For Immediate Release
August 10, 2004
From remarks by NSA Rice, NBC News' Meet the Press, 8/8/04
Saddam Hussein represented a regime against which the United States had gone to war in 1991, and then again in 1998 because of concerns about his having thrown out weapons inspectors and that he was continuing his WMD programs.
Saddam Hussein was an avowed enemy of the United States who had attacked his neighbors and had used weapons of mass destruction.
Saddam Hussein was a friend of terrorists and a threat to change in the Middle East -- which is at the core of how we change the security environment in which terrorism is taking place.
It is true that stockpiles have not been found in Iraq, but intelligence services around the world, both the Clinton and Bush administrations, and United Nations inspectors knew that he had the knowledge, capability, intent to make WMDs, had used them before, refused to disclose them, and was continuing to defy the international community.
Saddam Hussein had been a threat for 12 years, ever since he invaded Kuwait and set the Middle East on a course of instability. Someone needed to take care of Saddam Hussein and set the Middle East on a different course.
It would be wrong to say that there is no linkage between what happened to America on September 11 and the instability and lack of hope and lack of freedom in the Middle East. Saddam Hussein's regime was one of the prime elements in that kind of Middle East. Now we have a chance to build a different kind of Middle East.