Building a case for war against Iraq, U.S. President Bush said Tuesday night he has fresh evidence that Saddam Hussein seeks to "dominate, intimidate or attack" with weapons of mass destruction that he could share with terrorist allies. Bush pledged to "fight with the full force and might of the United States military," if necessary, to disarm Iraq.
"A future lived at the mercy of terrible threats is no peace at all," the president said in a State of the Union address.
Bush offered no new evidence to support his charges against Iraq, but said Secretary of State Colin Powell will go to the U.N. Security Council next Wednesday to present the U.S. case.
"We will consult, but let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him," the president said.
Bush presented a list of Saddam's alleged offenses, some of them newly revealed to the public. He said intelligence sources have reported that thousands of Iraqi personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the U.N. weapons inspectors.
Specifically, Bush said Saddam has not accounted for up to 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard gas and VX nerve agent and more than 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical weapons. "If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning," Bush said.
Citing intelligence sources, secret communications "and statements by people now in custody," Bush renewed his assertion that Saddam aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda. "Secretly, without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists or help them develop their own," Bush said.
Bush said Saddam has shown "his utter contempt" for the United Nations and must be brought to account unless he disarms. "The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary, he is deceiving," the president said.
"If war is forced upon us, we will fight in a just cause and by just means sparing, in every way we can, the innocent. And if war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United States military and we will prevail," he said.
"Year after year, Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks, to build and keep weapons of mass destruction — but why? The only possible use he could have for those weapons is to dominate, intimidate or attack," Bush said, warning that Saddam could "resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East."
"The world has waited 12 years for Iraq to disarm," Bush said. "America will not accept a serious and mounting threat to our country, our friends and our allies." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )