Just over a year after attacking the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in response to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, American president George W. Bush began arguing for the need to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power to in an effort combat anti-American terrorism around the world. The negotiations that ended the war between the U.S. and Iraq in 1991 had set up a U.N. backed system for preventing Iraq from developing weapons of mass destruction. Armed with evidence that Iraq was developing banned weapons the Bush administration petitioned the U.N. to authorize the use of force to remove Hussein from power. The U.N. refused to authorize the American-led war, but Bush presented Hussein with an ultimatum and assembled a coalition of 46 countries (although Britain, Australia, and Poland sent the vast majority of manpower) to take part in the invasion. The invasion of Iraq commenced on March 19, 2003. After three weeks of intense combat, the American-led coalition forced entered Baghdad, forcing Hussein into hiding. By May, the invasion was deemed a success, although the weapons of mass destruction that formed the central driving cause of the war were never found, and the U.S. and its allies would continue to fight a counter-insurgency in Iraq for the next 10 years.
American soldiers topple a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad on April 9, 2003.
Tony Benn’s Interview with Saddam Hussein, 5 February 2003
Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Interview with Cairo’s Al-Ahram Weekly, 20 February 2003
Saddam Hussein’s Interview with Dan Rather, 24 February 2003
President’s Address to the American Enterprise Institute, 26 February 2003
President’s Radio Address, 1 March 2003
President’s Radio Address, 8 March 2003
President’s Radio Address, 15 March 2003
Letter to the UN Security Council from the Government of Iraq, 16 March 2003
Bush’s Address to the Nation, 17 March 2003
Statement of the Atlantic Summit, 18 March 2003
Letter to the UN from the Government of Iraq, 18 March 2003
Bush’s Address to the Nation, 19 March 2003
Letter to the Security Council on the commencement of military operations in Iraq, 20 March 2003
Letter to the UN Security Council from the Government of Iraq, 21 March 2003
Saddam Hussein’s Address to the Nation, 24 March 2003
Letter to UN Security Council from Government of Iraq, 28 March 2003
Colin Powell’s speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, 31 March 2003
Saddam Hussein’s Message, 1 April 2003
Saddam Hussein’s Speech (exceprts), 4 April 2003
Donald Rumsfeld’s Address to the Iraqi People, 30 April 2003
Tony Benn’s Interview with Saddam Hussein, 5 February 2003 Top
Source: The Guardian. 2012. “Tony Benn’s Interview with Saddam Hussein.” Iraq Documents and Speeches. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/documents/0,,916659,00.html
This is the full text of the interview between Tony Benn and Saddam Hussein, recorded at one of the presidential palaces in Baghdad at the weekend and broadcast on Channel 4 News on Tuesday night.
BENN: I come for one reason only – to see whether in a talk we can explore, or you can help me to see, what the paths to peace may be. My only reason, I remember the war because I lost a brother. I never want to see another war. There are millions of people all over the world who don’t want a war, and by agreeing to this interview, which is very historic for all of us, I hope you will be able to help me be able to say something to the world that is significant and positive.
SADDAM: Welcome to Baghdad. You are conscious of the role that Iraqis have set out for themselves, inspired by their own culture, their civilisation and their role in human history. This role requires peace in order to prosper and progress. Having said that, the Iraqis are committed to their rights as much as they are committed to the rights of others. Without peace they will be faced with many obstacles that would stop them from fulfilling their human role.
BENN: Mr President, may I ask you some questions. The first is, does Iraq have any weapons of mass destruction?
SADDAM: Most Iraqi officials have been in power for over 34 years and have experience of dealing with the outside world. Every fair-minded person knows that when Iraqi officials say something, they are trustworthy. A few minutes ago when you asked me if I wanted to look at the questions beforehand I told you I didn’t feel the need so that we don’t waste time, and I gave you the freedom to ask me any question directly so that my reply would be direct. This is an opportunity to reach the British people and the forces of peace in the world. There is only one truth and therefore I tell you as I have said on many occasions before that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction whatsoever. We challenge anyone who claims that we have to bring forward any evidence and present it to public opinion.
BENN: I have another which has been raised: do you have links with Al Qaida?
SADDAM: If we had a relationship with Al-Qaida and we believed in that relationship we wouldn’t be ashamed to admit it. Therefore I would like to tell you directly and also through you to anyone who is interested to know that we have no relationship with Al-Qaida. BENN: In relation to the inspectors, there appears to be difficulties with inspectors, and I wonder whether there’s anything you can tell me about these difficulties and whether you believe they will be cleared up before Mr Hans Blix and Mr ElBaradei come back to Baghdad? SADDAM: You are aware that every major event must encounter some difficulty. On the subject of the inspectors and the resolutions that deal with Iraq you must have been following it and you must have a view and a vision as to whether these resolutions have any basis in international law. Nevertheless the Security Council produced them. These resolutions – implemented or not – or the motivation behind these resolutions could lead the current situation to the path of peace or war. Therefore it’s a critical situation. Let us also remember the unjust suffering of the Iraqi people.
For the last 13 years since the blockade was imposed, you must be aware of the amount of harm that it has caused the Iraqi people, particularly the children and the elderly, as a result of the shortage of food and medicine and other aspects of their life. Therefore we are facing a critical situation. On that basis, it is not surprising that there might be complaints relating to the small details of the inspection which may be essential issues as far as we are concerned and the way we see the whole thing. It is possible that those Iraqis who are involved with the inspection might complain about the conduct of the inspectors and they complain indeed. It is also possible that some inspectors either for reasons of practical and detailed procedure, or for some other motives, may complain about the Iraqi conduct. Every fair-minded person knows that as far as resolution 1441 is concerned, the Iraqis have been fulfilling their obligations under the resolution.
When Iraq objects to the conduct of those implementing the Security Council resolutions, that doesn’t mean that Iraq wishes to push things to confrontation. Iraq has no interest in war. No Iraqi official or ordinary citizen has expressed a wish to go to war. The question should be directed at the other side. Are they looking for a pretext so they could justify war against Iraq? If the purpose was to make sure that Iraq is free of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons then they can do that. These weapons do not come in small pills that you can hide in your pocket. These are weapons of mass destruction and it is easy to work out if Iraq has them or not. We have said many times before and we say it again today that Iraq is free of such weapons. So when Iraq objects to the conduct of the inspection teams or others, that doesn’t mean that Iraq is interested in putting obstacles before them which could hinder the efforts to get to the truth. It is in our interest to facilitate their mission to find the truth.
The question is does the other side want to get to the same conclusion or are they looking for a pretext for aggression? If those concerned prefer aggression then it’s within their reach. The super powers can create a pretext any day to claim that Iraq is not implementing resolution 1441. They have claimed before that Iraq did not implement the previous resolutions. However, after many years it became clear that Iraq had complied with these resolutions. Otherwise, why are they focusing now on the latest resolution and not the previous ones?
BENN: May I broaden the question out, Mr President, to the relations between Iraq and the UN, and the prospects for peace more broadly, and I wonder whether with all its weaknesses and all the difficulties, whether you see a way in which the UN can reach that objective for the benefit of humanity?
SADDAM: The point you raised can be found in the United Nations charter. As you know Iraq is one of the founders and first signatories of the charter. If we look at the representatives of two super powers – America and Britain – and look at their conduct and their language, we would notice that they are more motivated by war than their responsibility for peace. And when they talk about peace all they do is accuse others they wish to destroy in the name of peace. They claim they are looking after the interests of their people. You know as well as I do that this is not the truth. Yes the world would respect this principle if it was genuinely applied. It’s not about power but it is about right and wrong, about when we base our human relations on good, and respect this principle. So it becomes simple to adhere to this principle because anyone who violates it will be exposed to public opinion.
BENN: There are people who believe this present conflict is about oil, and I wonder if you would say something about how you see the enormous oil reserves of Iraq being developed, first for the benefit of the people of Iraq and secondly for the needs of mankind.
SADDAM: When we speak about oil in this part of the world – we are an integral part of the world – we have to deal with others in all aspects of life, economic as well as social, technical, scientific and other areas. It seems that the authorities in the US are motivated by aggression that has been evident for more than a decade against the region. The first factor is the role of those influential people in the decision taken by the President of the US based on sympathy with the Zionist entity that was created at the expense of Palestine and its people and their humanity. These people force the hand of the American administration by claiming that the Arabs pose a danger to Israel, without remembering their obligation to God and how the Palestinian people were driven out of their homeland. The consecutive American administrations were led down a path of hostility against the people of this region, including our own nation and we are part of it. Those people and others have been telling the various US administrations, especially the current one, that if you want to control the world you need to control the oil. Therefore the destruction of Iraq is a pre-requisite to controlling oil. That means the destruction of the Iraqi national identity, since the Iraqis are committed to their principles and rights according to international law and the UN charter.
It seems that this argument has appealed to some US administrations especially the current one that if they control the oil in the Middle East, they would be able to control the world. They could dictate to China the size of its economic growth and interfere in its education system and could do the same to Germany and France and perhaps to Russia and Japan. They might even tell the same to Britain if its oil doesn’t satisfy its domestic consumption. It seems to me that this hostility is a trademark of the current US administration and is based on its wish to control the world and spread its hegemony.
People have the right to say that if this aggression by the American administration continues, it would lead to widespread enmity and resistance. We won’t be able to develop the oil fields or the oil industry and therefore create worldwide co-operation as members of the human family when there is war, destruction and death. Isn’t it reasonable to question this approach and conclude that this road will not benefit anyone including America or its people? It may serve some short-term interests or the interests of some influential powers in the US but we can’t claim that it serves the interest of the American people in the long run or other nations.
BENN: There are tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions of people in Britain and America, in Europe and worldwide, who want to see a peaceful outcome to this problem , and they are the real Americans in my opinion, the real British, the real French, the real Germans, because they think of the world in terms of their children. I have 10 grandchildren and in my family there is English, Scottish, American, French, Irish, Jewish and Indian blood, and for me politics is about their future, their survival. And I wonder whether you could say something yourself directly through this interview to the peace movement of the world that might help to advance the cause they have in mind?
SADDAM: First of all we admire the development of the peace movement around the world in the last few years. We pray to God to empower all those working against war and for the cause of peace and security based on just peace for all. And through you we say to the British people that Iraqis do not hate the British people. Before 1991 Iraq and Britain had a normal relationship as well as normal relations with America. At that time the British governments had no reason to criticise Iraq as we hear some voices doing these days. We hope the British people would tell those who hate the Iraqis and wish them harm that there is no reason to justify this war and please tell them that I say to you because the British people are brave – tell them that the Iraqis are brave too. Tell the British people if the Iraqis are subjected to aggression or humiliation they would fight bravely. Just as the British people did in the Second World War and we will defend our country as they defended their country each in its own way. The Iraqis don’t wish war but if war is imposed upon them – if they are attacked and insulted – they will defend themselves. They will defend their country, their sovereignty and their security. We will not disappoint those who believe in the principles of justice. And we will uphold the principles of justice and right that we strongly believe in.
Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Interview with Cairo’s Al-Ahram Weekly, 20 February 2003 Top
Source: The Straits Times (Singapore). 2003. “US has ‘no hit list’ nor does it ‘look for countries to hate.’” 20 February 2003. Accessed from Lexis Nexis Academic 10 October 2012.
NEARLY all regional powers have openly expressed their opposition to war at this particular time. Why isn’t the United States taking these views into consideration?
We are taking all views into consideration. Nobody wants war. The United States does not want war. Egypt does not want war. The solution to the possibility of war is very straightforward: Iraq should disarm.
The international community came together in New York on Nov 8 at the Security Council and passed a strong resolution – 1441. And in that resolution, everybody acknowledged that Iraq has been guilty of hiding weapons of mass destruction (WMD); that Iraq was being given one more chance to come into compliance and get rid of these WMDs; that inspectors would help Iraq, but that if Iraq once again failed to answer the international community, then Iraq must face serious consequences.
We can’t have an international system that functions when you have a nation such as this that continues to develop weapons that ( President Saddam Hussein) has used against his own people and against his neighbours.
He has invaded his neighbours. The United States did not invade Iran, Iraq did. The United States did not invade Kuwait, Iraq did. Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, and chemical weapons against its own people, and fired missiles at neighbours during the Gulf War. So, the problem is not with the United States, the problem is with Iraq.
We would be pleased at a peaceful solution, but (President George W. Bush) is determined and, I think, the international community is determined, that Iraq must be disarmed of its WMDs.
And if it is not done peacefully, the President believes strongly, and I think many other nations believe strongly, that a coalition would then have to use force to disarm Iraq.
There are many nations that believe as we do. Britain, Spain, Italy, a group of eight (European countries) put out a statement last week. And we hope that people will understand that if force is used, it will be done in the most measured way, and it will be done not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of dealing with a regime that is simply irresponsible.
And in the aftermath of such a conflict, the United States and its coalition partners will do everything we can to help the Iraqi people, to give them a better life, to help them use the US$20 billion (S$35.2 billion) a year that they get from oil revenue to build hospitals, schools, roads, to improve agriculture, to take care of poverty, to do all the things that are possible in Iraq if Iraq was not spending this money on WMDs.
What about the stance of France, Germany and Russia? They have expressed strong opposition to war.
They have a strong view. Russia and France voted for Resolution 1441, which calls for serious consequences if Iraq did not comply. Iraq has not complied. Russia, France, and now Germany, which is a member of the Security Council, and many others believe that there should be more time given, and that there should be more inspectors added.
We are sensitive to those concerns and we listen to them. They are friends. They are allies. But it is not (a question of) ‘How many more inspectors should be put it in?’. It is ‘Will Iraq comply?’. And if Iraq complies, then you don’t need more inspectors.
There are more than enough inspectors. But if Iraq does not comply, if it is not cooperating, if it is not turning over documents, if it is not allowing people to speak freely about what they know, if it is not bringing in missiles we know it has, if it is not telling us what it did with the anthrax and the VX, then more inspectors do not solve that problem.
The problem is that Iraq is not complying, and not cooperating, and more inspectors are not the answer to the absence of Iraqi cooperation and compliance.
But weapons inspection team leaders Hans Blix and Mohamed El-Baradei declared after visiting Iraq that they have started seeing a change of heart on behalf of the Iraqis. And on Monday, Iraq announced it was ready to accept, without conditions, U-2 flights. Doesn’t this change your position?
The U-2s (US spy planes) are not the answer if they are still going to try to hide everything on the ground. The U-2s might be able to assist in the disarmament, but the U-2s in themselves are not the answer, nor are more inspectors.
We are pleased if they are letting the U-2s fly, but what happens is, every time the inspectors go and visit, Iraq gives a little bit more, a few more documents. Okay. Why didn’t they offer the U-2 on Saturday or Sunday? Why wait until Monday, so maybe they can start on Wednesday?
So, the Iraqis are playing a game that we are all familiar with. We have watched this game for 12 years, and the region will be better off if this game comes to an end one way or another.
Would you be ready to receive an Arab delegation to seek a last-minute compromise that could avoid war?
I think the Arab nations have been playing a very important role by supporting the position that Saddam Hussein must disarm. (Egyptian) President (Hosni) Mubarak, especially, has been playing a very, very active and important role in suggesting to the Iraqis that they should comply and avoid a conflict, and, in his position of leadership within the Arab world, making that case to other Arab leaders.
