For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 7, 2002
Radio Address by the President to the Nation
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This weekend is the deadline for the
Iraqi regime to fully disclose to the U.N. Security Council all of its
weapons of mass destruction. Disarming that regime is a central
commitment of the war on terror. We must, and we will, prevent
terrorist groups and outlaw regimes from threatening the American
people with catastrophic harm.
Saddam Hussein has been under a duty to disarm for more than a
decade. Yet he has consistently and systematically violated that
obligation and undermined U.N. inspections. And he only admitted to a
massive biological weapons program after being confronted with the
Now the U.N. Security Council and the United States have told
Saddam Hussein, the game is over. Saddam Hussein will fully disarm
himself of weapons of mass destruction, and if he does not, America
will lead a coalition to disarm him.
As the new inspections process proceeds, the United States will be
making only one judgment: Has Saddam Hussein changed his behavior of
the last 11 years and decided to cooperate willingly and comply
completely, or has he not?
Inspections will work only if Iraq complies fully and in good
faith. Inspectors do not have the duty or the ability to uncover
terrible weapons hidden in a vast country. The responsibility of
inspectors is simply to confirm evidence of voluntary and total
disarmament. Saddam Hussein has the responsibility to provide that
evidence, as directed, and in full.
The world expects more than Iraq's cooperation with inspectors.
The world expects and requires Iraq's complete, willing and prompt
disarmament. It is not enough for Iraq to merely open doors for
inspectors. Compliance means bringing all requested information and
evidence out into full view, to show that Iraq has abandoned the
deceptions of the last decade. Any act of delay or defiance will prove
that Saddam Hussein has not adopted the path of compliance, and has
rejected the path of peace.
Thus far we are not seeing the fundamental shift in practice and
attitude that the world is demanding. Iraq's letters to the U.N.
regarding inspections show that their attitude is grudging and
conditional. And in recent days, Iraq has fired on American and
British pilots enforcing the U.N.'s no-fly zone.
Iraq is now required by the United Nations to provide a full and
accurate declaration of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic
missile programs. We will judge the declaration's honesty and
completeness only after we have thoroughly examined it, and that will
take some time. The declaration must be credible and accurate and
complete, or the Iraqi dictator will have demonstrated to the world
once again that he has chosen not to change his behavior.
Americans seek peace in the world. War is the last option for
confronting threats. Yet the temporary peace of denial and looking
away from danger would only be a prelude to a broader war and greater
horror. America will confront gathering dangers early. By showing our
resolve today, we are building a future of peace.
Thank you for listening.