Presidential Radio Address - 8 February 2003
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Powell briefed the United Nations Security Council on Iraq's illegal weapons program, its attempts to hide those weapons, and its links to terrorist groups.
The Iraqi regime's violations of Security Council Resolutions are evident, they are dangerous to America and the world, and they continue to this hour.
The regime has never accounted for a vast arsenal of deadly, biological and chemical weapons. To the contrary, the regime is pursuing an elaborate campaign to conceal its weapons materials and to hide or intimidate key experts and scientists. This effort of deception is directed from the highest levels of the Iraqi regime, including Saddam Hussein, his son, Iraq's vice president and the very official responsible for cooperating with inspectors.
The Iraqi regime has actively and secretly attempted to obtain equipment needed to produce chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Firsthand witnesses have informed us that Iraq has at least seven mobile factories for the production of biological agents -- equipment mounted on trucks and rails to evade discovery.
The Iraqi regime has acquired and tested the means to deliver weapons of mass destruction. It has never accounted for thousands of bombs and shells capable of delivering chemical weapons. It is actively pursuing components for prohibited ballistic missiles. And we have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.
One of the greatest dangers we face is that weapons of mass destruction might be passed to terrorists who would not hesitate to use those weapons. Saddam Hussein has longstanding, direct and continuing ties to terrorist networks. Senior members of Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda have met at least eight times since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts to work with al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training. And an al Qaeda operative was sent to Iraq several times in the late 1990s for help in acquiring poisons and gases.
We also know that Iraq is harboring a terrorist network headed by a senior al Qaeda terrorist planner. This network runs a poison and explosive training camp in northeast Iraq, and many of its leaders are known to be in Baghdad.
This is the situation as we find it -- 12 years after Saddam Hussein agreed to disarm and more than 90 days after the Security Council passed Resolution 1441 by a unanimous vote. Saddam Hussein was required to make a full declaration of his weapons programs. He has not done so. Saddam Hussein was required to fully cooperate in the disarmament of his regime. He has not done so. Saddam Hussein was given a final chance. He is throwing away that chance.
Having made its demands, the Security Council must not back down when those demands are defied and mocked by a dictator. The United States would welcome and support a new resolution making clear that the Security Council stands behinds its previous demands. Yet, resolutions mean little without resolve. And the United States, along with a growing coalition of nations, will take whatever action is necessary to defend ourselves and disarm the Iraqi regime.
Thank you for listening.