President Bush: "World Can Rise to This Moment"
Statement by the President
4:33 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: The Secretary of State has now briefed the United
Nations Security Council on Iraq's illegal weapons programs, its
attempts to hide those weapons, and its links to terrorist groups. I
want to thank Secretary Powell for his careful and powerful
presentation of the facts.
The information in the Secretary's briefing and other information
in our possession was obtained through great skill, and often at
personal risk. Uncovering secret information in a totalitarian society
is one of the most difficult intelligence challenges. Those who accept
that challenge, both in our intelligence services and in those of our
friends and allies, perform a great service to all free nations. And
I'm grateful for their good work.
The Iraqi regime's violations of Security Council resolutions are
evident, and they continue to this hour. The regime has never
accounted for a vast arsenal of deadly biological and chemical
weapons. To the contrary; the regime is pursuing an elaborate campaign
to conceal its weapons materiels, and to hide or intimidate key experts
and scientists, all in direct defiance of Security Council 1441.
This deception is directed from the highest levels of the Iraqi
regime, including Saddam Hussein, his son, the Vice President, and the
very official responsible for cooperating with inspectors. In
intercepted conversations, we have heard orders to conceal materiels
from the U.N. inspectors. And we have seen through satellite images
concealment activity at close to 30 sites, including movement of
equipment before inspectors arrive.
The Iraqi regime has actively and secretly attempted to obtain
equipment needed to produce chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
Firsthand witnesses have informed us that Iraq has at least seven
mobile factories for the production of biological agents, equipment
mounted on trucks and rails to evade discovery. Using these factories,
Iraq could produce within just months hundreds of pounds of biological
The Iraqi regime has acquired and tested the means to deliver
weapons of mass destruction. All the world has now seen the footage of
an Iraqi Mirage aircraft with a fuel tank modified to spray biological
agents over wide areas. Iraq has developed spray devices that could be
used on unmanned aerial vehicles with ranges far beyond what is
permitted by the Security Council. A UAV launched from a vessel off
the American coast could reach hundreds of miles inland.
Iraq has never accounted for thousands of bombs and shells capable
of delivering chemical weapons. The regime is actively pursuing
components for prohibited ballistic missiles. And we have sources that
tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders
to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells the
world he does not have.
One of the greatest dangers we face is that weapons of mass
destruction might be passed to terrorists, who would not hesitate to
use those weapons. Saddam Hussein has longstanding, direct and
continuing ties to terrorist networks. Senior members of Iraqi
intelligence and al Qaeda have met at least eight times since the early
1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts to work
with al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided al Qaeda with chemical and
biological weapons training.
We also know that Iraq is harboring a terrorist network, headed by
a senior al Qaeda terrorist planner. The network runs a poison and
explosive training center in northeast Iraq, and many of its leaders
are known to be in Baghdad. The head of this network traveled to
Baghdad for medical treatment and stayed for months. Nearly two dozen
associates joined him there and have been operating in Baghdad for more
than eight months.
The same terrorist network operating out of Iraq is responsible for
the murder, the recent murder, of an American citizen, an American
diplomat, Laurence Foley. The same network has plotted terrorism
against France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Republic of Georgia, and
Russia, and was caught producing poisons in London. The danger Saddam
Hussein poses reaches across the world.
This is the situation as we find it. Twelve years after Saddam
Hussein agreed to disarm, and 90 days after the Security Council passed
Resolution 1441 by a unanimous vote, Saddam Hussein was required to
make a full declaration of his weapons programs. He has not done so.
Saddam Hussein was required to fully cooperate in the disarmament of
his regime; he has not done so. Saddam Hussein was given a final
chance; he is throwing that chance away.
The dictator of Iraq is making his choice. Now the nations of the
Security Council must make their own. On November 8th, by demanding
the immediate disarmament of Iraq, the United Nations Security Council
spoke with clarity and authority. Now the Security Council will show
whether its words have any meaning. Having made its demands, the
Security Council must not back down, when those demands are defied and
mocked by a dictator.
The United States would welcome and support a new resolution which
makes clear that the Security Council stands behind its previous
demands. Yet resolutions mean little without resolve. And the United
States, along with a growing coalition of nations, is resolved to take
whatever action is necessary to defend ourselves and disarm the Iraqi
On September the 11th, 2001, the American people saw what
terrorists could do, by turning four airplanes into weapons. We will
not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with
chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons. Saddam Hussein
can now be expected to begin another round of empty concessions,
transparently false denials. No doubt, he will play a last-minute game
of deception. The game is over.
All the world can rise to this moment. The community of free
nations can show that it is strong and confident and determined to keep
the peace. The United Nations can renew its purpose and be a source of
stability and security in the world. The Security Council can affirm
that it is able and prepared to meet future challenges and other
dangers. And we can give the Iraqi people their chance to live in
freedom and choose their own government.
Saddam Hussein has made Iraq into a prison, a poison factory, and a
torture chamber for patriots and dissidents. Saddam Hussein has the
motive and the means and the recklessness and the hatred to threaten
the American people. Saddam Hussein will be stopped.