If the Arab leaders wanted as a group to approach Saddam Hussein, that is their prerogative, and we would welcome such an approach. But it has to be an approach that says to Saddam Hussein: ‘You must comply’.
And, of course, I would always be willing to receive any delegation from the Arab world, or from any representative of the Egyptian government.
Would Saddam’s resignation be enough, or do you have other demands?
What we need to see is a regime that is changed, or an (unchanged) regime that is gone. And it isn’t just one person. We need to see a change.
The United States has no desire, in the event of conflict, of going in and pulling Iraq apart, or breaking all of its institutions.
Those institutions are needed to take care of the people, to run the systems; it is the regime that’s at the top that is causing all of this trouble in the region and for the Iraqi people, and for the world.
And if that regime, down to some level… were gone, and responsible leaders stood up and said to the world: ‘Look, they are gone. We are now here, we are in control of this country, we invite the UN to come in, would invite others to come in, and a coalition to come in to work with us on finding where all these weapons are.
‘We will tell you everything we know, we will give you all the documents, you can interview all the scientists, here is what we know about what happened to the anthrax, here is what happened to the VX.’
Why does the United States refuse to even consider the reported German-French proposal to deploy UN peacekeepers in Iraq?
Because there is no proposal yet. The only thing we know about is additional monitors and some technical material.
But there is such a proposal to deploy UN troops in Iraq.
Nobody has proposed that. Where did you see that proposal?
In press reports.
In a… German magazine called Der Spiegel. It was immediately discounted by both the French and the Germans. I know of no proposal for peacemakers or blue helmets, except in this magazine article.
But the proposals being circulated now, being reported in the press, amount to ending Iraq’s sovereignty. Isn’t it possible to even consider such proposals?
What (French) President (Jacques) Chirac said on Monday in his news conference with (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin, was more monitors and technical means, which is pretty much what (French) Foreign Minister (Dominique) de Villepin was talking about at the UN last week. So, if they were just talking about an additional number of inspectors, and maybe some additional technical means, that is interesting.
The United States proposed that when we first passed 1441: Let’s have three times as many inspectors – if he is going to cooperate, let us do it fast. But now, it is not for the purpose of helping them, it is for the purpose of slowing down the momentum to deal with this matter once and for all.
The issue is not more inspectors and more technical capability. The issue is Iraq’s compliance, and Iraqi cooperation, and Iraq coming forward in the way I described.
How would you calm serious fears in the Arab world that Iraq is first on a US ‘hit list’ of Arab and Muslim nations?
The US has no hit list. The US does not look for countries to hate, the US looks for friends and partners, and most of the nations in the Arab world are our friends and partners. Most Muslim nations in the world are our friends and partners.
And I must say that if you look at our history, our record of the last 12 years, when Kuwait, a Muslim nation, was invaded, by a neighbour, Iraq, who came and restored Kuwait to its legitimate government? Did we make Kuwait the 51st state of the US, or did we restore Kuwait to its legitimate leadership? We did what we always do. We gave it back to its people. We are partners of Kuwait. Do we have troops there? Yes. For our purposes? No. For security in the region.
When the Muslim population of Kosovo was in danger, who led the coalition that went and fought for those Muslims? Kosovo is now moving forward. It still has a difficult road ahead.
And in Afghanistan, when Afghanistan became the centre of terrorism, with the Taleban supporting the Al-Qaeda, and something had to be done about it after Sept 11, the United States did that, working with Muslim nations like Pakistan, our partner and friend.
We went and we removed the Taleban regime, and we are now searching for remaining elements of the Al-Qaeda. And what are US troops doing in Afghanistan now? Going after the terrorists and helping to rebuild the country.
Our Congress is putting billions of dollars into helping the Muslim population of Afghanistan. We have helped (Afghan) President (Hamid) Karzai go back to a position of authority. We help with the creation of institutions in Afghanistan.
Are we a new imperialist (power) who wants to run Afghanistan? No. We want to help the Afghans determine their own future and help them. We are building schools; we created conditions so that a million Muslims have been able to return to their homes in Afghanistan. So this suggestion that the US has nations on its ‘hit list’ is just ludicrous.
We want friends and partners around the world, and we have shown ourselves, over the years, to be a friend and partner of every nation that wishes to be a friend and partner with us in the region.
So, once you achieve your goals in Iraq and force Saddam Hussein out, will you leave?
Of course we will leave. We want to do what is necessary. If conflict comes – and we hope conflict won’t come, we still hope for peace, a peaceful resolution. But if conflict comes, and we have to go into Iraq, it is our goal, our simple goal, to find a solution quickly.
We want to help Iraqis put in place a government in Iraq that would be responsible to the needs of all the people of Iraq, that will keep the country together, and will dedicate itself to the elimination of WMDs, to proper standards of human rights, and we will help fix all the systems that are now broken, with respect to health care, education. We want to see institutions with responsible leaders, and then, we want to go.
Are you going to respond in kind if Iraq uses WMDs?
We never discuss that. Why don’t you worry about Iraq using WMDs, rather than, ‘Would you respond if Iraq uses WMDs?’ Will you scream bloody murder if Iraq uses these terrible weapons that it says it does not have? How could it use them if it doesn’t have them?
Now, if it uses them, the United States has no intentions of doing anything that would hurt the people of Iraq. But we will do what is necessary to defend ourselves. But I hope before everybody asks what the US would do, somebody would say: ‘My God. They did have them. They were lying.’
Saddam Hussein’s Interview with Dan Rather, 24 February 2003 Top
Source: CBS News. 2009. “Transcript: Saddam Hussein Interview.” Accessed from http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500164_162-542151.html
This interview was taped on February 24, 2003, by Iraqi TV crews, as is standard practice for Hussein, and the Iraqis delivered a tape that combined all three cameras into one composite feed. However, as far as we can determine, the content of the interview is intact. There are places in the tape where two people are talking at once and there are repetitions. This is a transcript of that composite tape and we apologize if it is confusing in places.
Note: in almost every case, the translator is translating what Saddam Hussein has just said in Arabic. In a few minor cases, the translator is speaking for himself to Dan Rather.
Rather: I want to ask questions in two categories, please. Category one would be those questions that I think many, if not most, of Americans would like to have answered about the news of right now. And in category two, more philosophical questions.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: The news are with you. News are almost (UNINTEL) (Editor’s Note: “UNINTEL” refers to a sound or word that the transcriber finds unintelligible.) different way. But the facts news are there, with you.
Rather: Mr. President, do you intend to destroy the Al-Samoud missiles that the United Nations prohibits? Will you destroy those missiles?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: We have committed ourselves to Resolution. We’re implementing that resolution in accordance with what the United Nations wants us to do. It is on this basis that we have conducted ourselves, and it is on this basis that we will continue to behave. As you know, it a– is allowed to produce – r- r- land-land rockets, with a range of up to 150 kilometers. And we are committed to that.
Rather: I want to make sure that I understand, Mr. President. So, you do not intend to destroy these missiles?
(SKIP IN TAPE)
Rather: Mr. President, I do appreciate your agreeing to spend an hour, because I want to ask questions in two categories, please.
Rather: So, you do not intend to destroy these missiles?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Which is that? Which missiles are you talking about? We do not have missiles that go beyond the prescribed ranges, by the…U.N. The inspection teams have been here. They have inspected every place. And if there is a question to that effect, I think the question should be addressed to them.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: I think the United States and the world also knows that there is – I think the U.S. and the world know that Iraq is – no longer has the (UNINTEL)– weapons. And–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: You have started your questions with the sort of (UNINTEL) and (UNINTEL), but not with the – However, you’re free to (UNINTEL) whichever way you’d like.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: May I translate?
Rather: Yes, please.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Thank you. The President says, the United States – the world – knows that there is nothing in Iraq of… whatever the noise has been made about. And I believe that that noise and the fleets that have been brought around and the mobilization that’s been done were, in fact, done partly to cover the huge lie that was being waged against Iraq about chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
And it was on that basis that Iraq actually accepted Resolution – accepted it, even though Iraq was absolutely certain that what it had said, what the Iraqi officials…had kept saying, that… Iraq was empty, was void of any such weapons, was the case. But Iraq accepted that resolution… in order not to allow any misinterpretation of its position.
And, indeed, in order to make the case absolutely clear that Iraq was no longer in possession of any such…weapons. Iraq accepted to agree to deal with that resolution. That is why, when you talk about such missiles, these missiles have been destroyed. There are no missiles that are contrary to the prescription of the United Nations in Iraq.
These missiles were des – missiles that were proscribed – have been destroyed and are no longer there.
Rather: What do you consider to be the core issues? You said that I had started – and indeed, I started with the news of the day. But what do you consider to be the core issue, the basic issue?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: In all divine religions, god, the Almighty, has reiterated to man in all his Holy Books and to humanity, in general, that there are two basic, most important things in life, that is, after the issue of the creation and of the issue of faith.
These two important things are food and peace. This is in Islam, this is also in Christianity and in all the other religions. So, the most important thing for man in his life and the preservation of his life and preservation of the lives of others is to establish peace and security for himself and, through that, his right to life.
Not only to obtain food, but also to obtain – to insure peace, and so that man can exercise his right in life and exercise his role towards others in the same way as he would like others to exercise their roles.
Rather: Mr. President, do you expect to be attacked by an American-led invasion?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: We hope that the attack will not take place. But we are bracing ourselves to meet such an attack, to face it. I’m sure you’ve observed the general life in Iraq. You’ve been here for a few days now. We hope that such a possibility doesn’t take place, but you’ve been here. You’ve been here for a few days, and you’ve seen how the people live. They live normally. They get married. They establish relationships. They visit each other. They visit their neighbors.
They travel around Iraq. They are enjoying life in the manner that life is provided. But at the same time, they also hear the news…because the officials in the United States keep talking about attacking Iraq, about the possibility of attacking Iraq, which is why the people are in Iraq, which is only natural – that they get prepared for such a possibility.
Even though, God Almighty invites us…and we hope that — we pray to him that — the Americans will refrain from such an eventuality — to avoid both the Americans — to spare the Americans from committing such a mistake — and also to spare Iraq and the Iraqi people from being involved in such an experience. And those who would like to ride the bandwagon of evil, it’s up to them.
Rather: Are you afraid of being killed or captured?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Whatever Allah decides. We are believers. We believe in what he decides. There is no value for any life without imam, without faith. The believers, while taking caution and care and trying to veer out and avoid any dangers and any traps that may be prepared by his enemies, in order not to fall on them, the believer still believes that what God decides is acceptable.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: When we were–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Bear with me. I – my – my answers are (UNINTEL) long.
Rather: Mr. President, I have all night. (LAUGHTER)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: When we were young, ordinary people in… Iraq, before, the Iraqi people had suffered a lot of deprivation and backwardness. People did not even find – many people did not even find.
Male Voice: Are you satisfied with translation?
Rather: Yes, no, the translation is excellent. It’s superb.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Did you – people – generally did not even find – shoes to wear, in those days. And – people in the countryside were deprived of most essential things in life. And people even in the city were deprived of the most basic – requirements for a decent life. For a simple life.
We, those days, decided to place ourselves to the service of our people, and I’m not going to indulge in a story about what we did for our people and the sacrifices that we made and the dangers that we went through in order to insure for our people the dignity that our people deserve, because this is a story well known, and I am not going to indulge into that.
But in those days, we did not ask the question whether we were going to live or die, but we simply relied on Allah and we moved ahead. We relied on God because we decided that what Allah brought will be acceptable.
The important thing, the basic thing, is that whatever Allah accepts will be in the service of the people and now, after having achieved all this march, having reached what we have reached, now we’ve become leaders of the country. Some of my comrades are ministers and vice presidents and the rest. We’re not going to ask ourselves now whether we should change our course or whether we should ask about life and death.
MALE VOICE: It’s morally unacceptable to ask such a question.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: How could we ask such a question when we, basically, as freedom fighters, did not ask it at the beginning? The people accepted us and accepted the fact of our revolution and the principles of our revolution, and they have committed themselves to them. And I do not believe that any officials in this place now should ask a question whether he’s going to live or die.
The question should be how deeply in strength he remains to his commitment to the people, to the basic principles from which we proceeded. And whatever the will of God is, then the will of God will be there. Nothing is going to change the will of God.
Male Voice: (UNINTEL) to- to the – Iraqi people, and humanity in general, also.
Rather: I understand. Mr. President, Americans are very much concerned about anyone’s connections to Osama bin Laden. Do you have, have you had, any connections to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Is this the basis of the anxiety in the minds of U.S. officials? Or is it the basis of anxiety in the minds of the people of the United States?
Rather: Mr. President, I believe I can report accurately that it’s a major concern in the minds of the people in the United States.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: This issue, this topic did not appear…amongst the concerns of U.S. officials until – that is, about any relationship between Iraq and Osama bin Laden — until recently. That is when they realized that what they had been saying about Iraq — that Iraq was probably in possession of proscribed weapons of mass destruction — or that Iraq might have manufactured some of those weapons after ….If that was the case, then that would be an embarrassment to the United Nations.
Then they began talking about the possibility of Iraq having relations with Osama bin Laden. Mr. Tony B- (GLITCH) actually asked me the same question, when I (UNINTEL). And I answered him, and I will answer you now very clearly. We have never had any relationship with Mr. Osama bin Laden, and Iraq has never had any relationship with Al Qaeda. And I think that Mr. Bin Laden himself has recently, in one of his speeches, given such an answer — that we have no relation with him.
Rather: Do you or do you not agree, in principle, with the attack of 9/11?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Let me tell you absolutely clearly: Our principles are not just national or pan-Arab, but they are humane principles. We believe in humanity. We believe that the world must seek to find opportunities for peace, not opportunities for war or opportunities for fighting or opportunities for venting or harming others. These are principles in which we believed before we came to power. And we started living on those principles and the message and with our people when came to power. But we believe, in accordance with what Allah has — the Almighty, God Almighty — has taught us, in the same way that God has taught humanity as a whole — and whatever religion they may believe in — that there must be a law governing humanity and governing relations in humanity, that there should not be an aggressor while others are silent about the aggression. There should not be a killer while those who watch and applaud the killing. There should not be an occupier of the land belonging to others while there are those who keep quiet and never move to remove the occupation.
In brief, to sum up: We believe in the charter of the United States (Editor’s note: although the transcription says “United States,” the context suggests that Saddam, or the translator, may have meant to say “United Nations”.) and that gives us the right to say that when we are aggressed. When we are aggressed against, it is our right to face up to the aggression, to confront the aggression. And the charter of the United Nations was not actually drafted by Muslims or the Muslim nation. It was drafted by Christian nations, even though we believe in it and we accept it and we go by its articles.
Rather: Mr. President, have you been offered asylum anywhere? And would you, under any circumstances, consider going into exile to save your people death and destruction?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: I can understand the motive behind your question, which is excitement. This is a very American style, and… it may not be liked by some, but I can understand. However, I will answer your question. Thank you. I was born here in Iraq. And I was born as a genuine (UNINTEL) believer.
I am proud to have been born fearing God, and I have taught my children the value of history and the value of human stands – the stands that are taken on the basis of imam, taken by men, taken by everyone. The whole community, men and women.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: His Excellency also said that I have been teaching my children the importance of — he’s proud to have been born here and he taught his children the importance of — extreme importance of — imam and that the part of our – her – imam heritage: That we must maintain the honor of nationalism and pan-Arabism. The importance of that is essential to the nation and to the Arab nation.
