The Bush administration says its view of Saddam Hussein has not changed in any way as a result of the Iraqi leader's speech late Wednesday in which he warned that would-be attackers of Iraq are doomed to fail. U.S. officials say they will continue to press for full compliance by Iraq with Gulf war U.N. resolutions.
State Department spokesman Philip Reeker dismissed the Iraqi leader's comments as "bluster from an internationally-isolated dictator" and said the speech showed once again that his regime has no intention of living up to its obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions. He said administration policy - for "regime change" in Iraq - remains unchanged and that the United States retains all its options for bringing that about.
"We continue to leave all our options available regarding Iraq," he said. "Saddam Hussein's regime remains a serious threat to the Iraqi people, to the people of the region, to the neighbors of Iraq and to international peace and stability."
The comments came on the eve of a meeting here Friday between U.S. officials of leaders of six major Iraqi opposition groups that the administration hopes will produce more unity among the disparate factions, and lay groundwork for the post-Saddam era in Iraq.