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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Cheney Talks About Showdown with Iraq

Aired January 31, 2003 - 12:29   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Vice President Dick Cheney is talking about the showdown with Iraq. Let's listen.
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... clearly demonstrated that Saddam has absolutely no intention of complying with the world's demands.

Sometime ago, the U.N. confirmed that Iraq had sufficient material to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax, more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, and as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agents. We know that he had some 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents, and several mobile biological weapons laboratories designed to produce germ warfare agents on the move. Yet Saddam Hussein has neither accounted for nor destroyed these instruments of terror. And his desire for nuclear weapons is undiminished.

Saddam Hussein is continuing his decade-old game of defiance, delay and deception. He's blocking unrestricted aerial reconnaissance, as called for in the U.N. resolutions. His security agents are hiding documents and materials from U.N. inspectors.

CHENEY: His intelligence agents are posing as scientists. And Saddam Hussein has decreed that real scientists who cooperate with U.N. inspectors will be killed along with their families.

Saddam Hussein's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction poses a grave danger, not only to his neighbors, but also to the United States. His regime aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaida. He could decide secretly to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for their use against us. And as the president said on Tuesday night, it would take just one vial, one canister, one crate to bring a day of horror to our nation unlike any we've every known.

That's why confronting the threat posed by Iraq is not a distraction from the war on terror; it is absolutely crucial to winning the war on terror.

(APPLAUSE)

America seeks a world at peace, but we will not accept a serious threat to our country, to our friends and to our allies.

Next Wednesday, Secretary of State Powell will present information and intelligence to the U.N. Security Council about Iraq's ongoing defiance. Our purpose is not simply to follow a process, it is to end the terrible threats to the civilized world.

As the president said the other night, the course of this nation does not depend upon the decisions of others. Whatever action is required, whenever action is necessary, we will defend the freedom and the security of the American people.

(APPLAUSE)

Fellow Republicans, in this critical hour all of us are proud to be part of a cause larger than ourselves. We will support our president as he confronts every threat from every source that could possibly do harm to our country. We will make America stronger, better and more secure. And in all that we are called to do, we will serve the highest ideals of this nation: liberty and justice in a world of peace.

Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking forcefully about the situation, the showdown with Iraq, making it clear that this is a potential war, not only a war against Iraq, but part of the broader U.S. war against terrorism. The vice president insisting that the Iraqi government of president Saddam Hussein represents, in his words, a grave danger to his neighbors, but also to the United States. We'll continue to monitor what the vice president is saying and bring you more information as we deem necessary. The vice president speaking before a group of Republican leaders here in Washington.

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