Some excerpts from President Bush's address

October 08, 2002

On the Iraqi threat:

By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities, by the merciless nature of its regime, Iraq is unique. As a former chief weapons inspector for the U.N. has said, "The fundamental problem with Iraq remains the nature of the regime itself: Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction."

In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for and is capable of killing millions. We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas and VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran and on more than 40 villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of Sept. 11. And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it has used to produce chemical and biological weapons.

Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or makes is a direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf war in 1991. Yet Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these weapons, despite international sanctions, U.N. demands and isolation from the civilized world.

On Iraq and al-Qaida:

We know that Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network share a common enemy - the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al-Qaida have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al-Qaida leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq.

These include one very senior al-Qaida leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We have learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaida members in bomb making, poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after Sept. 11, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.

Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliances with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.

On nuclear weapons

Before the gulf war, the best intelligence indicated that Iraq was eight to 10 years away from developing a nuclear weapon; after the war, international inspectors learned that the regime had been much closer. ... The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. ... Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahedeen" - his nuclear holy warriors. ... Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year. And if we allow that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed. Saddam Hussein would be in a position to blackmail anyone who opposes his aggression. ... And Saddam Hussein would be in a position to pass nuclear technology to terrorists.

On lessons of Sept. 11

We have seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people. Our enemies would be no less willing - in fact they would be eager - to use a biological or chemical weapon or, when they have one, a nuclear weapon.

Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

On United Nations role

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