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Bush on Iraq: 'Soon, we will speak with one voice'

President Bush
President Bush

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SPECIAL REPORT
•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
•  Weapons: 3D Models

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After discussing the Iraqi regime earlier in the week with Democratic and Republican members of Congress, President Bush predicted Saturday that "soon, we will speak with one voice."

Congress is working on a resolution authorizing the use of force, "if necessary, to defend our national security interests against the threat posed by [Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein," Bush said in his weekly radio address.

Passage of the resolution "will send a clear message to the world community and to the Iraqi regime the demands of the United Nations Security Council must be followed; the Iraqi dictator must be disarmed," Bush said. "These requirements will be met, or they will be enforced."

Bush has accused Iraq of ignoring U.N. Security Council resolutions approved in the wake of Baghdad's loss in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, including a promise to destroy all its weapons of mass destruction -- biological, chemical or nuclear. Iraq has repeatedly denied possessing any such weapons.

The president said the danger posed to the United States by Iraq is grave and growing. "The regime has long-standing and continuing ties to terrorist groups, and there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq. This regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could build one within a year."

Critics point to al Qaeda in other countries

Critics of Bush point out that al Qaeda terrorists are also in other countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that they have seen no proof that Saddam has been amassing weapons of mass destruction or given them to terrorists.

Administration officials have said they cannot proffer such proof because doing so would endanger the sources of information.

Though observers predict Bush has enough votes in Congress to pass a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, a number of Democrats oppose such a move. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, argued Friday that Bush has not made a persuasive case for military intervention in Iraq. (Full story)

Three Democratic U.S. congressmen visiting Baghdad said Saturday they were hoping their visit would persuade Saddam to allow weapons inspectors unfettered access to Iraq. (Full story)

U.S. authorities cannot afford to wait long before taking action, Bush said.

"Each passing day could be the one on which the Iraqi regime gives anthrax or VX nerve gas or someday a nuclear weapon to a terrorist group," he said.

Bush's address comes in the same week as congressional Democrats' accusations that he is politicizing the U.S. war on terrorism. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle on Monday used a Senate floor speech to say he was "outraged" that Bush was quoted as saying Democrats weren't concerned enough about national security. (Full story)

Former Vice President Al Gore also came out recently and criticized Bush administration policy. (Full story)



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