CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
President in St. Louis
Aired January 22, 2003 - 12:21 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The president speaking right now. Let's listen to what he's saying in St. Louis, Missouri.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... have recently uncovered and havearrested a group of Al Qaida that they think were intending to poison the British people. Slowly but surely, we're rounding them up.
That coalition of freedom-loving people still stands. Either you're with us and those of us who love freedom or you're with the enemy.
We've got an obligation to our children to hunt these people down.
We've also got an obligation to our children to address problems before they come back to America. And my judgment, my considered judgment, there's a real risk to America and our friends and allies in Iraq.
The dictator of Iraq has got weapons of mass destruction. He has used weapons of mass destruction. He can't stand America and what we stand for. He can't stand our friends and allies. He's a dangerous, dangerous man with dangerous, dangerous weapons. And that's why the world came together at the United Nations Security Council and said: Mr. Saddam Hussein must disarm. The message was as clear as can possibly be delivered: Mr. Saddam Hussein must disarm.
And the first step of that disarmament was for him to make a declaration of his weapons. Twelve thousand pages of deceit and deception were placed at the U.N. Security Council.
We know what it means to disarm. We know what a disarmed regime does. We know how a disarmed regime accounts for weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein is not disarming like the world has told him he must do.
BUSH: He's a dangerous man with dangerous weapons. He's a danger to America and our friends and allies, and that is why the world has said, "Disarm."
But Saddam Hussein has learned lessons from the past. See, the first time he was told to disarm was 11 years ago. He is adept at deception and delays and denying.
He asked for more time so he can give the so-called inspectors more runaround. He's interested in playing hide-and-seek in a huge country. He's not interested in disarming.
I hope the world has learned the lessons from the past just like Saddam Hussein has learned the lessons from the past, but in a different way.
It's time for us to hold the world to account and for Saddam to be held to account.
We must not be fooled by the ways of the past. After all, we've just discovered undeclared chemical warfare in Iraq. That's incredibly troubling and disturbing for a man that is evidence of a man not disarming.
He wants to play a game. For the sake of peace, we must not let him play a game. So the resolutions of the Security Council will be enforced.
BUSH: My hope is that Saddam Hussein will disarm voluntarily. I take seriously the commitment of any troop into combat. I desire peace.
But in the name of peace, in the name of securing our future, if Saddam Hussein will not disarm, the United States of America and friends of freedom will disarm Saddam Hussein.
And should that path be forced upon us, there will be serious consequences. There will be serious consequences for the dictator in Iraq. And there will be serious consequences for any Iraqi general or soldier who were to use weapons of mass destruction on our troops or on innocent lives within Iraq.
Should any Iraqi officer or soldier receive an order from Saddam Hussein or his sons or any of the killers who occupy the high levels of their government, my advice is don't follow that order because if you choose to do so when Iraq is liberated, you will be treated, tried and persecuted as a war criminal.
And there will be serious consequences should we be forced into action. There will be serious consequences for the Iraqi people, and that's freedom; freedom from oppression.
(APPLAUSE) Freedom from oppression, freedom from torture, freedom from murder, freedom to realize your God-given talents. And so, we've got a lot of challenges when it comes to keep the peace, but this great mighty nation, this kind, generous, compassionate nation will lead the world to peace, so that not only our children but children in the far reaches of our globe can grow up in a peaceful society.
And here at home, we've got economic challenges. Think about what this economy of ours has been through. For a short time, we've had a recession. The first three quarters of my presidency were negative growth. That's the definition of a recession.
And then before we could get our head above water, the enemy hit us and hurt us. It took thousands of innocent lives, and at the same time, hurt our economy. And we acted. We acted in the recession by letting you have more of your own money. We enacted the largest tax cut in a generation.
And it helped. It helped bottom out that recession. You see, when people have more of their own money, they tend to spend it and when they spend it, it means somebody's going to produce the product or the service in which they're spending their money, which means then somebody's likely to find work.
We acted after the enemy hit us. We made sure our airlines got moving and we passed a terrorism insurance bill to encourage large construction projects to move forward so our hard-hats could find work here in America.
We got the stock markets up and running. We acted.
And then the confidence of our country was affected when it turned out some of our corporate leaders didn't tell the truth, that they fudged the books, that they thought it was OK...
BLITZER: So the president of the United States moving on, talking about his economic programs, trying to revitalize the economy.
But we did hear important news from the president just a few minutes ago, not only a warning to Iraqi generals, officers, military leaders not to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S. troops or other innocents in the region, but also going further.
Hearing from the president that they will be in his words, tried found, prosecuted, treated, tried and prosecuted as war criminals, in his words, after the United States liberates Iraq.
The president of the United States going a step further, now saying there will be war crime tribunals against any Iraqi officers who engage in an order, who accept an order from what the president calls the killers of the Iraqi leadership to go ahead and use weapons of mass destruction. Another important step on the road that the president has in trying to convince the world that his hardline stance as far as Iraq is concerned is the right stance.
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