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Bush 'Deeply Concerned' About Iraqi Threats - 2002-03-27

President Bush is repeating his position that he will not allow Iraq to develop weapons of mass destruction. The president wants Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to return to his country.

President Bush said all options are still on the table regarding Iraq.

Speaking at a rally for rescue workers in the state of South Carolina Wednesday, Mr. Bush said the United States will not allow Iraq to help terrorists carry out future attacks against the United State or its allies.

Mr. Bush said, "We can not allow nations that have got a history of totalitarianism and dictatorship, a nation for example like Iraq that poisoned her own people, to develop a weapon of mass destruction and mate-up with terrorist organizations who hate freedom-loving countries. We can't afford to do that for the sake of our children and our children's children."

The president said Iraq is a threat to world peace because it could help terrorists acquire chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. Mr. Bush said the Iraqi leader is a problem and, "we are going to deal with him."

The president said Iraq, along with Iran and North Korea, are part of a so-called "axis of evil" that threatens American interests because they could help terrorists gain weapons of mass destruction. "History has called this nation into action," he continued, "and we are not going to let the world's worst leaders develop and maintain and deploy and aim at us or our friends the world's worst weapons."

Mr. Bush said he is "deeply concerned" about Iraqi threats but will not act against the country until he is finished consulting with allies. U.S. allies in the Middle East have warned that any unilateral action against Iraq could weaken support for the U.S.-led fight against terrorism.

Iraq, Iran, and North Korea all deny involvement in developing weapons of mass destruction or helping arm terrorists.