U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney says there is no doubt Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and is amassing them to use against the United States and its allies.
Speaking at a gathering of U.S. war veterans on Monday, Mr. Cheney strongly argued for preemptive action against the Iraqi leader.
He said many in the Bush administration are convinced Saddam Hussein will acquire nuclear weapons "fairly soon." He added that such weapons in the hands of a murderous dictator or a terror network, or the two working together, constitute a grave threat.
The vice president warned that, in his words, time is not on our side, and that the risks of inaction are far greater that the risks of action.
Mr. Cheney's remarks are seen as part of an effort to convince the U.S. Congress and America's allies of the urgent need for what President Bush has called a regime change in Iraq.
Mr. Bush has said he will not take any action against Iraq without consulting Congress and U.S. allies.
However, on Monday, White House lawyers argued that the president does not need the approval of Congress to take military action against Iraq.