And now, I am also teaching this to my grandchildren….I have always talked to the Iraqi people in this sense, since the days of our underground freedom fighting. I believe that any official who talks to his people and to others — indeed, to humanity, in general, about principles and being honest and genuine in what he says about — will not be — will be very strange for him, once he’s become in power, to change his stand.
And then we can talk about how to protect himself. We do not change our position. Our position is basic. We have been born in Iraq. This is part of a glorious nation, a great Arab nation, and we have lived here. God has blessed us with — through the Iraqi people – with a task and the responsibility that has brought us to this position and that we will not change. As for those who talk about asylum–
Male Voice: This is why we will also die in Iraq. Or, within the–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: That is why, talking about asylum, we will — whoever decides to forsake his nation from whoever requests is not true to the principles. We will die here. We will die in this country, and we will maintain our honor, the honor that is required of — in front of our people.
You may have asked questions that maybe attribute to some excitement to the press. But, let me ask you another exciting question. Let me say something also exciting. I believe that whoever asks Saddam to – or offers Saddam asylum in his own country – is, in fact, a person without morals, because he will be directing an insult to the Iraqi people, the Iraqi people who have chosen Saddam Hussein, unanimously, to continue to lead the people of Iraq, and because he will be saying to the people of Iraq, ‘Let Saddam leave and leave you without leadership.’ Whoever offers such asylum.
And, after all, you talk and I understand, as a journalist, this may be important for television. You talk, you ask such a question and, of course, naturally, you seek an answer. But whoever believes in faith, and faith that should not be manufactured by a foreign country…
Translator For Saddam Hussein: (??)…It’s mistaken. Fate is not made by a foreign country. We believe in Allah, and Allah alone decides what fate is going to be. However strong a country may be, however powerful, they cannot change the will of other people. They cannot destroy or direct the will of other people. I live here and we will continue to defend our freedom. We live here in freedom, and our people will continue to defend their freedom, their sanctity, their honor and their country.
Rather: Again, I have plenty of time, Mr. President.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: You remember that in , when Mr. Tariq Aziz, as Foreign Minister, had a meeting with Secretary James Baker — that was in January in Geneva. Baker threatened Tariq Aziz with something that he hoped that Tariq Aziz would bring back to…the government of Iraq.
And the fact that was the United States was going to push Iraq back into the pre-industrial age. And you remember that, I’m sure. The American onslaught on Iraq continued for more than a month and a half, using , warplanes with, of course, the Tomahawks hitting Iraq from everywhere including the Naval, you know, naval ships and naval pieces.
And they used more than , helicopters, even though they did not destroy Iraq. They did not push Iraq, as they have threatened, to the pre-industrial age.
They destroyed bridges, they destroyed churches, mosques, colleges, buildings, plants. They destroyed places, houses, palaces. They killed people, and elderly, but they did not push Iraq back into the pre-industrial age.
The Iraqis have subsequently reconstructed everything in determination and having relied on Allah, the Almighty. And then they began, after that, talking about Iraq having — that is, after UNSCOM had been withdrawn from Iraq on instruction from the U.S. government, they began talking about Iraq…
Translator For Saddam Hussein: They began talking about Iraq possibly having produced WMD, weapons of mass destruction, after and that they have information or data to that effect. We have said that Iraq has not produced any such weapons. What does that mean? It means that what they had threatened with — pushing Iraq back into the pre-industrial age – had not actually taken place, that they could not do that to Iraq, what they had threatened Iraq with in – through Baker in – had not taken place. So nobody can metamorphosis. Nobody can sort of take Iraq apart. That is not fair to the will of Allah, and it’s not fair to the people of Iraq who are facing the difficulties in resolve and through serious work and through creativity.
We hope that war will not take place, but if war is forced upon us, then Iraq will continue to be here, will continue to be there. This country, with a history of over , years, this country, the cradle of the first civilizations for humanity, will not finish just like that, even though a huge power may want it to be like that.
Nobody should accept that Iraq will finish in such a way despite the will of the (UNINTEL).
Rather: Mr. President, you’re being very patient with your time, and I want you to know I consider this a solemn moment in history, and, if I may, take time to have you speak to the American people about questions that I know are on their minds. I just want you to know that I appreciate your patience here.
Question: You mentioned, and ‘and the Gulf War.’ You fought the father, George Bush the first. He and the forces he led prevailed on the battlefield. Now you face the son who has an even greater, even more modern, even more lethal military force aimed directly at your (UNINTEL). Why would you think that you could prevail this time on the battlefield? Or do you?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: You know that in both situations, then and now, we have not crossed our borders and gone across the Atlantic to commit aggression against the United States, neither by air or by land or by sea. We are (UNINTEL) people and officials in Iraq –
Translator For Saddam Hussein: The officials of the United States have themselves spoken about their intentions to commit aggression against Iraq. Isn’t it part of our responsibility and our actions and our morality and, in fact, the basic meanings of faith that we should say to the aggressor that once you commit aggression against us, we are not going to succumb. And if we were to reverse the question and ask any American, any American citizens, any good, honest American citizen in his own country, including Mr. Rather himself, and we say to him, in any subsequent period or state, if another power, another force were to come across the Atlantic to commit a great aggression against the United States, will you do nothing?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Let me answer.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: I say to the honest Americans that if such a thing happens, do not capitulate, do not give in. You have to defend your country, defend your family and your honor. Do not commit aggression against us. And, as you know, we have not committed any aggression against the United States. The United States intelligence (UNINITEL) against our country, our people, our children.
I am speaking now with you, and maybe airplanes, warplanes, American warplanes, are flying over Iraqi air space, over south or north, and dropping ammunition, weapons that…are destroying property, property belonging to our citizens, our population — either private property or public property, because public property also belongs to the people. This is happening daily.
So when such a law is wished to prevail in the world, to govern the world, whether it’s in possession of huge powers and has the right to destroy others or to control others and then you have to accept their control or their domination, such a law does not possess the basics, the most basic elements or ingredients of morality and the most basic ingredients of faith, whichever this power might be. Regardless of this power, this state of affairs will be the law of the jungle, and we are people who believe in our destiny and we will not accept any law of the jungle. It is our duty, it is our responsibility to defend our country, to defend our children, to defend our people, and we are not going to succumb, neither to the United States nor to any other power.
Even if such a power, however strong as you describe it, even if this power is multiplied by whatever amount or size more than it is now, then we will continue to defend ourselves, to fight such a power if they attack because defeat comes only from God Almighty.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: With one exception. Might be important to you and the American people. In 1991 Iraq was not defeated. In fact, our Army withdrew from Kuwait according to a decision taken by us. Yes, it withdrew and -But when we were back within our boundaries, the boundaries of Iraq, the Iraqi Army was not defeated. Nor was the people of Iraq.
Iraq was not defeated in 1991. And you will remember that the (UNINTEL) were published, talking about the battles, especially the tank battles that took place in the south, near Basra., and how Bush, the father, came out on a – Mr. Bush. Mr. Bush.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: I actually want to take time to explain to you that we’re always gentle, we refer to people as gentle.
Rather: I understand when he calls him Mr. Bush.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Yes.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: When Khomeini died, bless his soul, and when I heard about his death, the Minister of Information at the time, do not gloat over the death of Khomeini. It is the law of God. That is the law of Allah. Let me tell you, in jest, I didn’t used to say Mr. Bush when I addressed him when he was in power. But when — as soon as he left power – I — whenever I have referred to him, I refer to him as Mr. Bush. And in any case – And in any case, the law of faith says even your enemy, you have to respect his humanity. For that reason that I refer to Mr. Bush.
Rather: I understand now.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: So when Mr. Bush came out–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: The father came out in his dawn speech, or his speech at dawn, declaring cease fire without preconditions – except for the pre-conditions that if their forces are attacked, they will respond in kind — he– it was his decision to — to –
Rather: Cease fire.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: To stop the fighting. And, consequently, Iraq was not defeated. Therefore, Iraq was not defeated.
Rather: Mr. President, respectfully, a lot of Americans are going to hear that and say, what is this man talking about, as all of those Iraqi tanks coming out of Kuwait with the turrets knocked out indicated a beaten army on the battlefield. There’s no joy in my saying that. But the point is I’m asking you to explain what you mean that you were not defeated in the – war, because I can report to you with accuracy that, overwhelmingly, the American people believe that that was a resounding defeat for you and for Iraq.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Let me answer this. You know the (UNINTEL) of Mr. Bush’s father, senior. You also know why he repeated his attacks later on against us. I’ll be happy to hear the President’s view as to why that was true. Why did Mr. Bush, the father, when he was President of the United States – Why did he repeat his attacks on us if we had been defeated? Totally defeated? When there is a military conflict, there is forward and backward. You push forward–
When there is military conflict, you push forward and you retreat and then we saw that when Bush the father and President (BREAK IN TAPE) against us during (BREAKS IN TAPE) Once we saw that whole front against us—(BREAKS IN TAPE) – a military operation against us on the ground against our country, against our people, against our army, we realized that we must take action to–
(BREAK IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Twenty-eight armies against us. Losing the confusion of (BREAK IN TAPE) When there is military conflict, you push forward and you can retreat. And when we saw that Bush the father, the President, had mobilized armies against us, using the confusion of countries and that onslaught against us, once we saw that whole front against us-
The whole, the whole world, in fact, collaborating in a military operation against us on the ground, against our country, against our people, against our army, we realized that we must take action to – Until we took the decision to (UNINTEL) forces, and throughout a whole month and a half of fierce fighting, we had not lost more than percent — that is the highest percentage of loss in any (UNINTEL) battlefield concerning our units involved in this war…. So we withdrew our forces inside Iraq in order that we may be able to continue fighting inside our country.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: And we continued to fight.
(BREAK IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: And the tanks that fought us around Basra, near Basra were defeated. And this is confirmed in writing that have been published by military people.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: And then we had – Then we had the statement made by Mr. Bush, the statement about which he didn’t consult — he hadn’t consulted any of his allies, the coalition involved in the fighting — that the fighting, that the war had achieved it’s objective and that he was now stopping it.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Without pre-conditions. Without pre-conditions. So we have not lost the war. And we were not defeated. You know that the fighting that went on continued — between us and Iran — continued for eight years. Iran lost battles to us and we lost battles to them. But how do you calculate things? You measure things by the final results.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: If I may continue.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: The United States can destroy – but the question is, why should America destroy? And why should America generate hostility – the hostility of the world — towards the United States?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Did the Americans obtain the weapons in order to control and dominate the world? Or did those (UNINTEL) and the taxpayers (UNINTEL). Did they do that in order to control the world?… (UNINTEL) the USA. I believe that the scientists of the United States and the people of the United States and the taxpayers of the United States, when they paid that, when they supported that, that was for the basic defense of the United States. Is it right? Is it right? Is it acceptable that anybody, any official, anyone in power, once he is in possession of a weapon, then he should go and take that weapon to destroy other people?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: (UNINTEL) because those who are being destroyed are saying that God is our– Allah is our God, and that we believe in that. And that we must defend ourselves, and defend our right to dignity, and to live in peace and to live in dignity and freedom. What did Iraq threaten the United States with? Iraq has not committed any aggressive against the United States. Nor, nobody in Iraq. Neither an official nor anybody in Iraq says that the United States is our enemy. Or that– we– we– we must fight the United States.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Or the American people are our enemy. Is it acceptable, that anybody–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Is it acceptable that anybody with power should go and destroy others? Or anybody who is being pushed or urged by big companies or multinational companies, should go to dominate others and destroy them? Mr. Rather, you are a man of (UNINTEL).
Translator For Saddam Hussein: You know that battle is not over until– and only when the guns are stopped – When the national will of the people completely succumbs to all that the aggressor wants to see done. Air supremacy and missile supremacy is not enough. But in the final analy– analysis, the guns will continue to tell the tale of a courageous people, defending with its own fighters, its own (UNINTEL).
Translator For Saddam Hussein: And in fact, a tale about the–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: The – the – not because the people of Iraq want to – fight the – the United States. But this is a decision made by the people– of Iraq. That they will maintain their role as people who believe in their role. And they will commit themselves, continue committing themselves to this role, and– the role that makes them respect themselves as much as they respect others, and respect the world.
So, let us try. For all the people. And pray to Allah, to give people the faith. That will spare them committing harm against others. That will spare them–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: – to be practiced against them.
Rather: Mr. President, Vice President Cheney, Vice President Richard Cheney of the United States says that if and when an American-led Army comes into Iraq, it will be greeted with music. It will be treated as a Army of liberation. If Americans are not to believe that, why should they not believe that?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: If the Iraqi Army were to go to cross the Atlantic, and (UNINTEL) the United States– would (UNINTEL) receive them –
Translator For Saddam Hussein: There and any other (UNINTEL).
(SKIP IN TAPE)
Rather: Vice President Richard Cheney of the United States says that if and when an American-led army comes into Iraq, it will be greeted with music. It will be treated as a Army of liberation. If Americans are not to believe that, why should they not believe that?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: If the Iraqi Army were to go to cross the Atlantic and occupy the United States– would (UNINTEL) receive–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: There, and any other (UNINTEL).
(GLITCHES, SKIPS IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: The Iraqi Army were to go to cross the Atlantic, and occupy the United States, would (UNINTEL) receive them – there, and any other (UNINTEL).
Translator For Saddam Hussein: I – I believe it is not – acceptable, from any official, or– politician, to say such a thing. Because when he says it, morally speaking, he is in fact, (GLITCH).
(GLITCHES, SKIPS IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: I – I believe it is not– acceptable for any official or– politician, to say such a thing. Because when he says it, morally speaking, he is in fact telling his own people that they should be prepared one– when it comes. To greet– occupying armies with music. If it so happens, (UNINTEL).
(GLITCHES, SKIPS IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: I – I believe it is not – acceptable, from any official or – politician, to say such a thing. Because when he says it, morally speaking, he is in fact telling his own people that they should be prepared one– when it comes, to greet– occupying armies with music. If it so happens.
(GLITCHES, SKIPS IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: – his own people that they should be prepared, one– when it comes, to greet– occupying armies with music, if it so happens (UNINTEL). That’s why I believe a– absolutely, that there’s no– Iraqi whatsoever, who will– welcome any American, if that American individual is here in the– in this capacity, as an occupation force. Or as an occupier.
But all Iraqis will, as they do, welcome all Americans. That is why now you are here, you see that you’re being welcomed. Even though you come from a company that is threatening to attack Iraq. Haven’t you seen the welcome, the kind of welcome with which you’ve b– you’ve been received? Even though people know that you are–
Male Voice: By officials and (UNINTEL).
Translator For Saddam Hussein: By officials and the ordinary citizens. You can roam about in the town. But if an American soldier is here, trying to roam around and– walk about as an occupier, he will not be– he will not be received in– in this way. He will not be able to do that, in fact.
So, as long as you’re not a soldier, an occupying force, you are a guest. And a guest is always treated with the respect and (UNINTEL).
