Bush: U.S. will enforce resolution on Iraq
By Kathy A. Gambrell
WASHINGTON, March 1 (UPI) -- President George W. Bush on Saturday said the United States was determined to enforce the U.N. Security Council resolution demanding Iraqi President Saddam Hussein surrender the country's weapons of mass destruction and called on Iraq to undergo a regime change.
"This dictator will not be allowed to intimidate and blackmail the civilized world, or to supply his terrible weapons to terrorist groups, who would not hesitate to use them against us. The safety of the American people depends on ending this threat," Bush said during his weekly radio address.
Bush used his remarks to argue his case for possible military action in Iraq. The United States has criticized the Arab nation for its failure to account for missing biological and chemical weapons, its stockpile of al-Samoud 2 missiles and what it calls the Iraqi government's brutality toward its citizens.
"The lives and freedom of the Iraqi people matter little to Saddam Hussein, but they matter greatly to us," Bush said Saturday.
The United States, Britain and Spain introduced a draft resolution late Monday afternoon during a meeting of the Security Council in New York. In the terse, carefully crafted one-line statement, the three nations declared that: "Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it in Resolution 1441." National security adviser Condoleezza Rice told reporters this week: "In that sense, it is an affirmation of the council's willingness to enforce its own resolution."
The president stepped up his public relations campaign to convince the American public and the international community that Hussein remains a threat to stability in the Middle East and world security.
"If conflict comes, he could target civilians or place them inside military facilities. He could encourage ethnic violence. He could destroy natural resources. Or, worst of all, he could use his weapons of mass destruction," Bush said Saturday.
On Wednesday, Bush delivered a nationally televised speech before the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. He revealed his vision of how a war with Iraq could reshape the Middle East where U.S. power would remain to guarantee a democratic government for Iraq and bolster reforms in other Middle Eastern states. But Bush said the United States would not determine the form of Iraq's new government.
"That choice belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another. All Iraqis must have a voice in the new government, and all citizens must have their rights protected," Bush said.
The administration is seeking $379.9 billion in its 2004 budget request for the Pentagon. U.S. officials said this week that Bush has not yet been briefed on the amount the Pentagon is planning to ask for. According to various news reports, the Office of Management and Budget has said the Pentagon's portion of the budget is likely to be around $60 billion. That would be close to what was spent in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, which cost $61 billion. Of that amount, $50 billion was paid by the allies, who transferred the money to the United States.
This week the Defense Department revealed plans that could mean 200,000 U.S. troops would stay in Iraq for an indefinite period. The administration also detailed its plans for humanitarian efforts to aid civilians likely to be caught in the fighting.
"We will deliver medicine to the sick, and make sure that Iraq's 55,000 food distribution sites, operating with supplies from the oil-for-food program, are stocked and open as soon a possible," Bush said Saturday. "We are stockpiling relief supplies, such as blankets and water containers, for 1 million people. We are moving into place nearly 3 million emergency rations to feed the hungry."
Bush said the United States and Great Britain are providing tens of millions of dollars to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Program and UNICEF so they will be ready to provide emergency aid to the Iraqi people.
Critics have drawn parallels between U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and what they believe will happen in Iraq should it wage a war there. Analysts who have studied what the United States has done in the year since it began its military campaign in Afghanistan say that Bush administration officials have failed miserably in providing Afghanistan with the billions of dollars in assistance to rebuild the tiny nation.
The United States in October 2001 launched a major military offensive aimed at ridding the nation of its terrorist ties and a massive global manhunt for suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and the country's Taliban leadership. While a few members of the Taliban were captured, bin Laden and members of his inner circle have never been found.
Promises of a Marshall Plan-like reconstruction plan for Afghanistan never materialized, Peter Singer, a foreign policy fellow with the Brookings Institution in Washington, told United Press International. It is estimated it would take about $20 billion to get Afghanistan on track, but the U.S. financial commitment has fallen far short of that figure, he said. The Bush administration forgot to add funding in its 2004 federal budget proposal to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, only to have go back and put in $300 million.
Some humanitarian groups fear that what they have seen happen in Afghanistan will happen in Iraq if there is war. Bush said Saturday that rebuilding Iraq would require a "sustained commitment" from many nations, including the United States.Copyright © 2001-2003 United Press International
March 1, 2003, 2:27AM
Saddam must be exiled, U.S. says
Disarming alone won't avert warBy FELICITY BARRINGER and DAVID E. SANGER
New York Times
UNITED NATIONS -- The White House said Friday that the only way to prevent war in Iraq would be to disarm the country and depose Saddam Hussein.
At the same time, Russia's foreign minister threatened to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution that says Iraq has missed its last chance of avoiding war.
