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Bush signs Iraq war resolution

'The broad resolve of our government is now clear to all'

President Bush signed the Iraq war resolution Wednesday.  Dozens of lawmakers from both parties were on hand for the ceremony at the White House.
President Bush signed the Iraq war resolution Wednesday. Dozens of lawmakers from both parties were on hand for the ceremony at the White House.

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As U.S. President Bush signed a congressional resolution on Iraq, the U.N. debated the ramifications of a U.S. attack against Saddam. CNN's Richard Roth reports (October 17)
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• "The president is authorized to use the armed forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to  (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq, and (2) enforce all relevant United Nation Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."

• The resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of any military action against Iraq and submit, at least every 60 days, a report to Congress on the military campaign.

• The resolution does not tie any U.S. action to a U.N. resolution.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush signed a congressional resolution Wednesday authorizing him to go to war to disarm Iraq, saying Americans "will not live at the mercy of any foreign power or plot."

"Either the Iraqi regime will give up its weapons of mass destruction, or for the sake of peace, the United States will lead a global coalition to disarm that regime," he said at a White House ceremony Wednesday morning. "If any doubt our nation's resolve, our determination, they would be unwise to test it."

The White House says Iraq is stockpiling chemical and biological weapons in violation of U.N. resolutions ending the 1991 Persian Gulf War. It also accuses Iraq of resuming efforts to obtain nuclear weapons, and argues that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein could give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.

Bush said he still hopes a conflict with Iraq can be avoided. But he said it is up to Iraq to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions requiring it to give up weapons of mass destruction, and he called on the United Nations to demand Iraq meet its obligations.

"The time has arrived once again for the United Nations to live up to the purposes of its founding -- to protect our common security," Bush said. "The time has arrived once again for free nations to face up to our global responsibilities and confront a gathering danger."

Bush signed the resolution in an appearance in the East Room of the White House. He was flanked by Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and leaders of Congress from both parties.

"The broad resolve of our government is now clear to all, clear to everyone to see: We will defend our nation and lead others in defending the peace," he said.

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Iraq has denied having weapons of mass destruction and has offered to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to return for the first time since 1998. At the United Nations Wednesday, Iraqi Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri accused Bush of seeking a "blank check" to occupy Iraq and seize its oil reserves.

The congressional measure authorizes Bush to commit U.S. troops to enforce U.N. resolutions mandating Iraq give up its efforts to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. It requires him to declare to Congress either before or within 48 hours after beginning military action that diplomatic efforts to enforce those resolutions have failed.

Bush also must certify that action against Iraq would not hinder efforts to pursue the al Qaeda terrorist network that attacked New York and Washington last year. And it requires the administration to report to Congress on the progress of any war with Iraq every 60 days.

The resolution passed both houses of Congress by wide margins last week, despite critics' concerns that it gives Bush too much power.

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