Bush makes case for confronting "unique&

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Posted by Tony from dsc02-lai-ca-2-198.rasserver.net ( on Tuesday, October 08, 2002 at 0:44AM :

Impossible, ABC,CBS, and NBC not carrying Presidents speech LIVE? hmmmmmmmm

Something is up?

Tuesday October 8, 11:05 AM
Bush makes case for confronting "unique" Iraq threat

US President George W. Bush, warning that Iraq could equip terrorists with chemical or biological weapons on "any given day," demanded that Baghdad disarm or face US-led military action.

In a prime-time speech directly targeted at skeptics and critics of his Iraq policy, Bush warned that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein threatens the United States and its allies and that the danger "only grows worse with time."

"The time for denying, deceiving and delaying has come to an end. Saddam Hussein must disarm himself -- or, for the sake of peace, we will lead a coalition to disarm him," the US leader said.

Aides said Bush's speech was meant as a summation of the case against Iraq, as well as a point-by-point rebuttal of reasons not to act swiftly.

With US public opinion polls showing uneasy support for attacking Baghdad, Bush stressed that Iraq poses a "unique" threat because it combines lasting ties to terrorists with programs to develop weapons of mass destruction.

"Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists," he said.

Iraq may be exploring ways of using a "growing fleet" of unmanned aerial vehicles to attack the United States with such weapons of mass destruction, a threat made more vivid by the September 11, 2001 attacks, said Bush.

Wooing not just Americans but critics of his hardline policy abroad, the US leader warned that Saddam was relying on scientists he has dubbed "nuclear holy warriors" to develop an atomic weapon.

"If we allow that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed," Bush said in his speech, which came one year to the day after he launched air strikes on Afghanistan's Taliban and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

"Saddam Hussein would be in a position to blackmail anyone who opposes his aggression. He would be in a position to dominate the Middle East. He would be in a position to threaten America. And Saddam Hussein would be in a position to pass nuclear technology to terrorists."

Though insistent that military action is not "imminent or unavoidable," Bush warned Iraqi generals they could face war crimes prosecution if they follow any "cruel and desperate" orders from their leader in the face of US attacks.

"If Saddam Hussein orders such measures, his generals would be well advised to refuse," said Bush. "If they do not refuse, they must understand that all war criminals will be pursued and punished."

Aides said he was referring to the possible use of chemical or biological weapons, as well as possible attacks on Israel in hopes of sparking a broader conflict or potential strikes on minorities within Iraq.

In addition to declaring and destroying all of its weapons of mass destruction, and ending support for terrorism, Iraq must cease persecuting civilians and stop all efforts to skirt UN economic sanctions, he said.

The president also called on Iraq to account for all Gulf War soldiers, including a US pilot, who are still missing.

"By taking these steps and only by taking these steps, the Iraqi regime has an opportunity to avoid conflict."

Wooing US lawmakers wary of signing on to a resolution giving him far-reaching authority to wage war on Iraq, Bush insisted that approving the measure "does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable."

Instead, "the resolution will tell the United Nations, and all nations, that America speaks with one voice and it is determined to make the demands of the civilized world mean something," he said.

The Republican-held US House of Representatives is expected to approve the resolution this week. The timing in the US Senate, controlled by opposition Democrats, is unclear.

But both chambers are expected ultimately to give the US leader authorization to attack Iraq, strengthening his hand as he pressures the United Nations to confront Baghdad.

"If we have to act, we will take every precaution that is possible. We will plan carefully. We will act with the full power of the United States military. We will act with allies at our side and we will prevail," Bush vowed.

In the event of military action, Washington and its allies will help rebuild Iraq's economy and make a transition to democracy, he said.

Although the White House scheduled the address with the clear aim of reaching prime time television audiences, all three major US television networks -- ABC, CBS and NBC --have refused to carry it live.

-- Tony
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