|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
February 27, 2003
President's Remarks 2/27/03
Click here for full transcript.
Q Mr. President, following up on your speech last night, if the United States had expanded its mission beyond the liberation of Kuwait and removed Saddam Hussein from power in the 1990s, would the Middle East be more peaceful now?
PRESIDENT BUSH: The mission in early 1990s was to liberate Kuwait, and the United States achieved that mission. The mission now is to disarm Saddam Hussein, in the name of peace. And we will disarm Saddam Hussein.
I noticed today there is some talk about the illegal rockets in Iraq. He -- this is part of his -- the discussion about these rockets is part of his campaign of deception. See, he'll say, I'm not going to destroy the rockets, and then he'll have a change of mind this weekend and destroy the rockets, and say, I've disarmed. The rockets are just the tip of the iceberg. The only question at hand is total, complete disarmament, which he is refusing to do.
Q If I could just follow up, though, on your rationale from yesterday. If we could have peace in the Middle East by removing Saddam now, couldn't we have had it if we had removed him 10 years ago? Or is that a --
PRESIDENT BUSH: The mission -- just remember what the mission was. When you commit troops to war, you must have a clear mission. Should we be forced to commit our troops because of his failure to disarm, the mission will be complete disarmament, which will mean regime change. That was not the mission in 1991.
Q You talked last night about the Middle East road map. What's holding that up? When can we see that?
PRESIDENT BUSH: We have been working on the Middle East every day. We will continue to work to bring peace to the Middle East. And my fervent desire is for the -- is to achieve peace, and to improve the plight of the Palestinian citizen and, at the same time, improve the security for not only the Palestinians, but the Israelis. We work the peace issue constantly.
END 11:50 A.M. EST