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Bush Continues Pushing UN to Take Tough Stance on Iraq - 2002-09-23

President Bush is again calling on the United Nations to take a tough stand on Iraq. He spoke during a trip to the state of New Jersey.

Since last September, the president has been talking about terrorism at virtually all of his appearances outside Washington. These days, he is also speaking in emphatic terms about Iraq.

It is not the full-scale address to the nation that some members of the U.S. Congress have requested, but it is an effort to place Iraq on the national agenda, raise public awareness, and perhaps put some extra pressure on the U.N.

During a brief trip to the state of New Jersey, a visit largely devoted to campaign events for members of his Republican party. Mr. Bush went from talk of terrorism to a verbal assault on Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

"He looked at the United Nations and said, 'It is a paper tiger and their resolutions mean nothing.' For 11 years he has deceived and denied," the president said. "For 11 years, he has claimed he has no weapons and yet we know he has."

The president said Saddam Hussein has evaded U.N. mandates to disarm and destroy his weapons of mass destruction. He vowed once again that if the U.N. Security Council does not act, the United States will.

"We will not allow the world's worst leaders to threaten us with the world's worst weapons," he said.

The president spoke shortly after British officials said a resolution on weapons inspections will be presented to the Security Council within days. President Bush did not directly refer to the fate of the inspectors in his remarks in New Jersey. But he did talk about the kind of resolution he wants to see emerge from the U.N..

"I want to see strong resolutions coming out of that U.N.," he said. "A resolution which says the old ways of deceit are gone. A resolution which will hold this man to account. A resolution which will allow freedom loving countries to disarm Saddam Hussein."

Meanwhile, the White House is continuing to work on a congressional resolution giving the president the authority to use force, if necessary, against Iraq.

And at the Pentagon, there are signs the U.S. military is taking steps to prepare for a possible attack. The New York Times reports that early moves have been taken affecting deployments and training. But the Times quotes senior U.S. officials as saying the Pentagon is not on a war footing.