For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 3, 2003
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Today I'm meeting with Italian Prime
Minister Silvio Berlusconi about the growing danger posed by Saddam
Hussein's regime in Iraq, and the unique opportunity the U.N. Security
Council has to confront it.
I appreciate the Prime Minister's public support for effective
international action to deal with this danger. The Italian Prime
Minister joins other concerned world leaders who have called on the
world to act. Among them, Prime Minister Blair of Great Britain, Prime
Minister Aznar of Spain, President Kwasniewski of Poland. These
leaders have reached the same conclusion I have -- that Saddam Hussein
has made the case against himself.
He has broken every pledge he made to the United Nations and the
world since his invasion of Kuwait was rolled back in 1991. Sixteen
times the United Nations Security Council has passed resolutions
designed to ensure that Iraq does not pose a threat to international
peace and security. Saddam Hussein has violated every one of these 16
resolutions -- not once, but many times.
Saddam Hussein's regime continues to support terrorist groups and
to oppress its civilian population. It refuses to account for missing
Gulf War personnel, or to end illicit trade outside the U.N.'s
oil-for-food program. And although the regime agreed in 1991 to
destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass destruction and
long-range missiles, it has broken every aspect of this fundamental
Today this regime likely maintains stockpiles of chemical and
biological agents, and is improving and expanding facilities capable of
producing chemical and biological weapons. Today Saddam Hussein has
the scientists and infrastructure for a nuclear weapons program, and
has illicitly sought to purchase the equipment needed to enrich uranium
for a nuclear weapon. Should his regime acquire fissile material, it
would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year.
The former head of the U.N. team investigating Iraq's weapons of
mass destruction program, Richard Butler, reached this conclusion after
years of experience: "The fundamental problem with Iraq remains the
nature of the regime itself. Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator
who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction."
By supporting terrorist groups, repressing its own people and
pursuing weapons of mass destruction in defiance of a decade of U.N.
resolutions, Saddam Hussein's regime has proven itself a grave and
gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the
evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of
millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is
a risk we must not take.
Saddam Hussein's defiance has confronted the United Nations with a
difficult and defining moment: Are Security Council resolutions to be
honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the
United Nations serve the purposes of its founding, or will it be
As the United Nations prepares an effective response to Iraq's
defense, I also welcome next week's congressional hearings on the
threats Saddam Hussein's brutal regime poses to our country and the
entire world. Congress must make it unmistakably clear that when it
comes to confronting the growing danger posed by Iraq's efforts to
develop or acquire weapons of mass destruction, the status quo is
The issue is straightforward: We must choose between a world of
fear, or a world of progress. We must stand up for our security and
for the demands of human dignity. By heritage and choice, the United
States will make that stand. The world community must do so, as well.
Thank you for listening.