(SKIP IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Long answer, (UNINTEL). But– and– (OVERTALK) Any American, or the– any other person– any other. If they want to know the real position of the Iraqi people, the reality about the Iraqi position, they must ask themselves these questions. In —
Male Voice: Five questions.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: In , the Iraqi people elected Saddam Hussein for the position of President of Iraq. And in — and– , they re-elected him to the same position. And the percentage of the voting in both elections were respectively, -point–
Male Voice: Six.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: – something.
Male Voice: Six.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Point-six percent. And percent, in both– in those two elections.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: percent. Now, this percentage, I know, may sound very strange to you. May sound strange to you, because you’re not used to that. And I can understand that you may find that percentage– strange.
But even if you take out whatever portion you want to take out of that, then the ratio would remain a high percentage in favor of electing– re-electing– President Saddam Hussein to (UNINTEL).
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Of course, in the West, observers will–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: No – no suspicion. No suspect comment w– was made about the validity of the voting. And – Because journalists were invited from all over the world, to go around the polling stations. They actually stood near the polling boxes, and they looked at the papers. They saw people actually doing it, and saying “Yes,” and not saying any other thing.
Male Voice: That was – was (UNINTEL) the last– elections. (UNINTEL)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: And of course– that– those elections were done, in the Gulf War, and the embargo. And the – the blockade. Now, what does that mean? It means that the Iraqis have decided to take a– a national, a patriotic stand. Under the circumstance of war, and circumstance of the blockade. In order to say to the foreign powers that are threatening Iraq, “It is we, the people of Iraq, who decide our way, and who decide our faith and our will, not you, telling us what to do.”
But – and – let me say that if this election was taken place not under the circumstances or condition of war, or– the blockade, or the– the embargo, maybe the percentage will not be the same. But this tells you something about the behavior of the Iraqi people. So, if you want to know how the Iraqi people will behave, or usually behave, you need to look at the elections, and how they behaved during those elections, and how they decided something.
Male Voice: When – when they are attacked by a foreigner, who wants to deprive them of their honor, sovereignty, and (UNINTEL).
Rather: I understand. Mr. President, if it’s necessary for you to forgive me, I hope that you’ll forgive me. But I have a couple of – sort of clean-up questions that I’m not clear about. Number one. Will the new proposed United Nations resolution, the one that’s just out this week – will this make any difference at all in your position?
The basic– the basic position, there is no change. We – will continue committing ourselves to the resolutions of the Secur– And the inspectors came, and they have seen for ourselves that what we have said before has – That they have– that what we’ve said is true. We have not pr– pursued any weapons of mass destruction.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: And have come.. So, what do they want to issue new resolutions about now?
Rather: So basically, no change in your position.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: We’ve (UNINTEL) in our position as yet. We do not compromise our independence. Or our dignity and our freedom. And at the same time, we will continue to commit ourselves to what has been decided by the Security Council. If new resolutions that are adopted by the Security Council which may infringe upon our dignity, our freedom – Then the position towards such a resolution will be the same, in– in line with our previous positions.
Rather: And– and I wanted to ask again, so I’m perfectly clear– you do not intend to destroy your Al Samoud missiles. The missiles–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Al Samoud.
Rather: Yeah. Al Samoud missiles. You do not intend to destroy those.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: The– the missiles you mean, which are within the range of the UN–
(SKIP IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: – 50 kilometers. You mean, those missiles?
Rather: I mean, the missiles that Hans Blix says that he wants a commitment from you that they will be destroyed.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: No violation has been made by Iraq to anything decided by the United Nations. If – what is meant here is to review or, the resolutions of the Security Council, the resolutions that stipulate that Iraq is allowed to produce missiles with a range of kilometers– if the intention is to rewrite those resolutions, then we will be entering a new framework. A framework in which the United States will be made to forsake its own position.
And (UNINTEL) its own resolutions, and take a new road towards harming Iraq. And– for– intending to violate the– (UNINTEL) position, violate the sovereignty of Iraq.
Male Voice: And (UNINTEL)– and violating the– the very– same resolutions of– adopted by the Security Council.
Rather: Mr. President, I know you’ve been very patient with your time. Let me go through a short list of additional things. If– if there is an invasion, will you set fire to the oil fields? Will you blow the damns? Or your reservoirs of water, to resist the invasion?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: We have answered – We have answered the hypotheses. I’ve answered the hypothesis. But to indulge in the details– Iraq does not burn its wealth. Its (UNINTEL).
And– it does not destroy its– dams. We hope that, however, that this question is not meant– as an insinuation, so that the Iraqi dams and the Iraqi oil wells will be destroyed by those who will invade Iraq, in their possible invasion of the country.
Iraq does not destroy its dams or its oil. Iraq protects, defends, maintains those resources, in order to improve life. And in order to (UNINTEL).
And during the war with Iran – Iran used water to fight us. And did not destroy – the dams. We used water, and we didn’t – did not destroy the dams.
Rather: Mr. President, I hope you will take this question in the spirit in which it’s asked. First of all, I regret that I do not speak Arabic. Do you speak any– any English at all?
Rather: That’s (UNINTEL) This American Life story.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: I am sorry, because I… Yes. But, I do not speak English – fluently. But I can understand, to– by a certain degree. The English when spoken.
Rather: Well, would you speak some English for me? Anything you choose?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: My language is Arabic.
Rather: I understand. Mr. President, again, you’ve been patient with your time. What is the most important thing you want the p – American people to understand? What’s the most important thing you want the American people to understand, at this important juncture of history?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: First… Convey to them that the people of Iraq is not an enemy of the American people. It is only– people of Iraq are only opposed to the policy of the United States government, administration, against the people of the world, including the people of Iraq. Iraq hopes and looks forward to living in peace, and in fact, hopes and prays for all others, all peoples of the world, including people of the United States, to live in peace and to live in respect. And– respect amongst all people.
Male Voice: (UNINTEL) respect the will of others.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: If– the American people– would like to know the facts for what they are, or as they are, through a direct dialogue, then I am ready to conduct a direct dialogue with the President of the United States, President Bush, on television. I will say whatever I have to say– about American policy. He will have– the opportunity to say whatever he has to say about policy of Iraq. And this will be in front of all people, and– on television, in a direct—uncensored – hon – honest manner. In front of, as I said, everyone.
And then they will see what the facts are, and where falsehoods are. And I would not object to see this dialogue conducted on– by– by Mr. (UNINTEL).
Rather: Are you speaking about a debate?
Rather: This – this is new. You– you are suggesting, you are saying, that you are willing, you are suggesting, you’re urging a debate with President Bush? On television?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Yes. That’s my proposal.
Rather: Well, that’s an interesting (UNINTEL).
Translator For Saddam Hussein: The American people, as we see on films – are great. On films, we see that the Americans, when they are challenged for a duel, they will not– decline the – the offer. As the Arabs would – would (UNINTEL). We are not asking for a duel. But… We are proposing that we should (UNINTEL) support the Americans, and – We are asking for a – a – a – an opportunity to be seen by the Americans, the Iraqis, and all of the people in the world in a debate that is shown on television, between myself and Mr. Bush, directly, to be watched by…
Translator For Saddam Hussein: This will be – This will be an opportunity for him, if he is committed to– to war, and if he has decided to– commit to wage war, this will be an opportunity for him, if he’s convinced– to– to convince the world. If he’s convinced in his own position, this will be an opportunity for him to convince the world that he is right in taking such a dec– (GLITCH). It could also be an opportunity for us – To – tell the world our own side of the story. And why we want to live in peace, and in security.
I believe that it is the right of the American people, the Iraqi people, and the world, of honor. Which makes it incumbent– incumbent upon us to say what we have (UNINTEL), so that– they– they will be clear about– our position.
Don’t you call for the truth to be released in the United States? This is how we hear. This is… And what we read, from-This is what we read and hear about the American philosophers, and (UNINTEL)–
In their books, and even in their movies…. So, why should we hide from the people? So, why should we discredit ourselves? Why should not we– why shouldn’t we disclose ourselves to the people? We as President – President of the United States, and President of Iraq, in front of our people.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: (UNINTEL) invite… Then we will either go (UNINTEL) to peace, to choose the path of peace, which is what we look for, and hope– Then we will spare both our people the harm and the loss. Or otherwise, the– whoever wants to decide anything other than peace, then he will have to convince his own people, with whatever– avenues–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: This is the– the gist of my proposal, my idea.
Rather: This is not a joke.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: No, this is something proposed in earnest. This is proposed out of my respect for the public opinion of the United States. And it is out of my respect to the people of the United States. And to the people of Iraq. And in– out of my respect to mankind in general. Humanity at large. I call for this, because war itself is not a joke. Whoever chooses war as the first choice in his life, then he is not a normal person. I think the – the debates would be an opportunity for us to insure peace and safety. Then, why don’t we–
Why don’t we – Why don’t we choose to talk, in which we will be respecting our people, as two– as the two highest authorities in our countries. The two needed to take the decisions, on the basis of their own– you know, decision-making apparatus.
Here in Iraq, we have our own apparatus, for reaching those decisions. And we know that in the United States, you have your own system. But we, as the leaders of the two countries, why don’t we use this opportunity in a debate, so that– we can show our respect to both our peoples, and to humanity. And then each of us can take the decision that h– h– he or – decides to take, according to what goes on.
Rather: Mr. President, where would this debate take place, that you imagine– what would be the venue?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: It will be in a place, as President of the United States, and Saddam Hussein will be in a place as President of Iraq. And then the debate can be conducted through satellite.
Rather: Oh. So, a satellite television debate. Live.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: And if Mr. Bush has another proposal, a counterproposal with the same basic idea then we’re prepared to listen to such a proposal.
Rather: Would you be prepared to come to the United Nations for this debate?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: The basic thing is that as far as debate to be heard in the natural, normal– in a (UNINTEL) accurate manner. In the United Nations, voices are not heard. Not always. And I do not mean that I go and I make a speech at the United Nations and then that Bush will make his speech at the United Nations. That is not what I mean. What I mean is that we sit– as we are sitting, you and I, now as– Here is– I will address questions to him and he will address questions to me. The position of Iraq and he will – the position of the United States.
He will explain why – ‘I will (UNINTEL) go to war.’ I will explain why we are insistent on peace and we want to maintain peace. And we maintain our (UNINTEL).
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Those people in the United States also – and other people will (UNINTEL).
Without make-up. Without – Without editing. Without – Without – Without prepared speeches which– which (UNINTEL) do not listen to. The people like listening to live debates. Live debates between–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: I believe people listen to psychological (UNINTEL) about people in the United States (UNINTEL). That they like to see live debate amongst people with – proof and counterproof.
Rather: Well, this surprises me. I want to make sure I understand.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: That this debate should be– shown–
Rather: A live international debate via satellite–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: That’s it. A live, direct debate through satellite.
Rather: How did this– who– who would moderate this debate?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Any (UNINTEL) that you can moderate.
Rather: With respect, Mr. President, I have (UNINTEL) other problems. I’ve got enough problems already. But I–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: That’s another (UNINTEL PHRASE)…. But–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: – the responsibility of – The responsibility of displaying the truth as– as an outstanding man of the media– to carry out this responsibility is something that is on– of course you will do that while maintain – when you can play the truth he’ll be sparing people many– a lot of harm.
Rather: Well– first of all, I want to be serious that I– I appreciate– your confidence – Mr. President. I’m pausing because I’m tempted to ask a favor of the president. (Editor’s note: Rather is referring to Saddam Hussein) He has surprised me. I wonder for my good health if he could denounce me? (LAUGHTER)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Denounce you?
Rather: (LAUGHTER) Well, I – I think this is –
Translator For Saddam Hussein: I met you in 1990. And I’m meeting you now. We have not met– We are not partners in any enterprise or any – not competing with any people for any other – So this is the basics of–
Rather: I understand. (UNINTEL) I appreciate your remembering that we met in 1990. And I interviewed you in this great building. Given the sober moment and the danger at hand, what are the chances this is the last time you and I will see each other?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: You want me to say what I truly believe as it is?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Basics– basis is that (UNINTEL PHRASE) decides the destiny of man. But—and – God almighty says also that it is incumbent upon man to do what should be done on the ground. Then it is there that I can see– it is now that I can see that (UNINTEL) we have other meetings. No matter what happens. And I hope that Iraq and the United States, the people of Iraq and the United States will live in security and in peace. And in mutual interests, national interests without harm caused by any side to (UNINTEL).
Rather: Mr. President, you say that knowing that (UNINTEL) on your brother is a tremendous armada ready to deliver destruction and awe.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Yes, I understand and I hear and I see. (UNINTEL) find out will be decided – God almighty–Through the Iraqi people here in Iraq and in Baghdad. I do not– I’m not (UNINTEL) to the destiny of the Americans – in the United States. I’m just talking about the destiny of the Iraqi – And the fate of any aggression committed against the Iraqis while they are in their country.
Rather: I have one last question, Mr. President. Not so long ago, you were clearly hailed by Arabs from Palestinians to Jordanians throughout the Arab world as the great Arab Avenger. Are you still relevant on the Arab street? Or has Osama bin Laden made you what other Arabs irrelevant? If you can understand the question. Thank you.
Translator For Saddam Hussein: This is not our objective. This is not what we seek. It’s– the question is not a personal– question. What we seek is the gratification of Allah, God almighty. And the satisfaction within our conscience and also the satisfaction of our people and of our– of our nation. When we– present ourselves as– to our people, we seek the satisfaction of humanity at large also.
And – and we hope that humanity will understand our principles as they are. But– and not as they are falsified or misrepresented by others. This is the basis of– (BREAK IN SOUND) And we hope that humanity will understand our principles as they are. But– and not as they are falsified or misrepresented by others. This is the basis of our endeavor. We seek the satisfaction of our people, people of our nation–
(BREAK IN SOUND) This is not our objective. This is not what we seek. It’s– the question is not a personal– question. What we seek is the gratification of Allah, God almighty. And the satisfaction within our conscience and also the satisfaction of our people and of our– of our nation. When we– present ourselves to our people, we seek the satisfaction of humanity at large also.
And– and we hope that humanity will understand our principles as they are. But – and not as they are falsified or misrepresented by others. This is the basis of our endeavor. We seek the satisfaction of our people, people of our nation and – (BREAK IN SOUND) And not as they are falsified or misrepresented by others. This is the basis of our endeavor. We seek the satisfaction of our people. People of our nation– (BREAK IN SOUND) Or speak of heroes here and there. The basic thing (UNINTEL) is for something to be said that—(BREAK IN SOUND) person has been – honest and true to his nation. And that is a (UNINTEL) forever. (BREAK IN SOUND) heroes or speak of heroes here and there. The basic thing, maybe, is for something – (BREAK IN SOUND) nation. And that is a right for every citizen in any nation. To seek to be described as a true citizen of the nation.
Rather: (UNINTEL PHRASE) not agree that Osama bin Laden is now– (BREAK IN SOUND)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: to seek to be described as a true citizen of the nation.
Rather: He does or does not agree that Osama bin Laden is now – the champion of the Arab streets?
(BREAK IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: –or speak of heroes here or there. The basic thing, maybe, is for– something to be said that this person– (BREAK IN SOUND) honest and true– (BREAK IN SOUND) and that is a right for every citizen in any nation. To seek–
(BREAK IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: –as a true citizen of the nation.
Rather: So he does or does not agree that – (BREAK IN SOUND) is now–
(BREAK IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: – as a true citizen of the nation.
