Bush, Blair: Time running out for Saddam
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair met in Washington on Friday to talk about Iraq. Here are excerpts from their joint news conference:
Timetable for military action
BUSH: "Saddam Hussein is not disarming. He is a danger to the world. He must disarm. And that's why I have constantly said, and the prime minister has constantly said, this issue will come to a head in a matter of weeks, not months."
BLAIR: "[W]hen we went down the United [Nations] route, we passed Resolution 1441, and I think it really repays reading that, because we said very clearly that Saddam had what we said was a final opportunity to disarm, and that he had to cooperate fully in every respect with the U.N. weapons inspectors.
"As Dr. Blix said in his report to the Security Council earlier this week, he's not doing that. And therefore, what is important is that the international community comes together again and makes it absolutely clear that this is unacceptable."
Additional U.N. resolution
BUSH: "I want to remind you, I was the guy who went to the United Nations in the first place. I said, 'Why don't we come together as a world to resolve this issue once and for all? Why doesn't the United Nations stand up as a body and show the world that it's got the capacity to keep the peace?'
"This needs to be resolved quickly. Should the United Nations decide to pass a second resolution, it'd be welcome if it is yet another signal that we're intent upon disarming Saddam Hussein.
"But 1441 gives us the authority to move without any second resolution. And Saddam Hussein must understand that if he does not disarm, for the sake of peace, we, along with others, will go disarm Saddam Hussein."
U.S. intelligence for the U.N. Security Council
BUSH: "Well, all due modesty, I thought I did a pretty good job myself of making it clear that he's not disarming and why he should disarm.
"Secretary Powell will make a strong case about the danger of an armed Saddam Hussein. He will make it clear that Saddam Hussein is fooling the world -- or trying to fool the world. He will make it clear that Saddam is a menace to peace in his own neighborhood. And he will also talk about al Qaeda links, links that really do portend a danger for America and for Great Britain; anybody else who loves freedom.
"As the prime minister says, the war on terror is not confined to just a shadowy terrorist network. The war on terror includes people who are willing to train and to equip organizations such as al Qaeda."
Iraq-al Qaeda link
BUSH: "Unless we deal with both of these threats, they will come together in a deadly form.
"Because, you know, what do we know after September the 11th ? We know that these terrorist networks would use any means they can to cause maximum death and destruction. And we know also that they will do whatever they can to acquire the most deadly weaponry they can. And that's why it's important to deal with these issues together."
Iraqi consultations with weapons inspectors
BUSH: "Let's see if I can be polite.
"Saddam Hussein has had 12 years to learn how to deceive, and I would view this as more deception on his part. He expects to be able to convince 108 inspectors that he's open-minded. The only way that he can show that he's truly a peaceful man is to not negotiate with inspectors, it's not to string the inspectors along, but to disarm in front of inspectors."
BLAIR: "The U.N. inspectors -- and this is the crucial point because on this basis that the whole issue of the U.N. authority rests -- the U.N. inspectors did not go back into Iraq to play a game of hide-and-seek with Saddam. They didn't go back in as a detective agency.
"They went back in under an authority that said that [the Iraqis] had to cooperate fully in every respect. The interviews of witnesses, not just access to sites. Honest, transparent declarations of the material they had. They're not doing that.
"Now, why are they calling back the inspectors? I think it's fairly obvious. It's because as the pressure grows, they want to play the same games as they've been playing all the way through.
"That's why it's important we hold to the path that we have set out. They have to disarm. They have to cooperate with the inspectors. They're not doing it. If they don't do it through the U.N. route, that they will have to be disarmed by force."
Was U.S. looking for a war with Iraq?
BUSH: "Actually, prior to September the 11th, we were discussing smart sanctions. We were trying to fashion a sanction [regimen] that would make it more likely to be able to contain somebody like Saddam Hussein. After September the 11th, the doctrine of containment just doesn't hold any water, as far as I'm concerned.
"I told you the strategic vision of our country shifted dramatically. And it shifted dramatically because we now recognize that oceans no longer protect us; that we're vulnerable to attack.
"And the worst form of attack could come through somebody acquiring weapons of mass destruction and using them on the American people [or] on our friends in Great Britain."