Defending his decision to invade Iraq, President Bush on Sunday said that although stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons have not been found, Saddam Hussein had the capacity to produce such arms and could have developed a nuclear weapon over time.
Bush, in an interview broadcast Sunday, denied he led the United States into war under false pretenses, but he acknowledged that some prewar intelligence apparently was inaccurate.
"We will find out about the weapons of mass destruction that we all thought were there," Bush said in the interview.
Bush, who vowed after the Sept. 11 attacks to get Osama bin Laden "dead or alive," said Sunday: "I have no idea whether we will capture or bring him to justice."
Bush said former chief weapons inspector David Kay, who has said that U.S. intelligence was "almost all wrong" about Iraq's arms, said Saddam found the "capacity to produce weapons." Bush went on to speculate about what happened to the weapons.
"They could have been destroyed during the war. Saddam and his henchmen could have destroyed them as we entered into Iraq," Bush said. "They could be hidden. They could have been transported to another country, and we'll find out."
Bush said he decided to go to war based on the intelligence he had at hand, but said CIA Director George Tenet's job is not in jeopardy. "I strongly believe the CIA is ably led by George Tenet," he said.
The US leader continued in the interview to emphasize his contention that Saddam brutalized Iraqis and had connections to terrorist groups.
"I repeat to you what I strongly believe, that inaction in Iraq would have emboldened Saddam Hussein," Bush said. "He could have developed a nuclear weapon over time - I'm not saying immediately, but over time. ...We would have been in a position of blackmail. In other words, you can't rely upon a madman."
The interview came at a time when Bush's approval rating has dipped to 47 percent in an Associated Press-Ipsos poll taken in early February; that compares with 56 percent just a month ago.
Meanwhile in Iraq, resistance fighters attacked U.S. Army convoys in three areas, killing one soldier and wounding three others Sunday, witnesses and the U.S. command said. The U.S. soldier was killed Sunday by a roadside bomb near Mahmudiyah, some 30 kilometers south of Baghdad, a military spokesman said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )