting in America. Amongst our plenty, there are pockets of despair of loneliness and hopelessness. There are people when you say, American Dream, they wonder what the heck does that mean, American Dream? They have no idea about the promise of this country. And my attitude is, so long as some hurt, we all hurt.
And I also recognize the limitations of government. Government can hand out money and, frankly, we do a pretty good job of it sometimes. But what it can't do is put hope in people's hearts or a sense of purpose in people's lives. That's done when a neighbor puts their arm around somebody who hurts and says, I love you, what can I do to help. See, I strongly believe that America is going to change one heart, one soul, one conscience at a time. Because the spirit of this country, a selfless spirit, is alive and well.