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Iraq's Weapons Could Make It a Target, Bush Says
27 Nov 2001
Apparently this mad man that we have in office will stop at nothing to securing the American Empire through out the world. The problem is that eventually this will be our down fall. I don't believe that Russia is playing into the hands of the US and don;t forget about the agreements between Russia and China. I doubt if China will be absorbed by the American Borg.
Iraq's Weapons Could Make It a Target, Bush Says
By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 27, 2001; Page A07
President Bush offered a new justification for future military strikes against Iraq yesterday, declaring in blunt and personal terms that countries that develop weapons of mass destruction could be a target in the U.S. war on terrorism.
Bush was emphatic that much work remains to be done in Afghanistan, where U.S. ground troops landed Sunday for the first time, and he warned that casualties are likely as soldiers hunt cave to cave for Osama bin Laden and other suspected perpetrators of the Sept. 11 hijackings. "This is a dangerous period of time," he said.
But Bush, when asked at a Rose Garden appearance about whether Iraq could be a target as the United States looks to expand the war on terrorists, said, "Afghanistan is still just the beginning. . . . If you develop weapons of mass destruction that you want to terrorize the world, you'll be held accountable."
White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said the president's comments represented a "restatement of a long-standing American policy." Since Sept. 11, the administration has appeared divided about where to take the war after Afghanistan, with some key Bush advisers urging a more aggressive stance versus Iraq.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has barred United Nations weapons inspectors from searching for chemical and biological weapons depots since 1997. U.S. officials have said satellite photographs and intelligence reports suggest that Hussein has continued his quest for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
"As for Mr. Saddam Hussein, he needs to let inspectors back in his country, to show us that he is not developing weapons of mass destruction," Bush said.
Asked the consequences if inspectors are not admitted, Bush said, "He'll find out."
The president also said North Korea must allow weapons inspectors. "We've had that discussion with North Korea," Bush said. "I made it very clear to North Korea that in order for us to have relations with them, that we want to know: Are they developing weapons of mass destruction? And they ought to stop proliferating."
Kenneth Allard, a former Army colonel who is a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said administration officials have been disciplined about not dwelling publicly on their grievances with Iraq, but now "are allowing themselves the luxury of looking ahead."
"They have been very careful not to bite off more than they could chew," Allard said. "It is very clear that Iraq looms as the major continuing terrorist threat, and they just didn't want to talk about that until they were ready to go."
In Bush's address to Congress on Sept. 20, he said, "Any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." On Oct. 30, he was more specific, saying, "If you feed a terrorist, if you provide sanctuary to a terrorist, if you fund a terrorist, you are just as guilty as the terrorist that inflicted the harm on the American people."
Bush said yesterday that he was not consciously expanding his list of possible targets by citing countries, like Iraq, that possess weapons of mass destruction. "I've always had that definition, as far as I'm concerned," Bush said.
The series of recent administration remarks about Iraq began with an appearance by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice on CNN's "Late Edition" on Nov. 18. She said the United States is monitoring Hussein and added, "We'll deal with that situation eventually."
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz said during a briefing on Wednesday, after noting that the focus remains on Afghanistan, "We see a good deal of evidence -- chemical, biological, and even nuclear -- that the Iraqis are working both with their indigenous capabilities and acquiring what they can illicitly in the international market."
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said last night on CNN's "Larry King Live" that Hussein should take Bush's comments as "a very sober, chilling message."
Powell said Iraq remains dangerous. "They continue to try to develop these weapons, and we will keep the pressure on them to make sure that these weapons do not become a serious threat to the region or to the world," he said.
Despite the drumbeat, White House officials said it would be a mistake to assume that Iraq is the next target, or even that the next phase in the war would be military. Officials have said strikes against bin Laden's al Qaeda network are possible in Sudan and Somalia. Actions are also possible, probably in coordination with the host governments, in the Philippines and Indonesia.
"The military has been making plans and contingencies with regard to Iraq for 10 years," a senior administration official said. "We are focused on what we're doing right now, which is in Afghanistan."
Bush's Rose Garden remarks were part of an appearance with two U.S. aid workers who had been detained in Afghanistan on charges that they had promoted Christianity. As Bush took questions, he said he was "not the least bit concerned" about international concern over his plan to establish secret military tribunals for certain terrorist suspects from abroad.
Bush is to meet Wednesday with Jose Maria Aznar, the prime minister of Spain, which has cited the possible use of the tribunals as a reason for not extraditing eight suspects as conspirators in the Sept. 11 attacks.
"A president must have the option of using a military tribunal in times of war," Bush said. "It makes sense for national security purposes, it makes sense for the protection of potential jurors. It makes sense for homeland security. It is the right decision to make, and I will explain that to any leader who asks."
Staff writer Steven Mufson contributed to this report.
© 2001 The Washington Post Company