with United Nations Vote on the Security Council Resolution
The Rose Garden
The White House
November 8, 2002
10:44 A.M. EST
Good morning. With the resolution just passed, the United Nations Security Council
has met important responsibilities, upheld its principles and given clear and
fair notice that Saddam Hussein must fully disclose and destroy his weapons
of mass destruction. He must submit to any and all methods to verify his compliance.
His cooperation must be prompt and unconditional, or he will face the severest
The world has now come together to say that the outlaw regime in Iraq will not
be permitted to build or possess chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
That is the judgment of the United States Congress, that is the judgment of
the United Nations Security Council. Now the world must insist that that judgment
be enforced. Iraq's obligation to disarm is not new, or even recent. To end
the Persian Gulf War and ensure its own survival, Iraq's regime agreed to disarm
in April of 1991. For over a decade the Iraqi regime has treated its own pledge
As today's resolution states, Iraq is already in material breach of past U.N.
demands. Iraq has aggressively pursued weapons of mass destruction, even while
inspectors were inside the country. Iraq has undermined the effectiveness of
weapons inspectors with ploys, delays, and threats -- making their work impossible
and leading to four years of no inspections at all.
The world has learned from this experience an essential lesson, inspections
will not result in a disarmed Iraq unless the Iraqi regime fully cooperates.
Inspectors do not have the power to disarm an unwilling regime. They can only
confirm that a government has decided to disarm itself. History has shown that
when Iraq's leaders stall inspections and impede the progress, it means they
have something to hide.
The resolution approved today presents the Iraqi regime with a test -- a final
test. Iraq must now, without delay or negotiations, fully disarm; welcome full
inspections, welcome full inspections, and fundamentally change the approach
it has taken for more than a decade.
The regime must allow immediate and unrestricted access to every site, every
document, and every person identified by inspectors. Iraq can be certain that
the old game of cheat-and-retreat tolerated at other times will no longer be
Any act of delay or defiance will be an additional breach of Iraq's international
obligations, and a clear signal that the Iraqi regime has once again abandoned
the path of voluntary compliance.
With the passage of this resolution, the world must not lapse into unproductive
debates over whether specific instances of Iraqi noncompliance are serious.
Any Iraqi noncompliance is serious, because such bad faith will show that Iraq
has no intention of disarming. If we're to avert war, all nations must continue
to pressure Saddam Hussein to accept this resolution and to comply with its
obligations and his obligations.
America will be making only one determination: is Iraq meeting the terms of
the Security Council resolution or not? The United States has agreed to discuss
any material breach with the Security Council, but without jeopardizing our
freedom of action to defend our country. If Iraq fails to fully comply, the
United States and other nations will disarm Saddam Hussein.
I've already met with the head of the U.N. Inspections Program and the head
of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has responsibility for nuclear
matters. I've assured them that the United States will fully support their efforts,
including a request for information that can help identify illegal activities
and materials in Iraq.
I encourage every member of the United Nations to strongly support the inspection
teams. And now the inspectors have an important responsibility to make full
use of the tools we have given them in this resolution.
All patriotic Iraqis should embrace this resolution as an opportunity for Iraq
to avoid war and end its isolation. Saddam Hussein cannot hide his weapons of
mass destruction from international inspectors without the cooperation of hundreds
and thousands of Iraqis -- those who work in the weapons program and those who
are responsible for concealing the weapons. We call on those Iraqis to convey
whatever information they have to inspectors, the United States, or other countries,
in whatever manner they can. By helping the process of disarmament, they help
Americans recognize what is at stake. In fighting a war on terror, we are determined
to oppose every source of catastrophic harm that threatens our country, our
friends, and our allies. We are actively pursuing dangerous terror networks
across the world. And we oppose a uniquely dangerous regime -- a regime that
has harbored terrorists and can supply terrorists with weapons of mass destruction;
a regime that has built such terrible weapons and has used them to kill thousands;
a brutal regime with a history of both reckless ambition and reckless miscalculation.
The United States of America will not live at the mercy of any group or regime
that has the motive and seeks the power to murder Americans on a massive scale.
The threat to America also threatens peace and security in the Middle East and
far beyond. If Iraq's dictator is permitted to acquire nuclear weapons, he could
resume his pattern of intimidation and conquest and dictate the future of a
In confronting this threat, America seeks the support of the world. If action
becomes necessary, we will act in the interests of the world. And America expects
Iraqi compliance with all U.N. resolutions.
The time has come for the Iraqi people to escape oppression, find freedom and
live in hope.
I want to thank the Secretary of State Colin Powell for his leadership, his
good work and his determination over the past two months. He's worked tirelessly
and successfully for a resolution that recognizes important concerns of our
Security Council partners and makes Iraq's responsibilities clear.
I also thank our Ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte and his team
at our U.N. mission in New York for their hard work and outstanding service
to our country. Secretary of State Powell's team has done a fine job. The American
people are grateful to the Security Council for passing this historic resolution.
Members of the Council acted with courage and took a principled stand. The United
Nations has shown the kind of international leadership promised by its charter
and required by our times. Now comes the hard part. The Security Council must
maintain its unity and sense of purpose so that the Iraq regime cannot revert
to the strategies of obstruction and deception it used so successfully in the
The outcome of the current crisis is already determined: the full disarmament
of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq will occur. The only question for the
Iraqi regime is to decide how. The United States prefers that Iraq meet its
obligations voluntarily, yet we are prepared for the alternative. In either
case, the just demands of the world will be met.