Bush says it's clear Iraq isn't disarming
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush said Tuesday it is clear that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is not disarming his nation and again warned that "time is running out."
Bush repeated his threat to disarm Iraq with a "coalition of the willing" and compared Iraqi claims it has abandoned its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction to "a rerun of a bad movie."
"He is delaying. He's deceiving. He's asking for time. He's playing hide-and-seek with inspectors," Bush said. "One thing is for certain, he's not disarming. And so the United States of America, in the name of peace, will continue to insist he does disarm, and we will keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein."
Bush did not address calls to give U.N. weapons inspectors more time to work, but said Iraq is giving the world community "the runaround."
The president has threatened military action against Iraq if it refuses to abide by U.N. resolutions calling for it to disarm. Baghdad repeatedly has denied possessing chemical, nuclear or biological weapons.
Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said Tuesday that the United States is ignoring the inspection process and "the aggression will take place at any moment."
"It is up to the international community to ask the United States why there is such a buildup and beating drums of war," Ramadan said.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Tuesday that Americans must face the prospect of war with Iraq despite "quite understandable" reluctance to use force.
"This is not a problem that we can turn away from," Armitage said. "We must be prepared to face it. We must not let the sensible reluctance to fight drive us into wishful thinking."
To accompany Armitage's speech, the White House released a 32-page report the administration says details Iraq's "disinformation and propaganda" since 1990. It accuses Saddam of exploiting and persecuting his people and using them to "corrupt the public record."
The report, "Apparatus of Lies," says Saddam "crafts tragedy" by placing civilians close to military equipment and using them as human shields. Iraq also has deliberately damaged public buildings and facilities and blamed it on coalition forces, the report states.
Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday urged the United Nations to stand firm against Iraq and not "be shocked into impotence" over fear of making difficult choices. (Full story)
Powell also said the United States and its allies will discuss a possible "next step" on Iraq after U.N. weapons inspectors deliver a report to the Security Council next week.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is scheduled Thursday to join the chorus of Bush administration rhetoric aimed at Iraq.
European support mixed on Iraq
On Monday, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said "that nothing justifies envisaging military action" and warned that war would jeopardize the stability of the Persian Gulf region and could provoke an increase in terrorist attacks.
France, which has been pushing for U.N. inspectors to be given more time, is one of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council with veto power.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Tuesday he supports staying on "the U.N. route" and said the military buildup is part of the plan. And he said, without clarification, that intelligence evidence indicates the Iraqi regime is weakening. (Full story)
Russia has said it will not back a unilateral military operation against Iraq, according to Russian news agency Interfax. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Tuesday: "Force must be used only when all other resources have been tapped. The potential for settlement has not been exhausted yet." (Full story)
Largest deployment yet of Gulf buildup
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has signed the largest deployment orders so far in the buildup of U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf region for what could be a possible military strike against Iraq, CNN learned Tuesday.
The orders affect some 16,000 sailors and about 17,000 U.S. Army troops, all of whom are expected to head soon to the region, according to Pentagon officials. An estimated 125,000 U.S. personnel from all armed services are believed to be there now.
Rumsfeld asked the Navy to provide two additional aircraft carriers to be in striking distance of Iraq. The moves would bring several hundred more aircraft and thousands more sailors in addition to the two carrier groups already in the region.
The carriers headed to the region are the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Theodore Roosevelt.