Bush issued a tough new warning to Saddam Hussein yesterday as administration
officials said that a war could begin before the end of the year.
In a series of Veterans' Day memorial services, Mr Bush said he was ready to
take his country to war. Unless President Saddam Hussein fully disarmed, "America
will lead a coalition to fully disarm him.
"I have no greater responsibility than protecting the American people. Should
military action become necessary for our own security, I will commit the full
force and might of the United States' military, and we will prevail," he said.
Colin Powell, the American Secretary of State, told CNN: "We're not going to
wait until February to see whether Iraq is co-operating or not.''
The Iraqi leader began the process of deciding a formal response to the United
Nations Security Council resolution, which calls on his government to provide
free and unfettered access to weapons inspectors or else face "serious consequences".
Iraq has until Friday to respond. If President Saddam rejects the resolution,
Mr Bush is determined to act alone if necessary to punish him with massive military
Iraq's parliament gathered in a bellicose mood yesterday and dismissed the
resolution as a document "packed with lies". To applause from the 250 deputies,
the head of the assembly's foreign relations committee urged parliament to reject
the UN resolution. The parliament's recommendation which is to be endorsed
by the Revolutionary Command Council chaired by President Saddam is not
expected until later today at the earliest.
Mr Bush said at a ceremony at Arlington Cemetery: "This great nation will not
live at the mercy of any foreign plot or power. We will not permit a dictator
who's used weapons of mass destruction to threaten America with chemical, biological
or nuclear weapons." According to leaks in the American press at the weekend,
Mr Bush has approved a battle plan involving a 250,000-strong force if Iraq fails
After Friday's deadline to accept the UN's terms and promise to comply, Iraq
has until 8 December to give weapons inspectors a declaration of all its chemical,
biological and nuclear programs.
© 2002 lndependent Digital (UK) Ltd