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Iraq Will be Disarmed 'One Way Or Another', says Bush - 2003-02-14

President Bush says Iraq will be disarmed "one way or the other." Mr. Bush spoke after U.N. weapons inspectors reported to the Security Council that they have not found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but that there are weapons that have not been accounted for.

Facing opposition to military action from most of the U.N. Security Council, President Bush Friday said he is determined to act on his own, if necessary, to prevent Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from helping terrorists acquire chemical or biological weapons. "Saddam Hussein has got weapons of mass destruction, and he has used them," he said. "Saddam Hussein is used to deceiving the world, and he continues to do so. Saddam Hussein has got ties to terrorist networks. Saddam Hussein is a danger, and that is why he will be disarmed, one way or the other."

U.N. weapons inspectors Friday reported to the Security Council that Iraq is still not cooperating fully with resolutions demanding that it disarm, but that inspectors have not found weapons of mass destruction. China, Russia, and France want to give inspectors more time.

The White House says that is more time for Iraq to hide an illegal weapons program. Iraq says it has no weapons of mass destruction, and believes President Bush is determined to attack the country, regardless of what U.N. inspectors find.

The chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix Friday told the Security Council that among other violations, Iraq has missile engines that exceed limits set by the U.N. resolution that ended the 1991 Gulf War.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says Iraq must now agree to the weapons' destruction. "Resolution 687, which the United States voted for, states that these missiles shall be destroyed, removed, or rendered harmless. This remains the next important test," said Ari Fleischer.

Mr. Fleischer says President Bush agrees that the use of force in Iraq is a "last resort" and he remains hopeful that Saddam Hussein will disarm and avert war.

Speaking at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Friday, the president said confronting Iraq is part of the nation's broader fight against terrorism because of what he says are links between the government in Baghdad and al-Qaida terrorists believed responsible for the September 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

Mr. Bush launched a program to improve cooperation between intelligence analysts at the FBI and CIA as well as the new Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. officials last week put the nation on higher alert for a possible terrorist attack. The president said it is all part of his administration's fight against terrorism, a fight he says the nation is winning. "Last week's decision to raise our national terror threat is a stark reminder of the new world we are in," said President Bush. "That we are at war and the war goes on."

Congressional Democrats are criticizing the president's Homeland Security budget because they say it does not provide enough support for local emergency response teams who would likely be the first on the scene of another terrorist attack.