Rather: So he does or does not agree that Osama bin Laden is now– the champion of the Arab streets?
(BREAK IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: – humanity will understand our principles as they are. But– and not as they are falsified or misrepresented by others. This is the basis of our endeavor. We seek the satisfaction of our people, people of our nation. And we do not talk– we– we seek– we do not seek personal satisfaction that we are heroes or speak of heroes here and there.
The basic thing, maybe, is for – something to be said that this person has been honest and true to his nation. And that is a right for every citizen in any nation. To seek to be described as a true citizen of the nation.
Rather: So he does or does not agree that Osama bin Laden is now– the champion of the Arab streets?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: How do you see yourself? I am pleased when I see that according to the principles in which we believe that– in the sense that one is true–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: I believe – I believe you are teaching (UNINTEL) truth and not trying to – indulge any sensation… detract someone as– detract the speaker from– into saying that he doesn’t want to say. I do not believe that this is what you see.
Rather: This is not true?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Yes.
Rather: Is– did the answer finish?
Translator For Saddam Hussein: No, it’s not. (OFF-MIKE CONVERSATION) So – the – we are – pleased to see people true to these principles of – of the nation. In the same way as you would be happy to see people true to your principles emerging in the United States. As the heroes, the champions of peace – there and they become more and the champions of freedom are there and become more. And the champions of production and improvement and (UNINTEL) become more.
We’re all pleased for it. And the basic objective is to remove injustice from– imposed on our nation. See how the Palestinians are being treated. See how they’re being killed. See how their houses are destroyed. See how their property is being destroyed without anybody trying to do anything to redress justice and to– to save them from what they’re– suffering. If you, in the United States, see Osama bin Laden as a champion then we are not jealous of him. If our nation sees him as a champion, we are not jealous of him.
As you proposed in your question maybe. Jealousy is not a trait of man. Jealousy is a trait maybe of women but that is another – in that – in that very special– trait. It’s a very special trait. Men do not have jealousy especially if this competition is competition there in the interests of the nation and the– and (UNINTEL PHRASE).
Rather: Mr. President, you’ve been so patient with your time. I appreciate you (UNINTEL). And I’m gonna–
Translator For Saddam Hussein: I’m happy. And I hope to see you in the future. I hope–
Rather: I would like very much to see you in the future, Mr. President.
President’s Address to the American Enterprise Institute, 26 February 2003 Top
Source: The White House. President George W. Bush Internet Archive. http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for the warm welcome. I’m proud to be with the scholars, and the friends, and the supporters of the American Enterprise Institute. I want to thank you for overlooking my dress code violation. (Laughter.) They were about to stop me at the door, but Irving Kristol said, “I know this guy, let him in.” (Laughter.) ….
At the American Enterprise Institute, some of the finest minds in our nation are at work on some of the greatest challenges to our nation. You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds. I want to thank them for their service, but I also want to remind people that for 60 years, AEI scholars have made vital contributions to our country and to our government, and we are grateful for those contributions.
We meet here during a crucial period in the history of our nation, and of the civilized world. Part of that history was written by others; the rest will be written by us. (Applause.) On a September morning, threats that had gathered for years, in secret and far away, led to murder in our country on a massive scale. As a result, we must look at security in a new way, because our country is a battlefield in the first war of the 21st century.
We learned a lesson: The dangers of our time must be confronted actively and forcefully, before we see them again in our skies and in our cities. And we set a goal: we will not allow the triumph of hatred and violence in the affairs of men. (Applause.)
Our coalition of more than 90 countries is pursuing the networks of terror with every tool of law enforcement and with military power. We have arrested, or otherwise dealt with, many key commanders of al Qaeda. (Applause.) Across the world, we are hunting down the killers one by one. We are winning. And we’re showing them the definition of American justice. (Applause.) And we are opposing the greatest danger in the war on terror: outlaw regimes arming with weapons of mass destruction.
In Iraq, a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate the Middle East and intimidate the civilized world — and we will not allow it. (Applause.) This same tyrant has close ties to terrorist organizations, and could supply them with the terrible means to strike this country — and America will not permit it. The danger posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons cannot be ignored or wished away. The danger must be confronted. We hope that the Iraqi regime will meet the demands of the United Nations and disarm, fully and peacefully. If it does not, we are prepared to disarm Iraq by force. Either way, this danger will be removed. (Applause.)
The safety of the American people depends on ending this direct and growing threat. Acting against the danger will also contribute greatly to the long-term safety and stability of our world. The current Iraqi regime has shown the power of tyranny to spread discord and violence in the Middle East. A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America’s interests in security, and America’s belief in liberty, both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq. (Applause.)
The first to benefit from a free Iraq would be the Iraqi people, themselves. Today they live in scarcity and fear, under a dictator who has brought them nothing but war, and misery, and torture. Their lives and their freedom matter little to Saddam Hussein — but Iraqi lives and freedom matter greatly to us. (Applause.)
Bringing stability and unity to a free Iraq will not be easy. Yet that is no excuse to leave the Iraqi regime’s torture chambers and poison labs in operation. Any future the Iraqi people choose for themselves will be better than the nightmare world that Saddam Hussein has chosen for them. (Applause.)
If we must use force, the United States and our coalition stand ready to help the citizens of a liberated Iraq. We will deliver medicine to the sick, and we are now moving into place nearly 3 million emergency rations to feed the hungry.
We’ll make sure that Iraq’s 55,000 food distribution sites, operating under the Oil For Food program, are stocked and open as soon as possible. The United States and Great Britain are providing tens of millions of dollars to the U.N. High Commission on Refugees, and to such groups as the World Food Program and UNICEF, to provide emergency aid to the Iraqi people.
We will also lead in carrying out the urgent and dangerous work of destroying chemical and biological weapons. We will provide security against those who try to spread chaos, or settle scores, or threaten the territorial integrity of Iraq. We will seek to protect Iraq’s natural resources from sabotage by a dying regime, and ensure those resources are used for the benefit of the owners — the Iraqi people. (Applause.)
The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq’s new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet, we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another. All Iraqis must have a voice in the new government, and all citizens must have their rights protected. (Applause.)
Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own: we will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more. America has made and kept this kind of commitment before — in the peace that followed a world war. After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies, we left constitutions and parliaments. We established an atmosphere of safety, in which responsible, reform-minded local leaders could build lasting institutions of freedom. In societies that once bred fascism and militarism, liberty found a permanent home.
There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. Well, they were wrong. Some say the same of Iraq today. They are mistaken. (Applause.) The nation of Iraq — with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people — is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom. (Applause.)
The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. Arab intellectuals have called on Arab governments to address the “freedom gap” so their peoples can fully share in the progress of our times. Leaders in the region speak of a new Arab charter that champions internal reform, greater politics participation, economic openness, and free trade. And from Morocco to Bahrain and beyond, nations are taking genuine steps toward politics reform. A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region. (Applause.)
It is presumptuous and insulting to suggest that a whole region of the world — or the one-fifth of humanity that is Muslim — is somehow untouched by the most basic aspirations of life. Human cultures can be vastly different. Yet the human heart desires the same good things, everywhere on Earth. In our desire to be safe from brutal and bullying oppression, human beings are the same. In our desire to care for our children and give them a better life, we are the same. For these fundamental reasons, freedom and democracy will always and everywhere have greater appeal than the slogans of hatred and the tactics of terror. (Applause.)
Success in Iraq could also begin a new stage for Middle Eastern peace, and set in motion progress towards a truly democratic Palestinian state. (Applause.) The passing of Saddam Hussein’s regime will deprive terrorist networks of a wealthy patron that pays for terrorist training, and offers rewards to families of suicide bombers. And other regimes will be given a clear warning that support for terror will not be tolerated. (Applause.)
Without this outside support for terrorism, Palestinians who are working for reform and long for democracy will be in a better position to choose new leaders. (Applause.) True leaders who strive for peace; true leaders who faithfully serve the people. A Palestinian state must be a reformed and peaceful state that abandons forever the use of terror. (Applause.)
For its part, the new government of Israel — as the terror threat is removed and security improves — will be expected to support the creation of a viable Palestinian state — (applause) — and to work as quickly as possible toward a final status agreement. As progress is made toward peace, settlement activity in the occupied territories must end. (Applause.) And the Arab states will be expected to meet their responsibilities to oppose terrorism, to support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Palestine, and state clearly they will live in peace with Israel. (Applause.)
The United States and other nations are working on a road map for peace. We are setting out the necessary conditions for progress toward the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. It is the commitment of our government — and my personal commitment — to implement the road map and to reach that goal. Old patterns of conflict in the Middle East can be broken, if all concerned will let go of bitterness, hatred, and violence, and get on with the serious work of economic development, and political reform, and reconciliation. America will seize every opportunity in pursuit of peace. And the end of the present regime in Iraq would create such an opportunity. (Applause.)
In confronting Iraq, the United States is also showing our commitment to effective international institutions. We are a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. We helped to create the Security Council. We believe in the Security Council — so much that we want its words to have meaning. (Applause.)
The global threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction cannot be confronted by one nation alone. The world needs today and will need tomorrow international bodies with the authority and the will to stop the spread of terror and chemical and biological and nuclear weapons. A threat to all must be answered by all. High-minded pronouncements against proliferation mean little unless the strongest nations are willing to stand behind them — and use force if necessary. After all, the United Nations was created, as Winston Churchill said, to “make sure that the force of right will, in the ultimate issue, be protected by the right of force.”
Another resolution is now before the Security Council. If the council responds to Iraq’s defiance with more excuses and delays, if all its authority proves to be empty, the United Nations will be severely weakened as a source of stability and order. If the members rise to this moment, then the Council will fulfill its founding purpose.
I’ve listened carefully, as people and leaders around the world have made known their desire for peace. All of us want peace. The threat to peace does not come from those who seek to enforce the just demands of the civilized world; the threat to peace comes from those who flout those demands. If we have to act, we will act to restrain the violent, and defend the cause of peace. And by acting, we will signal to outlaw regimes that in this new century, the boundaries of civilized behavior will be respected. (Applause.)
Protecting those boundaries carries a cost. If war is forced upon us by Iraq’s refusal to disarm, we will meet an enemy who hides his military forces behind civilians, who has terrible weapons, who is capable of any crime. The dangers are real, as our soldiers, and sailors, airmen, and Marines fully understand. Yet, no military has ever been better prepared to meet these challenges.
Members of our Armed Forces also understand why they may be called to fight. They know that retreat before a dictator guarantees even greater sacrifices in the future. They know that America’s cause is right and just: liberty for an oppressed people, and security for the American people. And I know something about these men and women who wear our uniform: they will complete every mission they are given with skill, and honor, and courage. (Applause.)
Much is asked of America in this year 2003. The work ahead is demanding. It will be difficult to help freedom take hold in a country that has known three decades of dictatorship, secret police, internal divisions, and war. It will be difficult to cultivate liberty and peace in the Middle East, after so many generations of strife. Yet, the security of our nation and the hope of millions depend on us, and Americans do not turn away from duties because they are hard. We have met great tests in other times, and we will meet the tests of our time. (Applause.)
We go forward with confidence, because we trust in the power of human freedom to change lives and nations. By the resolve and purpose of America, and of our friends and allies, we will make this an age of progress and liberty. Free people will set the course of history, and free people will keep the peace of the world.
Thank you all, very much. (Applause.)
President’s Radio Address, 1 March 2003 Top
Source: The White House. President George W. Bush Internet Archive. http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. America is determined to enforce the demands of the United Nations Security Council by confronting the grave and growing danger of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. This dictator will not be allowed to intimidate and blackmail the civilized world, or to supply his terrible weapons to terrorist groups, who would not hesitate to use them against us. The safety of the American people depends on ending this threat.
But America’s cause is always larger than America’s security. We also stand for the advance of freedom and opportunity and hope. The lives and freedom of the Iraqi people matter little to Saddam Hussein, but they matter greatly to us.
Saddam Hussein has a long history of brutal crimes, especially in time of war — even against his own citizens. If conflict comes, he could target civilians or place them inside military facilities. He could encourage ethnic violence. He could destroy natural resources. Or, worst of all, he could use his weapons of mass destruction.
In order to minimize the suffering of Iraq’s people, the United States and our coalition partners stand ready to provide vital help. We will deliver medicine to the sick, and make sure that Iraq’s 55,000 food distribution sites, operating with supplies from the oil-for-food program, are stocked and open as soon a possible. We are stockpiling relief supplies, such as blankets and water containers, for one million people. We are moving into place nearly three million emergency rations to feed the hungry. The United States and Great Britain are providing tens of millions of dollars to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and to such groups as the World Food Program and UNICEF, so they will be ready to provide emergency aid to the Iraqi people.
We will also lead in carrying out the urgent and dangerous work of destroying chemical and biological weapons. We will provide security against those who try to spread chaos, or settle scores, or threaten the territorial integrity of Iraq. And we will seek to protect Iraq’s natural resources from sabotage by a dying regime, and ensure they are used for the benefit of Iraq’s own people.
The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq’s new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another. All Iraqis must have a voice in the new government, and all citizens must have their rights protected.
Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own. We will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more. America has made and kept this kind of commitment before — in the peace that followed World War II. After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies; we left constitutions and parliaments. We did not leave behind permanent foes; we found new friends and allies.
There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. They were wrong. Some say the same of Iraq today. They, too, are mistaken. The nation of Iraq — with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people — is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom.
It will be difficult to help freedom take hold in a country that has known three decades of dictatorship, secret police, internal divisions, and war. Yet the security of our nation and the hopes of millions depend on us, and Americans do not turn away from duties because they are hard. We have met great tests in other times, and we will meet the tests of our time.
Thank you for listening.
President’s Radio Address, 8 March 2003 Top
Source: The White House. President George W. Bush Internet Archive. http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This has been an important week on two fronts of our war against terror. First, American and Pakistani authorities captured the mastermind of the September the 11th attacks against our country, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. This is a landmark achievement in disrupting the al Qaeda network, and we believe it will help us prevent future acts of terror. We are currently working with over 90 countries and have dealt with over 3,000 terrorists, who have been detained, arrested, or otherwise will not be a problem for the United States.
Second, the Chief United Nations Weapons Inspector reported yesterday to the Security Council on his efforts to verify Saddam Hussein’s compliance with Resolution 1441. This resolution requires Iraq to fully and unconditionally disarm itself of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons materials, as well as the prohibited missiles that could be used to deliver them.
Unfortunately, it is clear that Saddam Hussein is still violating the demands of the United Nations by refusing to disarm.
Iraqi’s dictator has made a public show of producing and destroying a few prohibited missiles. Yet, our intelligence shows that even as he is destroying these few missiles, he has ordered the continued production of the very same type of missiles. Iraqi operatives continue to play a shell game with inspectors, moving suspected prohibited materials to different locations every 12 to 24 hours. And Iraqi weapons scientists continue to be threatened with harm should they cooperate in interviews with U.N. inspectors.
These are not the actions of a regime that is disarming. These are the actions of a regime engaged in a willful charade. If the Iraqi regime were disarming, we would know it — because we would see it; Iraq’s weapons would be presented to inspectors and destroyed. Inspection teams do not need more time, or more personnel — all they need is what they have never received, the full cooperation of the Iraqi regime. The only acceptable outcome is the outcome already demanded by a unanimous vote of the Security Council: total disarmament.
