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Bush Makes Case Against Iraq During UN Speech - 2002-09-12

President Bush goes to the United Nations Thursday to make his case for action against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The president spent Wednesday at ceremonies honoring the victims of last year's terrorist attacks.

President Bush says the Iraqi leader is a threat to world peace because he could help terrorists acquire chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

He is expected to call on U.N. members to force Saddam Hussein to honor a U.N. weapons inspection program he agreed to following the Gulf War.

The president says the Iraqi leader has "stiffed" the international community by not following through on promises to stop developing weapons of mass destruction. He says world leaders must understand that their credibility is at stake, if they allow Iraqi weapons programs to continue.

In a speech Wednesday evening, Mr. Bush did not mention Iraq by name, but said he will not allow anyone to threaten civilization with weapons of mass destruction.

"We have no intention of ignoring or appeasing history's latest gang of fanatics trying to murder their way to power," the president said. "They are discovering, as others before them, the resolve of a great country and a great democracy."

Mr. Bush spent Wednesday at ceremonies in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, remembering the more than 3,000 people killed in terror attacks last September 11.

He and Mrs. Bush met with family members of those who died and laid a wreath in the dusty crater where the World Trade Center twin towers once stood.

In honoring those lost, Mr. Bush said the most enduring monument would be a world of liberty and security.

"In the ruins of two towers; under a flag unfurled at the Pentagon; at the funerals of the lost, we have made a sacred promise to ourselves and to the world. We will not relent until justice is done and our nation is secure," he promised. "What our enemies have begun, we will finish."

As evidence of the Iraqi threat, the Bush Administration says Saddam Hussein has tried to buy special aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. There are also satellite photos showing unexplained construction at Iraqi weapons sites.

Mr. Bush faces skeptical allies at the United Nations, who want a more diplomatic approach to resolving the weapons dispute. French President Jacques Chirac says the president should not attack Iraq without approval from the U.N. Security Council.

Germany, Sweden, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Russia are all urging President Bush to use restraint in moving against Saddam Hussein. Britain, Israel and Spain indicate support for President Bush's position.

In the last week, the president has telephoned the leaders of Russia, China and France and met in person with the leaders of Britain, Canada and Portugal. Following his U.N. address, he continues consultations on Iraq with the leaders of India, Pakistan, and Japan.