Posted 12:30a.m. March 9
by Marcus Mrowka
U-WIRE Washington Bureau
“Saddam Hussein and his weapons are a direct threat to this country, to our people, and to all free people,” President Bush said in his 2nd prime-time news conference Thursday night.
Bush addressed concerns of an impending war with Iraq the night before Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix is scheduled to speak before the United Nations. Bush said he would press on with the issue of disarmament, despite opposition from other strong world powers.
“He tortures his own people. He’s a murderer. He has trained and financed al Qaeda-type organizations before, Bush said linking Hussein to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. “I take the threat seriously, and I’ll deal with the threat. I hope it can be done peacefully.”
“Inspection teams do not need more time or more personnel. All they need is what they have never received: The full cooperation of the Iraqi regime. Token gestures are not acceptable,” Bush said in response to the calls of many who call for more time and resources for inspectors.
President Bush also denounced Iraq for destroying a few of their weapons while he said that intelligence showed more were being built.
“Iraqi operatives continue to hide biological and chemical agents to avoid detection by inspectors. In some cases these materials have been moved to different locations every 12 to 24 hours, or placed in vehicles that are in residential neighborhoods,” Bush said.
Bush said, “these are not the actions of a nation that is disarming” and told reporters and the American people that Iraq is engaged in a “willful charade.”
The President says that Hussein is in direct violation of the UN Security Council resolution passed last fall. Bush said that that was Hussein’s last chance to disarm and he hasn’t obeyed. Therefore, Bush is set to push for another vote in the Security Council against Iraq.
“No matter what the whip count is, we’re calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council. And so, you bet. It’s time for people to show their cards, let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam,” Bush said.
During the conference, Bush also pledged his commitment to the people of Iraq, saying, “In the event of conflict, America accepts our responsibility to protect innocent lives in every way possible. We will bring food and medicine to the Iraqi people. We will help that nation to build a just government after decades of brutal dictatorship. Our goal is peace: For our nation, for our friends and allies, for the people of the Middle East.”
An entire dollar amount was not given by Bush, but he told reporters the Administration would announce the costs of different scenarios soon.
Bush told reporters that he was confident that the world community would back the United States in the disarmament of Iraq.
“For the sake of the security of the American people, for the sake of peace in the world, and for freedom to the Iraqi people, we will disarm Saddam Hussein,” Bush said in his closing remarks. “And by “we” it’s more than America; a lot of nations will join us.”