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Bush Conveys Urgency on Issue of Iraq

Discussion /

October 8, 2002 Posted: 12:32 AM EDT (0432 GMT)
Bush addressed the nation in a speech at the Cincinnati Museum Center.
Bush addressed the nation in a speech at the Cincinnati Museum Center.  

President Bush thundered out against Iraq on Monday. In a televised speech from Cincinnati, Ohio, Bush called Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein a "murderous tyrant" who has killed thousands of people. Bush added that Saddam was determined to build a nuclear bomb, and that he stood as a threat to the United States, to those countries neighboring Iraq, and to his own people.

The president's comments came exactly one year after the U.S. launched its global war on terrorism in Afghanistan. Bush said that confronting the threat posed by Iraq was "crucial to winning the War on Terror." His speech also coincided with the beginning of a busy week for the United Nations and the U.S. Congress: Both organizations will be debating what to do about Iraq.

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Part of that debate concerns lawmakers who want to understand the immediacy to Bush's agenda - why confront Iraq now? The president said that after Americans had seen the "horror of September 11" and the fact that "those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people," they should not be idle while a threat gathers against them. He added that the country could not wait for the final proof that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction to "come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

Regarding the congressional debate on Iraq, Bush said a resolution - one that could authorize the use of military force against the Gulf state - should not suggest that war is imminent. But he said that to avoid any conflict, Iraq must disarm, end its support for terrorism, and stop persecuting its civilian population, among other key demands.

Some Democratic senators have criticized the Bush Administration's standpoint on Iraq. Sen. Edward Kennedy has said that the administration has not demonstrated that Iraq is an imminent threat to the United States.

Weekly Activities:
Updated September 21, 2002

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