Bush to Send Iraq Resolution to Congress Today
Photo Opportunity with Secretary of State Colin Powell
The Oval Office
The White House
September 19, 2002
9:50 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I appreciate our Secretary of State coming by to
brief the Vice President and me and Condoleezza Rice about our progress in working
with the United Nations, convincing the United Nations Security Council to firmly
deal with a threat to world peace.
Before we talk about that, I do want to express our condolences to those who
lost their lives in Israel. It's been back-to-back suicide bombings. We strongly
condemn terror. We strongly condemn violence. And we continue to send our message
to the good people of that region that if you're interested in peace, that if
you want people to be able to grow up in a peaceful world, all parties must
do everything they can to reject and stop violence.
At the United Nations Security Council it is very important that the members
understand that the credibility of the United Nations is at stake, that the
Security Council must be firm in its resolve to deal with a truth threat to
world peace, and that is Saddam Hussein. That the United Nations Security Council
must work with the United States and Britain and other concerned parties to
send a clear message that we expect Saddam to disarm. And if the United Nations
Security Council won't deal with the problem, the United States and some of
our friends will.
That's the message the Secretary of State has delivered forcefully. That's the
message that he will continue to carry.
And, Mr. Secretary, I appreciate your hard work. You're doing a fine job.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: And we're proud of your efforts.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: I'll be glad to answer a few calls -- answers, starting with
QUESTION: How many of our friends are willing to join the United States in this
THE PRESIDENT: Ron, I think time will tell. I think you're going to see a lot
of nations -- that a lot of nations love freedom. They understand the threat.
They understand that the credibility of the United Nations is at stake. They
heard me loud and clear when I said, either you can be the United Nations, a
capable body, a body able to keep the peace, or you can be the League of Nations.
And we're confident that people will follow our lead.
QUESTION: Sir, the chief weapons inspector is going to be briefing the U.N.
Security Council today, and there have already been some reports that, in his
talks with the Iraqis, that they're limiting access to certain sites. Are those
reports true? And do you think they're trying to --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I haven't gotten a report from what he intends to say.
But let me give you just some general observations. First of all, there are
no negotiations to be held with Iraq. They have nothing to negotiate. They're
the people who said that they would not have weapons of mass destruction. The
negotiations are over. It is up to the U.N. Security Council to lay out resolutions
that confirms what Iraq has already agreed to, see.
Secondly, I don't trust Iraq, and neither should the free world. For 11 years,
they have deceived the world. They have said, we'll conform to resolutions.
They've never conformed to resolutions. They've never conformed to the agreement
that they laid out 11 years ago. Sixteen times they've defied Security resolutions.
And so, they -- the burden of proof is -- must be place squarely on their shoulders.
But there's no negotiations about whether or not they've been telling the truth
Let's see here -- Mark.
QUESTION: Mr. President, are you going to send Congress your proposed resolution
today? And are you asking for a blank check, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: I am sending suggested language for a resolution. I want -- I've
asked for Congress' support to enable the administration to keep the peace.
And we look forward to a good, constructive debate in Congress. I appreciate
the fact that the leadership recognizes we've got to move before the elections.
I appreciate the strong support we're getting from both Republicans and Democrats,
and look forward to working with them.
QUESTION: Mr. President, how important is it that that resolution give you an
authorization of the use of force?
THE PRESIDENT: That will be part of the resolution, the authorization to use
force. If you want to keep the peace, you've got to have the authorization to
use force. But it's -- this will be -- this is a chance for Congress to indicate
support. It's a chance for Congress to say, we support the administration's
ability to keep the peace. That's what this is all about.
QUESTION: Will regime change be part of it?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. That's the policy of the government.
Campbell, congratulations, you got two questions in one day. And it wasn't even
a follow-up -- that's a brilliant performance.