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Bush Stresses 'Iraq Must Disarm' - 2002-11-12


U.S. President George W. Bush has dismissed the Iraqi parliament's recommendation to reject the tough new U.N. disarmament resolution. Mr. Bush stresses the final decision lies with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

President Bush said everyone knows the real power in Iraq lies with Saddam Hussein. "There is no democracy. This guy is a dictator and so we have to see what he says," said Mr. Bush.

The president said the Iraqi leader has a choice to make: disarm peacefully or be disarmed by force. "If Saddam Hussein does not comply to the detail of the resolution, we will lead a coalition to disarm him," he said. "It is over. We are through with negotiations. There is no more time. The man must disarm. He said he would disarm, he now must disarm."

Mr. Bush spoke with reporters while touring the Washington, D.C., police department, a tour designed to highlight his plan to create a cabinet level Department of Homeland Security. He left no doubt his patience regarding Iraq is wearing very thin, stressing the United States will no longer tolerate any efforts by Saddam Hussein to circumvent demands to disarm. "There is a zero-tolerance policy now," said Mr. Bush. "The last 11 years have been a period of time when this guy tried to deceive the world and we are through with it."

Earlier, a White House spokesman described the stand taken by Iraqi lawmakers as "pure theater." Scott McClellan shifted the focus to Friday, when Saddam Hussein must state a willingness to cooperate and comply with the terms set by the Security Council.

During a White House briefing, Mr. McClellan was also asked about reports that Iraq is trying to purchase large quantities of a nerve gas antidote, primarily from Turkey. The New York Times quotes U.S. officials as saying it may be a sign Iraq wants to protect its own soldiers should Baghdad decide to use nerve agents.

Mr. McClellan declined to say if the Bush administration is pressuring Turkey to reconsider the sales. But he stressed no one needs proof that Saddam Hussein has chemical and biological weapons and is willing to use them.

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