print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > January 2003

Denial and Deception

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 22, 2003

Presidential Remarks 1/22/03

Excerpt from President's Remarks in St. Louis 1/22/03
Click here for full transcript

The dictator of Iraq has got weapons of mass destruction. He has used weapons of mass destruction. He can't stand America and what we stand for. He can't stand our friends and allies.

He's a dangerous, dangerous man with dangerous, dangerous weapons. And that's why the world came together at the United Nations Security Council and said, Mr. Saddam Hussein must disarm. The message was as clear as can possibly be delivered -- Mr. Saddam Hussein must disarm.

And the first step of that disarmament was for him to make a declaration of his weapons -- 12,000 pages of deceit and deception were placed at the U.N. Security Council. We know what it means to disarm; we know what a disarmed regime does. We know how a disarmed regime accounts for weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein is not disarming, like the world has told him he must do.

He's a dangerous man, with dangerous weapons. He's a danger to America, and our friends and allies. And that's why the world has said, disarm.

But Saddam Hussein has learned lessons from the past. See, the first time he was told to disarm was 11 years ago. He is adept at deception and delays and denying. He asked for more time so he can give the so-called inspectors more runaround. He's interested in playing hide and seek in a huge country. He's not interested in disarming.

I hope the world has learned the lessons from the past, just like Saddam Hussein has learned the lessons from the past, but in a different way. It's time for us to hold the world to account, and for Saddam to be held to account.

We must not -- (applause.) We must not be fooled by the ways of the past. After all, we just discovered undeclared chemical warheads in Iraq. It's incredibly troubling and disturbing for a man -- that is evidence of a man not disarming.

He wants to play a game. For the sake of peace, we must not let him play a game. And so the resolutions of the Security Council will be enforced. (Applause.)

My hope is that Saddam Hussein will disarm voluntarily; that's my hope. I take seriously the commitment of any troop into combat. I desire peace. But in the name of peace, in the name of securing our future, if Saddam Hussein will not disarm, the United States of America and friends of freedom will disarm Saddam Hussein. (Applause.)

And should that path be forced upon us, there will be serious consequences. There will be serious consequences for the dictator in Iraq. And there will be serious consequences for any Iraqi general or soldier who were to use weapons of mass destruction on our troops or on innocent lives within Iraq. (Applause.)

Should any Iraqi officer or soldier receive an order from Saddam Hussein, or his sons, or any of the killers who occupy the high levels of their government, my advice is, don't follow that order. Because if you choose to do so, when Iraq is liberated, you will be treated, tried and persecuted as a war criminal. (Applause.) And there will be serious consequences -- should we be forced into action, there will be serious consequences for the Iraqi people -- and that's freedom, freedom from oppression. (Applause.) Freedom from oppression, freedom from torture, freedom from murder, freedom to realize your God-given talents.