For Immediate Release
March 4, 2003
President's Remarks to American Medical Association
Click here for full remarks.
You've come to our Capital when this government faces many critical
issues. You're here at an historic time. We have got a lot of
responsibilities here in Washington. We have the responsibility to
defend the American people against the threats of a new era. We have a
responsibility to win the first war of the 21st century. And we're
working hard to win that war.
Over the weekend, American and Pakistani authorities struck a
serious blow to al Qaeda by arresting Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the top
operational planner, the top killer of the al Qaeda network. The man
who masterminded the September the 11th attacks is no longer a problem
to the United States of America. (Applause.)
It's a different kind of war than we're used to in America. It's a
war that requires patience and focus. It's a war in which we will hunt
down those who hate America, one person at a time. The terrorists are
learning there is no place safe for them in this world. They're
discovering that justice can arrive by different means, at any hour of
the day or night. They're discovering the meaning of American resolve,
our deep desire to defend our freedom and to keep the peace.
It is important for our fellow citizens to recognize life changed
on September the 11th, 2001. Obviously, it changed in a tragic way for
those who lost loved ones as a result of the cold-blooded attacks on
our people. But we learned a harsh lesson, and that is, oceans can no
longer protect us from those who hate American and what we stand for.
And therefore, it's important for the United States to take every
threat which may gather overseas seriously, that we can no longer pick
or choose whether a threat requires our involvement. If we see
gathering threats which can harm the American people, we must deal with
We're dealing with Iraq because the dictator of Iraq has got
weapons of mass destruction; he's used weapons of mass destruction on
his own people. He can't stand America, he can't stand our friends, he
can't stand our allies. He's got connections to terrorist networks. The
first war of the 21st century requires the United States to work with
international bodies to deal with these threats, and we will continue
to do so.
I went to the United Nations to remind them that body has a
responsibility to make sure its words means something. I reminded them
that for 12 long years the United Nations has asked Saddam to disarm
because he's dangerous. We went and got another resolution almost four
months ago, unanimously approved by the Security Council, which said,
clearly, Saddam, you must disarm.
The choice is Saddam Hussein's to make. It is his choice to
determine whether there's war or peace. It is his choice to decide
whether to listen to the demands of the free world. But no matter what
his choice may be, for the sake of peace, for the sake of freedom, for
the sake of security of our people, Saddam Hussein will be disarmed.