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Bush Pledges to Remove Saddam Hussein From Power - 2003-04-05

President Bush says U.S. forces fighting around Baghdad will not stop until they have driven Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power. The president used his weekly radio address to summarize the war's progress. President Bush says coalition forces are continuing to make steady advances to topple Saddam Hussein and disarm the military. "The people of Iraq have my pledge: Our fighting forces will press on until their oppressors are gone and their whole country is free," said President Bush.

The president again sought to contrast what he says is the kindness and respect of coalition troops who have brought food and medicine to Iraq with what he calls "acts of cowardice and murder" on the part of the Iraqi army. "In combat, Saddam's thugs shield themselves with women and children," he said. "They have killed Iraqi citizens who welcome coalition troops, and they have forced other Iraqis into battle by threatening to torture or kill their families. They have executed prisoners of war, waged attacks under the white flag of truce, and concealed combat forces in civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and mosques."

President Bush says Iraqi leaders who are terrorizing their own citizens will be tried as war criminals.

Mr. Bush says the war serves a "great and just cause" to eliminate suspected weapons of mass destruction and prevent Iraq from helping terrorists use those weapons to attack the United States or its allies. "Free nations will not sit and wait, leaving enemies free to plot another September the 11th - this time, perhaps, with chemical, biological, or nuclear terror," continued President Bush. "We'll remove weapons of mass destruction from the hands of mass murderers. And by defending our own security, we are ridding the people of Iraq from one of the cruelest regimes on earth. The United States and our allies pledged to act if the dictator did not disarm. The regime in Iraq is now learning that we keep our word."

Mr. Bush is spending the weekend at the president retreat at Camp David before leaving for Ireland Monday to meet with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In the Democratic response to the president's radio address, Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner says Washington should give more money to local police and firefighters combating domestic terrorism. "Whether in the Middle East or in America, the brave and selfless individuals who have pledged to protect us deserve our support," she said.

The president's nearly $80 billion request for more money to pay for the war includes $4 billion for Homeland Security, a figure Governor Minner says is too low.