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'Iraq's Weapons Declaration Not Credible', says Bush - 2003-01-03


President Bush says the United States is ready to use force to disarm Iraq if it does not comply with U.N. inspectors. Mr. Bush again said Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is defying the United Nations by not disclosing weapons of mass destruction.

Rallying U.S. troops at a Texas army base, President Bush said Iraq's U.N. weapons declaration is not credible because it fails to account for chemical and biological weapons.

He said the international community has given Saddam Hussein "a path to peace," but so far he says the Iraqi leader has chosen the "path of defiance."

"We can now be certain that he holds the United Nations and the U.N. Security Council and its resolutions in contempt," the president said. "He really doesn't care about the opinion of mankind."

President Bush told the troops that military force in Iraq is his last option and he would still prefer that Saddam Hussein agree to a voluntary disarmament.

If he does not, Mr. Bush said U.S. troops are ready and prepared for action in the Persian Gulf. He told soldiers at Ft. Hood that if they are sent to Iraq, they will be fighting to "liberate people" not to "conquer anybody."

Iraq says Washington is planning to invade the country regardless of what U.N. weapons inspectors find there. A state-run Iraqi newspaper Friday dismissed President Bush's stated hopes of avoiding war, saying he is only trying to defuse global anger over possible military action.

Mr. Bush again sought to distinguish between confronting Iraq about weapons of mass destruction and dealing with North Korea over the resumption of its nuclear weapons program

"Different circumstances require different strategies from the pressure of diplomacy to the prospect of force. Yet in every case, the resolve of our nation is the same," he said. "We must and we will protect the American people and our friends and allies from catastrophic violence, wherever the source, whatever the threat."

In the case of North Korea, Mr. Bush said the international community must continue to speak with "one voice" to convince Pyongyang to give up what the president called "its nuclear ambitions."

Mr. Bush says North Korea is a diplomatic showdown, not a military showdown because the country does not share Iraq's history of invading its neighbors and using chemical weapons against civilians.

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