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Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters on Arrival From Camp David, Maryland

July 26, 1992

War on Drugs

The President. I have two brief statements. In addition to yesterday's meeting with our national security advisers on the situation in Iraq, which has been widely reported, I spent considerable time today reviewing the antidrug fight in our communities.

Jim Burke, who heads the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, gave me a very thorough and encouraging report at Camp David about the progress that our Nation is making in turning away from the drug culture. It's happening; America is turning off drugs. Problems remain, to be sure, but impressive progress is being made on the demand side of the equation, particularly among our youth.

So he and I today reviewed the data that shows a cultural change is taking place. Kids are rejecting drugs. There's been a 56 percent drop in use by 13- to 17-year-olds in one study, a drop of 48 percent among this group in another. So these are very important trends. In our workplace programs, people are really putting out the effort. Virtually 90 percent of our major companies have highly effective programs, and companies are expanding a program called Drugs Don't Work. Our country's getting the message. At least 900 communities across the country have organized antidrug coalitions, and more of them are being formed every day.

Now, we still have a serious drug problem in the United States, with an estimated 6 million addicts. This drug problem is embedded in every other social issue that we're dealing with as a Nation. So we've got to do more. But I was very pleased with Mr. Burke's report on behalf of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.


Now, on Iraq: Iraq's belated announcement that it will allow the United Nations Special Commission to carry out an inspection of the Agricultural Ministry in Baghdad does not alter the fact that for some 3 weeks Saddam Hussein flagrantly violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 687. Nor does this announcement change the fact that Iraq deliberately and callously harassed and abused the U.N. inspectors seeking to carry out their mandate. That mandate: Immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, unrestricted access to any site the U.N. deems warranted for inspection.

And yes, now, once again, Saddam Hussein has caved in. While Saddam has bent to the will of the U.N., the question remains whether after this delay a truly effective inspection of the Ministry is still possible. The real test of his behavior will be in future U.N. inspections. Behavior along the lines we've just witnessed will not be tolerated.

Saddam has long pursued a pattern of willful noncompliance and obstruction of the United Nations Special Commission. For over a year he has lied about the extent of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs and sought to conceal them from the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Now, this is unacceptable. Iraq must and will be held to the standard of full compliance with Security Council Resolution 687.

Saddam's violation of the will of the international community, as expressed in the United Nations Security Council resolutions, continues in other important areas. Iraq has refused to participate in the work of the Iraq-Kuwait Border Commission. Iraq has refused to account for Kuwaiti citizens seized during the occupation of the emirate and to return property that was stolen by the occupiers. Iraq has not renewed the memorandum of understanding with the U.N. and has stepped up its harassment of U.N. officials and humanitarian agencies operating in the country.

Saddam has stepped up his persecution of the Iraqi people in flagrant violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 688, including recent use of jet fighters against the Shia and maintaining a blockade of the Kurds. Iraq has refused to accept U.N. Security Council Resolutions 706 and 712, which would allow for that sale of oil for food and medicine, choosing instead to have the Iraqi people suffer unnecessarily, denying them food.

The international community cannot tolerate continued Iraqi defiance of the United Nations and the rule of law. There is too much at stake for the region, for the United Nations, and for the world.

I'll just take a couple of questions, just a couple of questions here.

Q. Does this mean that you find unsatisfactory the settlement that was made at the U.N. and are rejecting it, or is this a temporary settlement of the -- --

The President. No, we support Dr. Ekeus. He has our full respect and confidence. So that inspection will go forward, belatedly so, but it will go forward.

Q. Do you feel, Mr. President, that there is a need now for some kind of ultimatum, some kind of deadline given them, some kind of threat of military aid?

The President. Some kind of threat?

Q. I mean military action. Pardon me.

The President. I don't know that any more is required right at this minute. I think everyone knows that we are determined to see these resolutions complied with. We are in very close touch with our allies. This standoff now has been resolved by his caving in, by his backing down in spite of bluster and threats to the contrary. But there are many other inspections to come.

Q. Mr. President, does that mean then that the crisis in general is not over, that there will be continuing incidents with Saddam Hussein?

The President. Well, the way to end the crisis is for him to fully comply with these resolutions I outlined. Until then there will be a lot of tension because the whole world is now more determined than ever to see that he does comply. So I can't say there's no reason for concern anymore at all. There's plenty of reason.

Q. Mr. President, some U.S. military forces are en route to the region. In view of the agreement that has been worked out, will you order those forces to stand down, to be pulled back, or is that military option still open?

The President. Well, normally I don't discuss the deployment of military forces, and I'm inclined to stay with that right now. I don't think there will be any drastic changes in existing plans.

Q. Mr. President, you seem to be saying that the next time there won't be any time for warning, you're not going to let one of these crises build up like this. Is that what you're telling us?

The President. You can interpret it any way you want. All I'm trying to do is express the unanimous determination of the Security Council.

Q. Mr. President, Deputy Secretary Eagleburger said today he expects Secretary Baker to stay at the State Department for a long, long time. Is that your view as well, or is he going to move to the campaign shortly?

The President. I have no comments on that subject.

Q. Mr. President, Saddam Hussein said today that "the mother of all battles" is not over. What do you say to him?

The President. I say to him, if it's not over, he better hope it is.

Q. Is he still a threat to his neighbors in the Middle East?

The President. No, Saddam Hussein is a threat to the Iraqi people. He's a threat to his own people. He's brutalizing his own people in failing to comply. He is a threat to peace and security in the area. There's no question about all of that. Our argument is not with the Iraqi people. I've said that since day one of all of this. I will repeat it here today: Our argument is with Saddam Hussein, the bully, the dictator, the brutal merchant of death. And that's it. It is not with the Iraqi people. And once again, he has caved in after a lot of bluster.

But all I want to do here is express for the United States our determination to see him comply with these resolutions. We haven't forgotten, and nor have the other members of the Security Council. So against a solid wall, he once again caved in. I guess there's a certain humiliation factor for him with his own people. But I would simply say we've just got to look ahead now and see that other inspections go forward and that he complies with these resolutions, the subject of which I discussed here a few minutes ago.

Last one here.

Q. Can I just clarify, is the threat of force not over until full compliance begins?

The President. I haven't threatened or changed anything. The options that the United States and our partners have available to us are well-known. Let's just see that he complies with the resolutions. I'm not here to threaten. I'm simply here to say that I'm glad that he cratered once again on this threatening, but to reiterate our determination to see these resolutions complied with. That's all that this is about, and it's got to be done in timely fashion.

I salute Mr. Ekeus. He's a courageous man. And he worked hard to get access to this Ministry, which he should have had given to him automatically, by very competent professionals, very competent inspectors.

There will be another occasion along the line here because there are other inspections that will take place. So we just have to keep plugging ahead to be sure this man does what international law calls for him to do.

Thank you all very much.

Note: The President spoke at 4:35 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Rolf Ekeus, Executive Director, United Nations Special Commission on Iraq.

George Bush, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters on Arrival From Camp David, Maryland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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