Saddam Hussein has a long history of reckless aggression and terrible crimes. He possesses weapons of terror. He provides funding and training and safe haven to terrorists who would willingly deliver weapons of mass destruction against America and other peace-loving countries.
The attacks of September the 11, 2001 showed what the enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what terrorists or terror states could do with weapons of mass destruction. We are determined to confront threats wherever they arise. And, as a last resort, we must be willing to use military force. We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.
Across the world, and in every part of America, people of goodwill are hoping and praying for peace. Our goal is peace — for our own nation, for our friends, for our allies and for all the peoples of the Middle East. People of goodwill must also recognize that allowing a dangerous dictator to defy the world and build an arsenal for conquest and mass murder is not peace at all; it is pretense. The cause of peace will be advanced only when the terrorists lose a wealthy patron and protector, and when the dictator is fully and finally disarmed.
Thank you for listening.
President’s Radio Address, 15 March 2003 Top
Source: The White House. President George W. Bush Internet Archive. http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This weekend marks a bitter anniversary for the people of Iraq. Fifteen years ago, Saddam Hussein’s regime ordered a chemical weapons attack on a village in Iraq called Halabja. With that single order, the regime killed thousands of Iraq’s Kurdish citizens. Whole families died while trying to flee clouds of nerve and mustard agents descending from the sky. Many who managed to survive still suffer from cancer, blindness, respiratory diseases, miscarriages, and severe birth defects among their children.
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. He is among history’s cruelest dictators, and he is arming himself with the world’s most terrible weapons.
Recognizing this threat, the United Nations Security Council demanded that Saddam Hussein give up all his weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Gulf War 12 years ago. The Security Council has repeated this demand numerous times and warned that Iraq faces serious consequences if it fails to comply. Iraq has responded with defiance, delay and deception.
The United States, Great Britain and Spain continue to work with fellow members of the U.N. Security Council to confront this common danger. 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. 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.
As diplomatic efforts continue, we must never lose sight of the basic facts about the regime of Baghdad.
We know from recent history that Saddam Hussein is a reckless dictator who has twice invaded his neighbors without provocation — wars that led to death and suffering on a massive scale. 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.
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.”
We know from prior weapons inspections that Saddam has failed to account for vast quantities of biological and chemical agents, including mustard agent, botulinum toxin and sarin, capable of killing millions of people. We know the Iraqi regime finances and sponsors terror. And we know the regime has plans to place innocent people around military installations to act as human shields.
There is little reason to hope that Saddam Hussein will disarm. 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. The people of Iraq can know that every effort will be made to spare innocent life, and to help Iraq recover from three decades of totalitarian rule. And 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.
Crucial days lie ahead for the free nations of the world. 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.
Thank you for listening.
Letter to the UN Security Council from the Government of Iraq, 16 March 2003 Top
Source: United Nations Document Archive. 2012. “Letter dated 16 March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council.” S/2003/327. Accessed from http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org
Letter dated 16 March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
On instructions from my Government, I transmit to you herewith a letter dated 16 March 2003 from Mr. Naji Sabri, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq, concerning the grave consequences of the withdrawal of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission and reaffirming Iraq’s legitimate right of selfdefence. I should be grateful if you would have this letter and its annex circulated as a document of the Security Council.
(Signed) Mohammed A. Aldouri
Annex to the letter dated 16 March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
With reference to my letter of 13 March 2003, in which I requested you to intervene immediately to revoke the order to withdraw the United Nations observers from their posts along the Iraq-Kuwait border and instruct them to return to their duties laid down in paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 687 (1991), according to which the mission’s mandate was “… to deter violations of the boundary through its presence in and surveillance of the demilitarized zone and to observe any hostile or potentially hostile action mounted from the territory of one State against the other”. Most unfortunately, the Secretariat of the United Nations has not taken any step to redeploy the United Nations observers in their observation posts in the demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait in order to perform their duties, as mandated in the Security Council resolutions. On the contrary, the evacuation of the United Nations observers to Kuwait has continued, in addition to the closing of the mission headquarters in Baghdad and the transfer of its stores to Kuwait. This measure is out of keeping with the responsibility of the United Nations to preserve international peace and security, runs counter to the relevant Security Council resolutions and imperils Iraq’s national security.
In view of the escalation of American threats of aggression against Iraq; the increased United States and British military massing in Kuwait and in the demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait; the opening by the Kuwaiti authorities and the American forces of breaches in the fence separating Iraq and Kuwait with a view to aggression against Iraq via the demilitarized zone; and the dropping by American aircraft, on the Iraqi side of the demilitarized zone, in the vicinity of the port and town of Umm Qasr, of leaflets containing threats of occupation of the port and the city, I wish to inform you that the Iraqi authorities will take the necessary steps to exercise their legitimate right of self-defence, pursuant to Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, in order to protect the area of the port and city of Umm Qasr, the lives and property of Iraqi citizens and public property.
(Signed) Naji Sabri
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq
Bush’s Address to the Nation, 17 March 2003 Top
Source: The White House. President George W. Bush Internet Archive. http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/
THE PRESIDENT: My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision. For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. That regime pledged to reveal and destroy all its weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy. We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Our good faith has not been returned.
The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament. Over the years, U.N. weapon inspectors have been threatened by Iraqi officials, electronically bugged, and systematically deceived. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again — because we are not dealing with peaceful men.
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq’s neighbors and against Iraq’s people.
The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.
The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.
The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.
The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me, as Commander-in-Chief, by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep.
Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq. America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations. One reason the U.N. was founded after the second world war was to confront aggressive dictators, actively and early, before they can attack the innocent and destroy the peace.
In the case of Iraq, the Security Council did act, in the early 1990s. Under Resolutions 678 and 687 — both still in effect — the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will.
Last September, I went to the U.N. General Assembly and urged the nations of the world to unite and bring an end to this danger. On November 8th, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, finding Iraq in material breach of its obligations, and vowing serious consequences if Iraq did not fully and immediately disarm.
Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power. For the last four-and-a-half months, the United States and our allies have worked within the Security Council to enforce that Council’s long-standing demands. Yet, some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced they will veto any resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it. Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world. The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.
In recent days, some governments in the Middle East have been doing their part. They have delivered public and private messages urging the dictator to leave Iraq, so that disarmament can proceed peacefully. He has thus far refused. All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing. For their own safety, all foreign nationals — including journalists and inspectors — should leave Iraq immediately.
Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.
It is too late for Saddam Hussein to remain in power. It is not too late for the Iraqi military to act with honor and protect your country by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed. I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services, if war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life.
And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, “I was just following orders.”
Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it. Americans understand the costs of conflict because we have paid them in the past. War has no certainty, except the certainty of sacrifice.
Yet, the only way to reduce the harm and duration of war is to apply the full force and might of our military, and we are prepared to do so. If Saddam Hussein attempts to cling to power, he will remain a deadly foe until the end. In desperation, he and terrorists groups might try to conduct terrorist operations against the American people and our friends. These attacks are not inevitable. They are, however, possible. And this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail. The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.
Our government is on heightened watch against these dangers. Just as we are preparing to ensure victory in Iraq, we are taking further actions to protect our homeland. In recent days, American authorities have expelled from the country certain individuals with ties to Iraqi intelligence services. Among other measures, I have directed additional security of our airports, and increased Coast Guard patrols of major seaports. The Department of Homeland Security is working closely with the nation’s governors to increase armed security at critical facilities across America.
Should enemies strike our country, they would be attempting to shift our attention with panic and weaken our morale with fear. In this, they would fail. No act of theirs can alter the course or shake the resolve of this country. We are a peaceful people — yet we’re not a fragile people, and we will not be intimidated by thugs and killers. If our enemies dare to strike us, they and all who have aided them, will face fearful consequences.
We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over. With these capabilities, Saddam Hussein and his terrorist allies could choose the moment of deadly conflict when they are strongest. We choose to meet that threat now, where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities.
The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th century, some chose to appease murderous dictators, whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war. In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth.
Terrorists and terror states do not reveal these threats with fair notice, in formal declarations — and responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense, it is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now.
As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country. Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty. And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.
The United States, with other countries, will work to advance liberty and peace in that region. Our goal will not be achieved overnight, but it can come over time. The power and appeal of human liberty is felt in every life and every land. And the greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace.
That is the future we choose. Free nations have a duty to defend our people by uniting against the violent. And tonight, as we have done before, America and our allies accept that responsibility.
Good night, and may God continue to bless America.
Letter to the UN from the Government of Iraq, 18 March 2003 Top
Source: United Nations Document Archive. 2012. “Identical letters dated 18 March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary General and the President of the Security Council.” S/2003/325. Accessed from http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org
Identical letters dated 18 March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council
On instructions from my Government, I transmit to you herewith a letter dated 18 March 2003 from Mr. Naji Sabri, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq, concerning the withdrawal of United Nations staff from Iraq. I should be grateful if you would have this letter and its annex circulated as a document of the Security Council.
(Signed) Mohammed A. Aldouri
Annex to the identical letters dated 18 March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council I am writing in reference to the resounding failure of the American Administration of Evil to obtain the passage of a hostile, colonialist war draft in the Security Council and its clear lack of success in obtaining international cover for the aggression which it is plotting against Iraq. Indeed, not only did the Security Council reject the American and British draft resolution for a colonialist war: the entire international community also rejected the American colonialist war policy against Iraq.
To offset this ignominious defeat, the American Administration of Evil resorted to exerting pressure on the United Nations to adopt a decision to withdraw all international staff working in Iraq on the pretext that their lives will be threatened if the United States carries out its aggression against Iraq. The Secretariat of the United Nations ought to have informed the United States that such aggression is unlawful and would endanger the lives of 26 million Iraqis and approximately 1,500 international civil servants working in Iraq. It ought to have called upon the Security Council to reject the pressure by the United States as detracting from the credibility of the United Nations, rather than acquiescing to the withdrawal of international civil servants, thus shirking the responsibilities of the United Nations under its Charter and going against the opinion of both the States and the peoples of the international community, who oppose such aggression. As a result of that decision, all United Nations activities in Iraq came to a halt on the evening of 17 March 2003 without any legitimate reason and in violation of the fundamental principles and raison d’être of the United Nations and the resolutions adopted for starting and terminating its activities.
The Secretariat of the United Nations has withdrawn the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), the mission charged with observing the demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait. Its mandate, as set forth in paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 687 (1991), was “… to deter violations of the boundary through its presence in and surveillance of the demilitarized zone and to observe any hostile or potentially hostile action mounted from the territory of one State against the other”. That measure will make it easier for the American aggressors to wage their aggression against Iraq from Kuwait. The United States also applied pressure to compel the Secretariat to withdraw all the staff of the United Nations programme for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between Iraq and the United Nations (the oil-for food programme). As from 17 March 2003 the programme stopped attending to the basic humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people, thus adding to the suffering of that people caused by 13 long years of sanctions and past American acts of aggression and likely to result in the future from the destruction of basic life structures in Iraq that will be brought by far-reaching American hostilities. Stopping the humanitarian programme means stopping the supply to Iraq of medicine, food and other basic humanitarian necessities paid for entirely out of its own funds. The supply of some 10.5 million dollars worth of humanitarian goods paid for solely with Iraqi funds has been stopped as a consequence of the Secretariat’s decision to withdraw the staff of the Iraq Programme in violation of Security Council resolution 987 (1995) and the 1996 Memorandum of Understanding between Iraq and the United Nations.
The Secretariat has also pulled out of Iraq the inspection teams of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), whose work over the past three and one half months has demonstrated the untruth of the American and British claims that proscribed weapons and activities exist in Iraq. The presence of the teams became burdensome to the United States because they brought shame on the evil American Administration, laying bare its allegations and false documents. The withdrawal of the inspection teams violates Security Council resolutions 1441 (2002), 1284 (1999) and 687 (1991) and other relevant Security Council resolutions and signifies that the United Nations Secretariat has failed to comply with the will of the international community to continue the inspections with a view to meeting the requirements of the Security Council resolutions, first and foremost by lifting the tyrannical sanctions against Iraq and by freeing the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction, in particular those possessed by Israel.
In addition, the Secretariat of the United Nations has decided to stop the work of all United Nations specialized agencies in Iraq connected with cooperation agreements with the Iraqi side in the fields of health, education, relief, preservation of the environment and other humanitarian activities, and has withdrawn their staffs. Such a measure violates the principles and objectives of international economic and social cooperation referred to in Chapter IX of the Charter of the United Nations, and specifically the objective set forth in paragraph 55 of the Charter, which calls for “higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development”.
What this ultimately means is that the unfortunate measures adopted by the United Nations due to the pressure of American extortion are totally out of keeping with the responsibilities of the United Nations in the area of prevention of aggression, maintenance of international peace and security, development of friendly relations among nations and promotion of economic and social progress and development, nor are they in keeping with the desire of the international community, expressed by the vast majority of the States Members of the United Nations, for the inspections to continue. These measures, therefore, have clearly made the Secretariat a tool for facilitating the aggressive designs of the United States that were rejected by the Security Council and by the vast majority of the countries of the world. Thus the United Nations has slipped further and further into the moral impasse from which it has suffered for the past 13 years, i.e. since it began to impose sanctions unprecedented in history for their inhumanity, savagery and cruelty, their all-inclusiveness and their violation of international law, the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We hope that the Secretariat of the United Nations will shoulder its responsibilities under the Charter, return the United Nations staff members to Iraq and compel the United States to assume responsibility for any threat to which such staff might be subject during the performance of their duties in Iraq. We further hope that the States Members of the United Nations and the international community will reject the measures that have been imposed on the United Nations Secretariat by the United States in an attempt to compensate for falling flat in its effort to rally international support for its hostile intentions.
(Signed) Naji Sabri
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq
Statement of the Atlantic Summit, 18 March 2003 Top
Source: United Nations Document Archive. 2012. “Letter dated 18 March 2003 from the Permanent Representatives of Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council.” S/2003/335. Accessed from http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org
Annex to the letter dated 18 March 2003 from the Permanent
Representatives of Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council
Statement of the Atlantic Summit: a vision for Iraq and the Iraqi people
Iraq’s talented people, rich culture, and tremendous potential have been hijacked by Saddam Hussein. His brutal regime has reduced a country with a long and proud history to an international pariah that oppresses its citizens, started two wars of aggression against its neighbours, and still poses a grave threat to the security of its region and the world.
Saddam’s defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding the disarmament of his nuclear, chemical, biological, and long-range missile capacity has led to sanctions on Iraq and has undermined the authority of the United Nations. For 12 years, the international community has tried to persuade him to disarm and thereby avoid military conflict, most recently through the unanimous adoption of Security Council resolution 1441 (2002). The responsibility is his. If Saddam refuses even now to cooperate fully with the United Nations, he brings on himself the serious consequences foreseen in resolution 1441 (2002) and precious resolutions.
In these circumstances, we would undertake a solemn obligation to help the Iraqi people build a new Iraq at peace with itself and its neighbours. The Iraqi people deserve to be lifted from insecurity and tyranny, and freed to determine for themselves the future of their country. We envisage a unified Iraq with its territorial integrity respected. All the Iraqi people — its rich mix of Sunni and Shiite Arabs, Kurds, Turkomen, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and all others — should enjoy freedom, prosperity, and equality in a united country. We will support the Iraqi people’s aspirations for a representative government that upholds human rights and the rule of law as cornerstones of democracy.
