For Immediate Release
February 20, 2003
Presidential Remarks 2/20/03
Presidential Remarks from Kennesaw, Georgia
Click here for full transcript
It's important -- it's very important for our citizens to understand
the significant change that took place on September the 11th, 2001.
Obviously, it changed a lot of people's lives and we still mourn for
the families who lost life. But it used to be that oceans -- we
thought oceans could protect us, that we were guarded by the oceans;
and that if there was a threat overseas, as a result of the protection
from the oceans, we could decide whether to be involved or not. It
might affect us overseas, but it couldn't affect us at home. And
therefore, we have the luxury of kind of picking and choosing gathering
That changed on September the 11th, 2001. Because the stark
reality of 2001 is that America is now a battlefield, that the war has
come home. And therefore, this nation must also confront not only
shadowy terrorist networks, but the gravest danger in the war on
terror, outlaw regimes arming to threaten the peace with weapons of
After Secretary of State Powell's presentation to the United
Nations Security Council, the world knows that Saddam Hussein has
weapons of mass destruction, even though he said he didn't, and that he
is not complying with the United Nations demands to destroy them. He
is actively deceiving the inspectors. He is actively hiding the
weapons. And so the Security Council, earlier on, gave Saddam Hussein
one final chance to disarm, and he's throwing that chance away.
If military force becomes necessary to disarm Iraq, this nation,
joined by others, will act decisively in a just cause and we will
Military action is this nation's last option. And let me tell you
what's not an option: Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam
Hussein is not an option. (Applause.) Denial and endless delay in the
face of growing danger is not an option. (Applause.) Leaving the
lives and the security of the American people at the mercy of this
dictator and his weapons of mass destruction, not an option.
America and our allies are called once again to defend the peace
against an aggressive tyrant, and we accept this responsibility.
We defend the security of our country, but our cause is broader.
If war is forced upon us, we will liberate the people of Iraq from a
cruel and violent dictator. (Applause.) The Iraqi people today are
not treated with dignity, but they have a right to live in dignity.
The Iraqi people today are not allowed to speak out for freedom, but
they have a right to live in freedom. We don't believe freedom and
liberty are America's gift to the world; we believe they are the
Almighty's gift to mankind. (Applause.) And for the oppressed people
of Iraq, people whose lives we care about, the day of freedom is
A free Iraq can be a source of hope for all the Middle East.
Instead of threatening its neighbors and harboring terrorists, Iraq can
be an example of progress and prosperity, in a region that needs both.
If we liberate the Iraqi people, they can rest assure that we will help
them build a country that is disarmed and peaceful, and united, and
The disarmament of Iraq will also demonstrate that free nations
have the will and resolve to defend the peace. By defeating this
threat, we will show other dictators that the path of aggression will
lead to their own ruin. By defeating the threat of Iraq we will show
the world -- we will show that the world is able and prepared to meet
future dangers wherever they arise.
Our goal is peace. And achieving peace requires resolve and action
by free nations. In a more peaceful world, the American people will
not live in fear, and the Iraqi people will not live in oppression.
The United States of America, joined by many nations -- by many
nations -- is committed to building a world at peace and bringing a
better day. There is no question in my mind -- no question in my mind
-- that because of the strength of this country, the heart and soul of
the American people, the courage of the American people, the
determination of the American people, and the values of the American
people, that we can have a more peaceful world, a more just society,
and a more hopeful America.
May God bless you all. (Applause.)