President Bush is again calling on the United Nations to take tough action against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Mr. Bush will lay out his case against Iraq in a nationwide address Monday evening.
President Bush wants a U.N. resolution forcing the Iraqi leader to give up suspected stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. If U.N. members fail to act, Mr. Bush stressed the United States will lead its own coalition against Iraq.
"For the sake of our freedom, for the sake of peace, if the United Nations won't make the decision, if Saddam Hussein continues to lie and deceive, the United States will lead a coalition to disarm this man before he harms America and our friends," he said.
The president says United Nations credibility is on the line as it decides whether a decade of resolutions on Iraq can be ignored without consequence.
Both houses of Congress are considering a resolution allowing the president to use force in Iraq to defend U.S. national security, if he concludes that diplomacy alone will not end the threat from suspected weapons of mass destruction.
The president reached agreement this week with leaders of the House of Representatives on the language of a resolution authorizing force. He is now pressing the Democratically-controlled Senate to adopt the same language, saying it is not a choice about politics but about protecting against another terrorist attack.
"This country next week will be having a big debate on a really important, historic resolution," noted Mr. Bush. "I welcome the debate. This is not a political debate. It is a debate about peace and security."
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says the speech Monday is a chance for legislators from both parties to hear what the president thinks about Iraq. Mr. Fleischer downplayed expectations of any new policy announcements or new evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The White House has not asked American television networks to broadcast the speech.
Major announcements often come from the Oval Office. This speech will be in the Midwest city of Cincinnati.
Britain is with the United States in its push for a new U.N. resolution, but the move is opposed by the other permanent members of the Security Council Russia, China, and France. All three hold veto power over any resolution.
China's foreign ministry says weapons inspections, not military action, are the best way of disarming Iraq. Russia wants to work toward a political solution without the threat of force. France wants one resolution warning Iraq before a second, if necessary, authorizing the use of force.
Iraq says it has no weapons of mass destruction and has agreed to the return of U.N. weapons inspectors to prove it.