The hardening of positions on both sides increases the pressure on the six uncommitted members of the Security Council, who have looked to the work of Hans Blix, one of the chief U.N. weapons inspectors, for guidance on Iraqi compliance.
Blix's latest report, formally delivered to council members Friday, gives ammunition to both sides and does not offer the kind of unambiguous judgment that could help resolve the doubts of those who are wavering.
France and Russia seized on Iraq's apparent agreement to begin destroying its 120 or so short-range Al Samoud 2 missiles as further evidence that the inspections process was working. Blix, in a brief conversation with reporters Friday morning, called the decision "a very significant piece of real disarmament."
His deputy, Demetrius Perricos, was in Baghdad on Friday to oversee the initial phases of the missile destruction.
Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, said Friday that President Bush was hopeful that war could be averted, but that to escape military action, Iraq must "completely and totally" disarm and Saddam and his top leaders must agree to "go into exile."
That combination of events, he said, looked highly unlikely. Pressed on the point, Fleischer said that both would be necessary conditions because disarmament was the United Nations' goal and changing Iraq's government was Bush's.
Asked whether Bush's standard for war goes beyond that of the United Nations, Fleischer said, "It's disarmament and regime change."
The statement puts the United States on a different track from the United Nations, whose resolutions have been concerned with the immediate and unconditional disarmament, not with a change of government in Baghdad.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada, who was in Mexico City consulting on the Iraq issue, said Friday with visible agitation: "If you start changing regimes, where do you stop? This is the problem. Who is next? Give me the list, the priorities."
Hours before Fleischer spoke, the Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, derided the variety of America's stated goals for Iraq.
"The talk now is not about disarmament but about a change of regime," Ivanov said to reporters in Beijing, adding: "In recent days, the military option against Iraq is posed like a step aimed at democratic transformations in the Arab world."
Ivanov added that "Russia has the right to veto" and "will use it if it is necessary in the interests of international stability."
In Madrid, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain derided Iraq's pledge of cooperation by saying, "This is not a time for games." At the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el Sheikh, Arab League leaders met to try to formulate a unified response to the prospect of war.
Egypt's foreign minister, Ahmed Maher, speaking to reporters, welcomed Iraq's announcement about the missiles, but called on Saddam's government to cooperate fully with U.N. resolutions. He and other diplomats, however, dismissed a suggestion made Thursday by Secretary of State Colin Powell that the league should prod Saddam to step down.
Some Arab states, led by Syria, continued to press for a resolution that would categorically oppose the use of force to resolve the crisis, and called on Iraq's neighbors to deny the use of their military bases, according to participants in the talks.
Blix's latest report, which outlines the inspectors' work and Iraqi reactions during the last three months, described a litany of spotty Iraqi cooperation on the destruction of weapons.
The Iraqis, the report said, are destroying "small known quantities" of mustard gas under inspectors' supervision, and have identified two R-400 aerial bombs that were left intact when 118 others were destroyed at a site called al-Aziziyah.
It added, "It is hard to understand why a number of the measures, which are now being taken could not have been initiated earlier. If they had been taken earlier, they might have borne fruit by now."
The report also noted, "The results in terms of disarmament have been very limited so far."
In addition to Friday's report, Blix was preparing to propose a series of tasks by which Iraq could gradually prove its claim that it has no weapons of mass destruction, U.N. officials told the Washington Post.
In a report to be distributed to council members Monday, Blix lists certain items of Iraqi cooperation but concludes that disarmament in a tangible sense has not occurred, U.N. officials said. By offering the list of outstanding tasks, however, Blix presumes that Iraq will be given more time and invites the council to set a deadline.
Blix believes that it would take until the beginning of June to make a final determination of whether Iraq had complied with the tasks he has outlined, said one council member who spoke to the chief inspector. Blix will deliver an oral report to the council next Friday.
President Bush said late last month that the determination must be made in "weeks, not months."
As the Bush administration scurried for votes, Friday it indicated that it was preparing to recognize Bulgaria, another member of the council, as a "market economy." It's a move that would bring it a number of trading benefits with the United States.
Bulgaria is one of the countries that have been showered with Washington's attentions in recent days, as the jockeying for votes increases. It has been considered a sure vote for the pending resolution, but its diplomats have been careful not to commit themselves publicly.
France, Russia and Germany have offered the council an alternate suggestion -- though not in the form of a resolution -- which envisages another four months of inspections.
The French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, argued in an interview with three European papers that the latest Iraqi response was a perfect example of the efficacy of inspections.
France or Russia could block the U.S.-British-Spanish resolution with vetoes, or simply by obtaining seven of the 15 council votes.
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