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The President's Radio Address

March 08, 2003

Good morning. This has been an important week on two fronts of our war against terror. First, American and Pakistani authorities captured the mastermind of the September the 11th attacks against our country, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. This is a landmark achievement in disrupting the Al Qaida network, and we believe it will help us prevent future acts of terror. We are currently working with over 90 countries and have dealt with over 3,000 terrorists who have been detained, arrested, or otherwise will not be a problem for the United States.

Second, the chief United Nations weapons inspector reported yesterday to the Security Council on his efforts to verify Saddam Hussein's compliance with Resolution 1441. This resolution requires Iraq to fully and unconditionally disarm itself of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons materials, as well as the prohibited missiles that could be used to deliver them. Unfortunately, it is clear that Saddam Hussein is still violating the demands of the United Nations by refusing to disarm.

Iraqi's dictator has made a public show of producing and destroying a few prohibited missiles. Yet, our intelligence shows that even as he is destroying these few missiles, he has ordered the continued production of the very same type of missiles. Iraqi operatives continue to play a shell game with inspectors, moving suspected prohibited materials to different locations every 12 to 24 hours. And Iraqi weapons scientists continue to be threatened with harm should they cooperate in interviews with U.N. inspectors.

These are not the actions of a regime that is disarming. These are the actions of a regime engaged in a willful charade. If the Iraqi regime were disarming, we would know it because we would see it. Iraq's weapons would be presented to inspectors and destroyed. Inspection teams do not need more time or more personnel. All they need is what they have never received, the full cooperation of the Iraqi regime. The only acceptable outcome is the outcome already demanded by a unanimous vote of the Security Council, total disarmament.

Saddam Hussein has a long history of reckless aggression and terrible crimes. He possesses weapons of terror. He provides funding and training and safe haven to terrorists who would willingly deliver weapons of mass destruction against America and other peace-loving countries.

The attacks of September the 11th, 2001, showed what the enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what terrorists or terror states could do with weapons of mass destruction. We are determined to confront threats wherever they arise. And as a last resort, we must be willing to use military force. We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.

Across the world and in every part of America, people of good will are hoping and praying for peace. Our goal is peace for our own Nation, for our friends, for our allies, and for all the peoples of the Middle East. People of good will must also recognize that allowing a dangerous dictator to defy the world and build an arsenal for conquest and mass murder is not peace at all; it is pretense. The cause of peace will be advanced only when the terrorists lose a wealthy patron and protector and when the dictator is fully and finally disarmed.

Thank you for listening.

NOTE: The address was recorded at 10:47 a.m. on March 7 in the Cabinet Room at the White House for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on March 8. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on March 7 but was embargoed for release until the broadcast. In his remarks, the President referred to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, senior Al Qaida leader responsible for planning the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack, who was captured in Pakistan on March 1, 2003; Hans Blix, Executive Chairman, United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The Office of the Press Secretary also released a Spanish language transcript of this address.

George W. Bush, The President's Radio Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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