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President Bush Confident Iraqi Weapon Program Will Be Found in Time


President Bush says time will prove that Iraq had an arms program devoted to weapons of mass destruction.

The Bush administration continues to defend itself against accusations it inflated evidence of weapons of mass destruction in order to justify military action against Iraq.

On Sunday, top administration officials rebutted the charges on national television, saying repeated reports showed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and sought to conceal them.

President Bush carried on that theme when he talked to reporters after a cabinet meeting.

"Iraq had a weapons program," he insisted. "Intelligence throughout the decade showed they had a weapons program. I am absolutely convinced with time we will find out that they did have a weapons program."

Mr. Bush was then asked if the credibility of the United States is on the line because no weapons of mass destruction have been found. He answered quickly and bluntly.

"The credibility of this country is based upon our strong desire to make the world more peaceful and the world is now more peaceful after our decision," he said.

The president also commented on a front page story in The New York Times regarding al-Qaida terrorist links to Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. The Bush administration had claimed strong ties. But the newspaper report says two al-Qaida captives in American custody have told their interrogators there was no connection between the terrorist network and the ousted Iraqi government.

"I read a report that somehow, you know, that there is no al-Qaida presence in Baghdad," said Mr. Bush. "I guess the people who wrote that article forgot about al-Zarqawi's network inside of Baghdad that ordered the killing of a U.S. citizen named Foley."

Lawrence Foley, a U.S. aid official was killed by gunmen earlier this year in Amman, Jordan.

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