President Bush says Iraq's violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding it disarm continue "at this hour," endangering America and the world.
In his weekly radio address, Mr. Bush said Saddam Hussein and his regime continue to actively and secretly pursue chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Iraq denies the charge.
The president said the United Nations Security Council must not back down when its demands are "mocked by a dictator." He said the United States and a growing coalition of nations are prepared to take the necessary action to defend themselves and disarm Iraq.
The White House said Friday Mr. Bush will spend the next two weeks trying to convince world leaders that the United Nations should adopt a new resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.
Mr. Bush's diplomatic efforts come as U.S. officials are warning Americans at home and abroad that they are facing a heightened threat of terrorist attack.
Attorney General John Ashcroft advised the public that the al-Qaida terrorist network could be planning attacks to coincide with the end of the Muslim religious pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca in mid-February.