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Bush: Military Action Against Iraq not Ruled Out - 2002-02-13

President Bush is not ruling-out military action against Iraq. He says he is considering a variety of options and does not plan on making any of them public.

President Bush says he meant what he said in last month's State of the Union address, that Iraq could threaten world peace by arming terrorists with chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

Mr. Bush hopes international pressure will force the Iraqi leader to change his behavior. If it does not, the president adds, he will take "necessary action" to defend America and its allies.

"Saddam Hussein needs to understand I'm serious about defending our country," said Mr. Bush. "I think one of the worst things that could happen in the world is terrorist organizations mating up with nations which have had a bad history and nations which develop weapons of mass destruction. It would be devastating for those of us who fight for freedom."

Iraq says it is not helping terrorist groups. Secretary of State Colin Powell Tuesday said Washington will first turn to political and diplomatic means to address perceived threats from Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.