We will work to prevent and repair damage by Saddam Hussein’s regime to the natural resources of Iraq and pledge to protect them as a national asset of and for the Iraqi people. All Iraqis should share the wealth generated by their national economy.We will seek a swift end to international sanctions, and support an international reconstruction programme to help Iraq achieve real prosperity and reintegrate into the global community.
We will fight terrorism in all its forms. Iraq must never again be a haven for terrorists of any kind.
In achieving this vision, we plan to work in close partnership with international institutions, including the United Nations; our allies and partners; and bilateral donors. If conflict occurs, we plan to seek the adoption, on an urgent basis, of new United Nations Security Council resolutions that would affirm Iraq’s territorial integrity, ensure rapid delivery of humanitarian relief, and endorse an appropriate post-conflict administration for Iraq. We will also propose that the Secretary-General be given authority, on an interim basis, to ensure that the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people continue to be met through the oil-for-food programme.
Any military presence, should it be necessary, will be temporary and intended to promote security and elimination of weapons of mass destruction; the delivery of humanitarian aid; and the conditions for the reconstruction of Iraq. Our commitment to support the people of Iraq will be for the long term.
We call upon the international community to join with us in helping to realize a better future for the Iraqi people.
Statement of the Atlantic Summit: commitment to transatlantic solidarity
We, the leaders of four democracies with strong transatlantic affiliation, meet at a time of great challenge. We face painful choices.
We uphold a vision of international security we share with other nations. Our nations and people know the horror of war, whether visited upon us, or whether we are called to confront a great danger.
At this difficult moment, we reaffirm our commitment to our core values and the transatlantic alliance that has embodied them for two generations. Our alliance rests on a common commitment to democracy, freedom, and the rule of law. We are bound by solemn commitment to defend one another. We will face and overcome together the twin threats of the twenty-first century: terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. All nations must unite to defeat these dangers. We will not allow differences of the moment to be exploited in ways that bring no solutions. Our security is tied to peace and security throughout the world. Together, we are working to bring security to Afghanistan, and to root out the terrorists who remain there. We affirm a vision of a Middle East peace in which two States, Israel and Palestine, will live side by side in peace, security, and freedom. We welcome the fact that the road map designed to implement this vision will soon be delivered to Palestinians and Israelis, upon the confirmation of an empowered Palestinian Prime Minister. We would welcome the appointment of a Palestinian Prime Minister with sufficient authority to put an end to terrorism and consolidate necessary reforms. We shall look to the parties to work constructively together. We have today issued a statement outlining the challenge that Saddam Hussein poses for the world, and our vision of a better future for the Iraqi people.
We urge our friends and allies to put aside differences, and work together for peace, freedom and security. The friendship and solidarity between Europe and the United States is strong and will continue to grow in years to come.
Bush’s Address to the Nation, 19 March 2003 Top
Source: The White House. President George W. Bush Internet Archive. http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/
THE PRESIDENT: My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.
On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign. More than 35 countries are giving crucial support — from the use of naval and air bases, to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of combat units. Every nation in this coalition has chosen to bear the duty and share the honor of serving in our common defense.
To all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces now in the Middle East, the peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people now depend on you. That trust is well placed.
The enemies you confront will come to know your skill and bravery. The people you liberate will witness the honorable and decent spirit of the American military. In this conflict, America faces an enemy who has no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality. Saddam Hussein has placed Iraqi troops and equipment in civilian areas, attempting to use innocent men, women and children as shields for his own military — a final atrocity against his people.
I want Americans and all the world to know that coalition forces will make every effort to spare innocent civilians from harm. A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict. And helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment.
We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people.
I know that the families of our military are praying that all those who serve will return safely and soon. Millions of Americans are praying with you for the safety of your loved ones and for the protection of the innocent. For your sacrifice, you have the gratitude and respect of the American people. And you can know that our forces will be coming home as soon as their work is done.
Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly — yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.
Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory.
My fellow citizens, the dangers to our country and the world will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.
May God bless our country and all who defend her.
Letter to the Security Council on the commencement of military operations in Iraq, 20 March 2003 Top
Source: United Nations Document Archive. 2012. “Letter dated 20 March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council.” S/2003/351. Accessed from http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org
Coalition forces have commenced military operations in Iraq. These operations are necessary in view of Iraq’s continued material breaches of its disarmament obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 1441 (2002). The operations are substantial and will secure compliance with those obligations. In carrying out these operations, our forces will take all reasonable precautions to avoid civilian casualties.
The actions being taken are authorized under existing Council resolutions, including its resolutions 678 (1990) and 687 (1991). Resolution 687 (1991) imposed a series of obligations on Iraq, including, most importantly, extensive disarmament obligations, that were conditions of the ceasefire established under it. It has been long recognized and understood that a material breach of these obligations removes the basis of the ceasefire and revives the authority to use force under resolution 678 (1990). This has been the basis for coalition use of force in the past and has been accepted by the Council, as evidenced, for example, by the Secretary-General’s public announcement in January 1993 following Iraq’s material breach of resolution 687 (1991) that coalition forces had received a mandate from the Council to use force according to resolution 678 (1990).
Iraq continues to be in material breach of its disarmament obligations under resolution 687 (1991), as the Council affirmed in its resolution 1441 (2002). Acting under the authority of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the Council unanimously decided that Iraq has been and remained in material breach of its obligations and recalled its repeated warnings to Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations. The resolution then provided Iraq a “final opportunity” to comply, but stated specifically that violations by Iraq of its obligations under resolution 1441 (2002) to present a currently accurate, full and complete declaration of all aspects of its weapons of mass destruction programmes and to comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of the resolution would constitute a further material breach. The Government of Iraq decided not to avail itself of its final opportunity under resolution 1441 (2002) and has clearly committed additional violations. In view of Iraq’s material breaches, the basis for the ceasefire has been removed and use of force is authorized under resolution 678 (1990).
Iraq repeatedly has refused, over a protracted period of time, to respond to diplomatic overtures, economic sanctions and other peaceful means, designed to help bring about Iraqi compliance with its obligations to disarm and to permit full inspection of its weapons of mass destruction and related programmes. The actions that coalition forces are undertaking are an appropriate response. They are necessary steps to defend the United States and the international community from the threat posed by Iraq and to restore international peace and security in the area. Further delay would simply allow Iraq to continue its unlawful and threatening conduct. It is the Government of Iraq that bears full responsibility for the serious consequences of its defiance of the Council’s decisions.
I would be grateful if you could circulate the text of the present letter as a document of the Security Council.
(Signed) John D. Negroponte
Letter to the UN Security Council from the Government of Iraq, 21 March 2003 Top
Source: United Nations Document Archive. 2012. “Letter dated 21 March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council.” S/2003/358. Accessed from http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org
Letter dated 21 March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
On instructions from my Government, I transmit to you herewith a letter dated 21 March 2003 from Mr. Taha Yasin Ramadan, Vice-President of the Republic of Iraq, concerning the condemnation by the Government of the Republic of Iraq of the submission by the Secretariat of a draft resolution containing changes to be made in the oil-for-food programme in order to serve United States and British hostile intentions towards Iraq.
I should be grateful if you would have this letter and its annex circulated as a document of the Security Council.
(Signed) Mohammed A. Aldouri
Annex to the letter dated 21 March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
I felt I must write to you after realizing that it was essential to be frank with you and inform you of facts that are sure to be of assistance to the Secretariat of the United Nations in fulfilling its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations, and specifically the provisions of its article 100, which states: “In the performance of their duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organization. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the Organization.”
Sixteen March 2003 was a memorable day in the history of the United Nations Security Council, for on that day the overwhelming majority of the members of the Security Council, supported by the entire international community, declared that they would not permit the adoption of the aggressive American-British war draft in the Security Council. Thus the United States met with a resounding failure in its attempt to obtain international cover for the aggression it was plotting against Iraq and the region.
To offset its ignominious defeat, the United States exerted pressure on the United Nations Secretariat to implement some of the pages of its evil and hostile imperialist war plan. Most unfortunately it succeeded in that effort, inasmuch as on 17 March 2003 the Secretariat decided to withdraw all international staff working in Iraq, in a disgraceful shirking of the responsibilities of the United Nations in four of its most important areas of work, namely disarmament, peacekeeping, humanitarian work and development. Indeed, the withdrawal of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) has enabled the United States of America and the United Kingdom to use the demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait as a corridor for their shock troops. The withdrawal of the staff of the oil-for-food programme has put an end to the supplying of the basic humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people. The withdrawal of the staff of the United Nations specialized agencies has terminated the activities of those health and development agencies in Iraq. The withdrawal of the inspectors of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) brought to a standstill the work of those two organizations, which is fundamental not only for verifying completely that Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction but also for satisfying the remaining requirements of the Security Council resolutions connected with the completion of the inspection operations, above all the lifting of the unjust sanctions imposed on Iraq. It is clear to the international community that the withdrawal of United Nations staff was done by the Secretariat in compliance with the hostile American-British scheme, which is in violation of international law, international humanitarian law, the Charter of the United Nations and the Security Council resolutions on Iraq and devoid of any legal or moral justification. It was also done in violation of the mechanisms in place and without the approval of the Security Council, which had created all those activities.
The United Nations Secretariat, after withdrawing the staff of the humanitarian programme (the oil-for-food programme) on grounds of fear for their security and safety owing to the possibility that they might be exposed to bombs from United States aircraft that would bomb Iraqi towns, proceeded on 19 March 2003 to submit to the Security Council a draft resolution calling for amendments to the oil-for-food programme. The truth of the matter, however, is that it is an American-British draft resolution aimed at the revocation of Security Council resolution 986 (1991) and the Memorandum of Understanding of 20 May 1996 between the Government of Iraq and the Secretary-General of the United Nations. More properly, it is the abrogation of principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations, specifically the principle of equality of rights among peoples, the principle of sovereign equality among States, the principle of respect for the territorial integrity and independence of States and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of States. This draft transforms the Secretary-General of the United Nations into a “High Commissioner” who disposes of Iraq’s assets in the “Iraq account” created out of the sales of Iraqi oil, with the reservation of part of those funds for activities unrelated to the humanitarian programme, but having rather, in some cases, a political and intelligence-related nature.
It is indeed regrettable and reprehensible that the Secretariat should have presented this dubious draft resolution, which amounts to nothing more than a rubber stamp for the intended aggression against Iraq, overzealousness in violating international law and shameful piracy of the assets of the Iraqi people on the very day on which the United States and Britain launched their brutal and cowardly colonialist attack on that people (19 March 2003). It is a shameful material breach of international law, the Charter of the United Nations and the Security Council resolutions on Iraq, all of which stress respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity. It is also regrettable and reprehensible that the Secretariat has not issued any statement or reaction condemning or denouncing that aggression. Nor has the Secretary-General of the United Nations addressed any letter to the Security Council, under Article 99 of the Charter, to bring to its attention that such aggression constitutes the gravest threat to international peace and security and threatens the fate and future of the United Nations in its very core. The questionable American-British draft resolution, which most regrettably bears your signature and calls for an end to the role of the Iraqi State in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, is based on a loathsome, racist-imperialist delusion that drives the high-handed oppressors in Washington and London, namely the extinction of the State of Iraq and the conversion of the region into colonies subject to the international Zionist and American oil mafia.
The Government of the Republic of Iraq signed with your predecessor, former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, a Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of the oil-for-food programme as a temporary measure to meet the pressing humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people. It is the Government of Iraq that produces and exports the oil, establishes the resource distribution plan for purchased items, purchases foodstuffs, medicine and other humanitarian supplies, distributes them among the Iraqi people and sees to the faithful implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding. What the Secretariat does is supervise implementation and withhold large sums of Iraqi funds for that task and for the purpose of deducting from them amounts taken from the Iraqi people and offering them, in what is clearly an operation of piracy and thievery, within the framework of so-called “compensation”. The hundreds of millions of dollars currently in the United Nations administrative expense account (the 2.2 per cent account) bear witness to this. How can the United Nations Secretariat think of playing the role of colonialist high commissioner over the Iraqi people? Is there anything in the Charter of the United Nations that would permit the Secretariat of the United Nations to act on behalf of two outlaw States in order to detract from the sovereignty of Iraq, a founding member of the United Nations, and to steal its money?
The Government of the Republic of Iraq wishes to inform you that it absolutely rejects this futile draft submitted by the Secretariat on behalf of the Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom and considers that draft as an enormous insult to the United Nations and the Secretary-General and as greatly undermining the credibility of the international Organization. We wish to inform you that just as the people, the army and the Government of Iraq, under the leadership of its President and triumphant commander Saddam Hussein (may God save and protect him), will continue their glorious defence of their homeland, their honour and their independence in the face of the greedy American invaders, with the same might they will defend their right to their wealth. Nor will they allow the thieves of Washington, who have taken possession of Iraq’s assets deposited in United States banks, to stretch out their hands to steal the funds of the Memorandum of Understanding, riding on the back of the Secretariat of the United Nations in their attempt to perpetrate such a lowly act of thievery.
Everyone now knows that the United States seeks to buy international civil servants to serve its despicable aggressive interests. Yet the records of the international Organization are replete with names of international civil servants who have refused to have their honour impugned and have not deigned to become cheap instruments for carrying out the bellicose desires of the United States, but rather maintained their integrity and the inviolability of their international functions, responsibilities and commitments under the Charter of the United Nations. In so doing they have preserved the existence and the prestige of the United Nations. We hoped and continue to hope that the staff of the Secretariat, and especially its Secretary-General, are just such civil servants who value their honour, uphold their international responsibilities and reject degrading insults to the United Nations and its international civil servants at the hands of the imperialist oppressors.
Last of all, I want to caution that the profound crisis faced by the United Nations today as a result of the American-British hostile attack on Iraq and the failure of the United Nations to maintain the system of collective security founded on the principles of the Charter may become yet more profound unless the Secretariat take steps for the literal, strict implementation of article 100 of the Charter, and especially paragraph 1 of that article, which states, “In the performance of their duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organization”.
(Signed) Taha Yasin Ramadan
Vice-President of the Republic
Saddam Hussein’s Address to the Nation, 24 March 2003 Top
Source: The Guardian. 2012. “Saddam Hussein’s Address on State Television.” Iraq Documents and Speeches. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/documents/0,,916659,00.html
“O great people, O valiant fighters in our heroic armed forces, peace be upon you.
We know, and everyone in this brave, patient, honest, heroic nation knows, how much we tried to do what was right – so much so, perhaps, that some blamed us for how we behaved and how graciously patient we were over hardships sought by those with ulterior motives and how we responded, although it could coincide with the wishes of the weak or those who do not realise the intentions and goals of the American and British administrations, which are driven by accursed Zionism.”
Now we are living through decisive days in which fighters and the great Iraqi people are doing exceptionally well and for which they deserve victory and satisfaction from God – as He promised the true faithful against the enemies of God and humanity.
It is our right, nay our duty, to be proud as fighting believers who are patient in this epic war …
We have always complied, even with what is illegitimate and unjust among the demands and allegations of the evil ones, in the hope that the world would awake and lift the sanctions against our people and so that we avoid the evils of war.
