Good morning. Today I'm meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
about the growing danger posed by Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, and the unique
opportunity the U.N. Security Council has to confront it.
I appreciate the Prime Minister's public support for effective international
action to deal with this danger. The Italian Prime Minister joins other concerned
world leaders who have called on the world to act. Among them, Prime Minister
Blair of Great Britain, Prime Minister Aznar of Spain, President Kwasniewski
of Poland. These leaders have reached the same conclusion I have -- that Saddam
Hussein has made the case against himself.
He has broken every pledge he made to the United Nations and the world since
his invasion of Kuwait was rolled back in 1991. Sixteen times the United Nations
Security Council has passed resolutions designed to ensure that Iraq does not
pose a threat to international peace and security. Saddam Hussein has violated
every one of these 16 resolutions -- not once, but many times.
Saddam Hussein's regime continues to support terrorist groups and to oppress
its civilian population. It refuses to account for missing Gulf War personnel,
or to end illicit trade outside the U.N.'s oil-for-food program. And although
the regime agreed in 1991 to destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass
destruction and long-range missiles, it has broken every aspect of this fundamental
Today this regime likely maintains stockpiles of chemical and biological agents,
and is improving and expanding facilities capable of producing chemical and
biological weapons. Today Saddam Hussein has the scientists and infrastructure
for a nuclear weapons program, and has illicitly sought to purchase the equipment
needed to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should his regime acquire fissile
material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year.
The former head of the U.N. team investigating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction
program, Richard Butler, reached this conclusion after years of experience:
"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."
By supporting terrorist groups, repressing its own people and pursuing weapons
of mass destruction in defiance of a decade of U.N. resolutions, Saddam Hussein's
regime has proven itself a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise
is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet
the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this
is a risk we must not take.
Saddam Hussein's defiance has confronted the United Nations with a difficult
and defining moment: Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced,
or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purposes
of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?
As the United Nations prepares an effective response to Iraq's defense, I also
welcome next week's congressional hearings on the threats Saddam Hussein's brutal
regime poses to our country and the entire world. Congress must make it unmistakably
clear that when it comes to confronting the growing danger posed by Iraq's efforts
to develop or acquire weapons of mass destruction, the status quo is totally
The issue is straightforward: We must choose between a world of fear, or a world
of progress. We must stand up for our security and for the demands of human
dignity. By heritage and choice, the United States will make that stand. The
world community must do so, as well.