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Bush Says Massacre at Halabja Shows Evil of Hussein's Rule

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2003 – President Bush today held up the March 16, 1988, chemical attack on the civilians of Halabja, Iraq, as a prime example of the evil Saddam Hussein perpetrates.

Bush stressed the nature of the Iraqi dictator's regime in his weekly radio address.

"The chemical attack on Halabja just one of 40 targeted at Iraq's own people provided a glimpse of the crimes Saddam Hussein is willing to commit, and the kind of threat he now presents to the entire world," the president said. "He is among history's cruelest dictators, and he is arming himself with the world's most terrible weapons."

Bush is readying for a summit in the Azores with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. The men will discuss a further U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq authorizing military force.

"The United States, Great Britain and Spain continue to work with fellow members of the U.N. Security Council to confront this common danger," Bush said.

"We have seen far too many instances in the past decade from Bosnia, to Rwanda, to Kosovo where the failure of the Security Council to act decisively has led to tragedy," he continued. "And we must recognize that some threats are so grave and their potential consequences so terrible that they must be removed, even if it requires military force."

But even as these diplomatic efforts continue, the people of the world must not lose sight of the basic nature of Saddam Hussein's regime, Bush said.

The president and senior administrations officials routinely recount Hussein's actions: He has invaded Kuwait and Iran, and has used chemical weapons against Iran and his own people. He has launched ballistic missiles at neighbors in the region, and continues to hide and actively research weapons of mass destruction.

"We know from human rights groups that dissidents in Iraq are tortured, imprisoned and sometimes just disappear; their hands, feet and tongues are cut off; their eyes are gouged out; and female relatives are raped in their presence," Bush said. "As the Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, said this week, 'We have a moral obligation to intervene where evil is in control. Today, that place is Iraq.'"

Bush observed there is little hope that Hussein will change his stripes and begin cooperating fully with U.N. weapons inspectors. "If force is required to disarm him, the American people can know that our armed forces have been given every tool and every resource to achieve victory," he said.

The president noted that the coalition against Hussein will do all it can to spare innocent Iraqis from the consequences of the war. "Plans are in place to provide Iraqis with massive amounts of food, as well as medicine and other essential supplies, in the event of hostilities," he said.

"Crucial days lie ahead for the free nations of the world," Bush said. "Governments are now showing whether their stated commitments to liberty and security are words alone or convictions they're prepared to act upon. And for the government of the United States and the coalition we lead, there is no doubt: We will confront a growing danger, to protect ourselves, to remove a patron and protector of terror, and to keep the peace of the world."

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