|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
March 19, 2003
Events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed because we are not dealing with peaceful men.
The Iraqi regime continues to conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. It has used weapons of mass destruction. It has a history of reckless aggression and a deep hatred for America and our friends. And it has aided terrorists, including al-Qaida. Using chemical, biological, or one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, terrorists could kill thousands, or more.
The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat, but we will do everything to defeat it.
The UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, finding Iraq in material breach and vowing serious consequences if Iraq did not fully and immediately disarm. Today, no nation claims that Iraq has disarmed.
Some permanent members of the Security Council announced they would veto any resolution that compels disarmament. The Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities - so we will rise to ours.
Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know every measure has been taken to avoid war - and every measure will be taken to win it.
In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against neighbors...no more poison factories...no more executions of dissidents...no more torture chambers and rape rooms.
In desperation, Saddam Hussein and terrorist groups might try to conduct terrorist operations.
We are acting to protect our homeland. Should enemies strike our country, they would be attempting to shift our attention with panic, and weaken our morale with fear. In this, they would fail.
The greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace. Free nations have a duty to defend our people by uniting against the violent. America and our allies accept that responsibility.