President Bush defended his decision to invade Iraq even as he conceded on Monday that inspectors had not found the weapons of mass destruction that he had warned the country possessed.
"Although we have not found stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, we were right to go into Iraq," Bush said after inspecting a display of nuclear weapons parts and equipment, including assembled gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment, from Libya.
The hardware was shipped to the US a few months ago as part of a deal with Moammar Gadhafi to end his country's nuclear weapons development plans.
"We removed a declared enemy of America who had the capability of producing weapons of mass murder and could have passed that capability to terrorists bent on acquiring them. In the world after September 11th, that was a risk we could not afford to take," Bush said.
The president offered a broad new defense of the March 2003 war against Iraq.
Without directly acknowledging the pre-war intelligence was false, Bush said a wide array of government leaders, from members of the Clinton administration to lawmakers to the U.N. Security Council, had studied the same intelligence and "saw a threat."
During the Clinton administration, official U.S. policy toward Iraq became "regime change", he noted. But Saddam refused to open his country to inspections, the US leader said.
"So I had a choice to make: either take the word of a madman or defend America. Given that choice I will defend America." (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)