Iraq with Congressional Leaders
The Rose Garden
The White House
September 26, 2002
10:46 A.M. EDT
Good morning. We've just concluded a really good meeting with both Democrats
and Republicans -- members of the United States Congress -- to discuss our national
security and discuss how best to keep the peace. The security of our country
is the commitment of both political parties and the responsibility of both elected
branches of government.
We are engaged in a deliberate and civil and thorough discussion. We are moving
toward a strong resolution. And all of us, and many others in Congress, are
united in our determination to confront an urgent threat to America. And by
passing this resolution we'll send a clear message to the world and to the Iraqi
regime: the demands of the U.N. Security Council must be followed. The Iraqi
dictator must be disarmed. These requirements will be met, or they will be enforced.
The danger to our country is grave. The danger to our country is growing. The
Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons. The Iraqi regime is
building the facilities necessary to make more biological and chemical weapons.
And according to the British government, the Iraqi regime could launch a biological
or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order were given.
The regime has long-standing and continuing ties to terrorist organizations.
And there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq. The regime is seeking a nuclear
bomb, and with fissile material, could build one within a year. Iraq has already
used weapons of mass death against -- against other countries and against her
own citizens. The Iraqi regime practices the rape of women as a method of intimidation;
and the torture of dissenters and their children.
For more than a decade, the regime has answered Security Council resolutions
with defiance, bad faith and deception. We know that the Iraqi regime is led
by a dangerous and brutal man. We know he's actively seeking the destructive
technologies to match is hatred. We know he must be stopped. The dangers we
face will only worsen from month to month and from year to year. To ignore these
threats is to encourage them. And when they have fully materialized it may be
too late to protect ourselves and our friends and our allies. By then the Iraqi
dictator would have the means to terrorize and dominate the region. Each passing
day could be the one on which the Iraqi regime gives anthrax or VX -- nerve
gas -- or some day a nuclear weapon to a terrorist ally. We refuse to live in
this future of fear. Democrats and Republicans refuse to live in a future of
fear. We're determined to build a future of security. All of us long for peace,
peace for ourselves, peace for the world.
Members here this morning are committed to American leadership for the good
of all nations. I appreciate their spirit. I appreciate their love for country.
The resolution we are producing will be an instrument of that leadership. I
appreciate the spirit in which members of Congress are considering this vital
issue. Congress will have an important debate, a meaningful debate, an historic
debate. It will be conducted will all civility. It will be conducted in a manner
that will make Americans proud, and Americans to understand the threats to our
future. We're making progress, we're near an agreement. And soon, we will speak
with one voice.