And after they ran out of excuses or cover, the invading aggressors came openly and shamelessly with vicious intent as we know them and their intentions to be.
O brothers, you know that our country’s policy is to avoid evil. But when evil comes, armed with deceit and destruction, we must face them with faith and holy struggle in a manner which dignifies us and satisfies God.
And here you are today standing, o valiant Iraqis, glorious women and brave armed forces, in a manner which pleases friends and the faithful and enrages the enemies and infidels. A stand which will make you victorious, God willing, against your enemies…
Everyone can see the aggression and injustice and those who were deceived globally by the enemies during and after 1991 have awoken with the general awareness of humanity and the sons of our nation. I herald the near-victory for our patient fighters. These are decisive days, O Iraqis, so attack as God ordered.
In these battles, in these decisive days the enemy attempted, not only with planes and missiles as in the past, but also with land forces to occupy your land…
These forces have pushed into our land and wherever they encroach they are trapped in our land, leaving the desert behind them, and find Iraqi citizens surrounding them and shooting at them. The (Ba’ath) party, the people, the clans, the Fedayeen of Saddam and national security forces alongside our brave armed forces have done great things which match their calibre.
Therefore, after underestimating you … the enemy is trapped in the sacred land of Iraq which is being defended by its great people and army.
O brave fighters, hit your enemy with all your strength. O Iraqis, fight with the strength of the spirit of jihad which you carry in you and push them to the point where they cannot go on.
You (fighters) will reap stability and dignity with victory. For our martyrs the prize of heaven and for you the prize of honour which satisfies God and which will be recorded by history. The lesson you teach the enemy will make them think twice, and even be incapable, of attacking you, your nation and humanity again.
Hit them so that good and its people may reign and evil evicted back to its place. Mothers, daughters, fathers and sons, together with all the faithful and good, will sleep in comfort after being terrified by aggression. Your struggle will dishearten the aggressor. Oh Arabs, oh faithful of the world, oh those who support justice and oppose evil, we herald the victory that God has promised us in the conflict against the lowlifes and enemies of humanity.”
Letter to UN Security Council from Government of Iraq, 28 March 2003 Top
Source: United Nations Document Archive. 2012. “Letter dated 28 March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council.” S/2003/389. Accessed from http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org
Letter dated 28 March 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council
On instructions from my Government, I transmit to you herewith a letter dated 28 March 2003 from Mr. Naji Sabri, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq, concerning steps being taken by the Security Council to amend the memorandum of understanding of 20 May 1996 between the Government of Iraq and the Secretariat of the United Nations (see annex).
I should be grateful if you would have the present letter and its annex circulated as a document of the Security Council.
(Signed) Mohammed A. Aldouri
Annex to the letter dated 28 March 2003 from the Permanent
Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the
President of the Security Council
We have learned that consultations are taking place in the Security Council concerning an amendment to the memorandum of understanding of 20 May 1996 between the Government of the Republic of Iraq and the Secretariat of the United Nations on the implementation of Security Council resolution 986 (1995). We find it odd that the Security Council should proceed to have such discussions at a time when it should be assuming its primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security and to suppress aggression, following the launching by the United States and the United Kingdom of their large-scale military attack by land, sea and air against Iraq at dawn on Thursday, 20 March 2003. The two countries announced that the objective of the attack was to occupy Iraq and to change its political regime as a first step towards changing the political map of the Middle East region, to ensure the interests of the United States and Israel. Considering that the American-British invasion and aggression against Iraq is a grave threat to international and regional peace and security, the international community expects the Security Council to take the necessary measures under Chapter VII of the Charter to restore international peace and security and to suppress the aggression, rather than to engage in premature discussion of one of the aggression’s by-products, thus serving the interests of its perpetrators, without regard to their criminal aggression against the people of Iraq, the Charter of the United Nations, the international community and its values.
Any discussion of an amendment to the memorandum of understanding and the oil-for-food programme without Iraq’s participation is a blatant violation of Security Council resolution 986 (1995) and brooks no justification whatsoever. The programme was operating with full cooperation between the Government of Iraq and the Secretariat of the United Nations until the Secretariat decided on 17 March 2003 to withdraw the programme’s staff from Iraq on the grounds of fears for the safety of international staff arising from an American-British attack on that country. There is no legal or moral basis for such a pretext. The programme’s staff should return to Iraq and resume their work, as a deterrent to the aggression; instead, the Security Council is ignoring the attack and discussing ways of dealing with one of its results in a manner which violates its own resolutions, including resolution 986 (1995). In discussing modifications to the memorandum of understanding and the oilfor- food programme, I should like to remind you that the fifth preambular paragraph of resolution 986 (1995) reaffirms the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq. Operative paragraph 18 affirms that “nothing in this resolution should be construed as infringing the sovereignty or territorial integrity of Iraq”. Furthermore, the memorandum of understanding of 20 May 1996 between the Government of Iraq and the Secretary-General sets out in detail all the arrangements for implementation of the programme. Thus, the Government of Iraq exports oil and submits a plan for the purchase of humanitarian supplies for approval by the Secretary-General. The Government of Iraq then contracts to purchase such humanitarian supplies, takes delivery and distributes them to the Iraqi people. The Secretariat’s role is restricted to observing the exportation of oil and the importation and distribution of humanitarian supplies. Due to the anomalous situation in the three northern Governorates, it was decided that United Nations agencies should distribute humanitarian supplies there on behalf of the Government of Iraq, in the framework of a distribution plan drawn up by the Government of Iraq with due regard for that country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It is thus clear that the oil-for-food programme is a contract between the United Nations and the Republic of Iraq. The legal precept is “pacta sunt servanda”: if one party violates the conditions of the contract, the other party is absolved of its obligations thereunder. I therefore wish to inform you that the Government of Iraq categorically rejects any amendments which may be imposed on the memorandum of understanding without its consent. Any arrangements made on the basis of such amendments are categorically rejected by the Government of Iraq. Iraq will not export a single barrel of oil unless in the framework of the memorandum of understanding to which it became a party and gave its consent. I wish to inform you that the Government of Iraq will treat any other attempt outside this framework as an operation designed to loot and steal the resources of the Iraqi people, regardless of the cover used for such an attempt. We shall consider it to be an aggressive act and a component of the American-British aggression against Iraq. The party making such an attempt will bear full legal responsibility for this theft. We shall extend the same categorical rejection to the unlawful attempted acts of piracy which certain parties intend to commit against Iraq’s assets in the United Nations “Iraq account” or against goods purchased by Iraq under the programme, and now on their way to the country, in an attempt to use them for purposes and under arrangements unforeseen in resolution 986 (1995) and the memorandum of understanding. The Government of Iraq, which has assumed responsibility for meeting the Iraqi people’s humanitarian requirements since the imposition of the unjust blockade on 6 August 1990, pledges to cover the Iraqi people’s requirements under all circumstances. Accordingly, any attempt to bring any supplies into Iraq without its consent, under the cover of so-called humanitarian assistance, is designed to embellish the odious American-British aggression and to disguise its wicked colonialist purposes. It is thus a part of the colonialist American-British operation of aggression against Iraq.
The whole international community has condemned this invasion and aggression as a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, an offence against international legitimacy , a grave threat to international peace and security and a blatant act of defiance against the international community and world public opinion. The countries of the world have issued statements which deplore the invasion and call for an immediate cessation and withdrawal of the invading forces from Iraqi territory. These include the resolution adopted by the Council of Arab Ministers for Foreign Affairs at its conference on 24 March 2003, which condemned the American-British aggression, called for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the invading American- British forces from Iraqi territory and imposed on those forces the material, moral and legal responsibility for the aggression. It is the aggression and the American-British invasion which are the essential cause of the Iraqi people’s suffering. The only way to deal with this suffering is for the Security Council immediately to assume its responsibilities and to take a decision leading to an immediate cessation of the American-British aggression against Iraq and an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the invading forces from Iraqi territory. The aggression, which began nine days ago, took civilians and civilian premises and facilities as its first target. The American-British forces are carrying out continuous raids on residential quarters in Iraqi cities and villages, at a rate of 1,000 air raids and 1,000 missiles each day, using proscribed weapons such as cluster bombs and depleted-uranium warheads. By 28 March 2003, the invasion and aggression had caused the death of 357 civilians and injuries to 3,650 others.
The aggressors have also destroyed much of Iraq’s economic and social infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, universities, roads, bridges, electric power stations, water purification plants, telephone exchanges and radio and television broadcasting stations. The hostile American and British forces are also laying siege to Iraqi cities such as Basra and Faw and depriving them of food and medical supplies. They are also besieging the main Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, destroying the port’s jetties and preventing the delivery of shipments of food, medicines and other humanitarian requirements contracted for by the Government of Iraq under the memorandum of understanding and the oil-for-food programme. The American and British aggressor forces have even resorted to preventing ambulances from transporting the wounded for treatment outside the cities, in one of the most repugnant crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity witnessed by our modern world. This crime continues to be committed before the eyes of the Security Council and the international community.
(Signed) Naji Sabri
Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq
Colin Powell’s speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, 31 March 2003 Top
Source: The Guardian. 2012. “Colin Powell’s Speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, March 31, 2003.” Iraq Documents and Speeches. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/documents/0,,916659,00.html
There are so many, many people here tonight who are friends of mine. I can’t see all of you, but there is one very dear friend that I can see and I must acknowledge, and that’s my dear friend Shimon Peres….
My friends, all of us here tonight are brought together by a deep commitment to Israel’s security, prosperity, and freedom, and to the strongest possible relationship between Israel and the United States.
AIPAC came into being half a century ago to help the young Israel state meet the challenges of independence. Since then, AIPAC and its members have worked tirelessly and effectively on Israel’s behalf. You have a world-class reputation for being one of the most effective such organizations in that regard.
And at the same time, it is America’s commitment that also is long and enduring, a commitment that stretches back to Israel’s founding. From the very moment of Harry Truman’s historic decision, in war and peace, the United States has stood proudly at Israel’s side. Our two nations and peoples are bound together by our common democratic values and traditions. So it has been for over 50 years. So it will always be.
As we meet tonight, our thoughts cannot help but be with the brave young men and women from the United States, from Britain, from Australia, and other coalition partners, who are laying their lives on the line to liberate Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. They are serving their nations and they are serving humanity, to free the Middle East and the world from the threat of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
War and force was not our first choice. We gave diplomacy every chance. We worked hard to pass United Nations security council resolution 1441, which gave Saddam Hussein one last chance to disarm peacefully, but it also made it clear in that resolution and in that 15-0 vote that if this time he did not take the chance, if he did not comply, then serious consequences would follow. And they are now following.
So we warned him that we built up a massive military force on the borders to show that this time the international community meant business. But Hussein spurned that final chance, and – after 12 years of Iraqi defiance and deception – we could wait no longer. He did not comply. He did not cooperate. And the issue was compliance, not more time for inspections or more inspectors.
And we should be so proud tonight that there were brave and bold leaders such as George Bush and Tony Blair and President Aznar and Prime Minister Berlusconi, Prime Minister Howard, and so many others.
Forty-nine nations openly associated with this willing coalition, all of them headed by leaders who have to go against public opinion – public opinion, because nobody wants war. Everybody would like to avoid war. We did everything to avoid war. But these 49 nations and their leaders came together and decided that the world had to be rid of these weapons of mass destruction.
And let there be no doubt about the outcome. We will drive Saddam and his regime from power. We will liberate Iraq. We will remove the shadow of Saddam’s terrible weapons from Israel and the Middle East, and we will keep them from the hands of terrorists who would threaten the entire civilized world.
I know that all of you are as proud as I am of the brave men and women in uniform who are making our success possible. You see them on your television sets every evening. Volunteers all. Willing to serve.
We are also thinking of the men and women who spend this night as prisoners of war. We hold the Iraqi regime accountable for their treatment and their safety, until we can bring them back home. And we will bring them home.
Our thoughts and prayers tonight also go out to the families of those American and British heroes who have given their lives. They will not be forgotten. And the best way we can honor their sacrifice and their legacy is to carry on the fight until we win. And we will win.
You see much on television and you read much in your newspapers as to how the war is going. Commentary from all directions. Let me just say this to you. We are only 10 or 11 days into this war. Baghdad is slowly being encircled. Pockets of resistance are being isolated. The oil fields are secure. humanitarian aid is beginning to flow. I have total confidence in the plan and total confidence in General Franks and the other leaders who are carrying out that plan.
But winning means more than just driving Saddam Hussein from power. It also means giving hope and a better future to 24 million Iraqis after decades of oppression and misrule.
And we are already starting to help Iraqis in need. We are bringing water to thirsty people. We are clearing Saddam’s mines from ports so we can send in ships with food and medicine to distribute to the hungry and to the sick.
And once they are liberated, we will work with the Iraqi people to help them create a country that is peaceful, democratic, and unified, living in peace with its neighbors. We will help them build a nation that uses its vast oil wealth to improve the lives of mothers and children, not to develop terrible weapons or dot the countryside with lavish palaces.
While we deal with Saddam Hussein, we must not forget the burdens that the conflict with Iraq has placed on our Israeli friends. I am very pleased that President Bush has included in his supplemental budget request that just went to Congress $1b in foreign military financing funds to help Israel strengthen its military and civil defenses.
And that’s just for starters. The president is also asking for $9bn in loan guarantees. These loan guarantees will help Israel deal with the economic costs arising from the conflict, and will help Israel to implement the critical economic and budgetary reforms it needs to get its economy back on track. And I am hopeful that Congress, with your encouragement will act quickly on this request.
You know, even as we rid the world of the Iraqi threat and we deal with these crises, we are also working to meet the other challenges we face at the dawn of this new century.
Over a year and a half ago, the cowardly attacks of September 11 occurred, and a year and a half later, we are still at war with terrorism. In Afghanistan, the fight continues to destroy the last vestiges of al-Qaida and the Taliban. It is still a dangerous place. Just yesterday, we lost two soldiers.
That war is not forgotten. We will remain engaged in Afghanistan. The two soldiers were lost not while out looking for combat, they were lost by being ambushed while they were inspecting a school and a hospital, both being built with American funding. And we mourn their loss and our thoughts are with their families.
But we have accomplished so much in Afghanistan in the past year and a half. We have stood up a new government, a government that is committed to the rights of all of its people, a government that is bringing women into the workplace and into the government itself.
So there is so much going on that is good in Afghanistan and good in other parts of the world, and we are hard at work on this campaign against terrorism. With the Kurds of northern Iraq, we are driving al-Qaida’s friends, the Ansar al-Islam terrorists, out of their caves.
Let there be no doubt. We will pursue al-Qaida and its accomplices in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and everywhere they plot their murders. Around the world, around the world, we are working with coalition members to search out terrorists, break up their networks, and find their financing.
Every day another terrorist is arrested and put before the bar of justice. There will be no let up, no respite, no rest until the terrorists are defeated. We will never forget what was done to us on 9/11 and we will do whatever is necessary to defeat those who were responsible.
As part of our overall strategy in combating terrorism and dealing with states that do not follow acceptable patterns of behavior, we are demanding more responsible behavior from these states, especially those in the region….
The spread of democratic and economic freedoms, combined with breathtaking advances in technology, opens unprecedented opportunities to lift millions out of misery – to help people put roofs over their heads, good food on their tables, and clean water on their parched lips.
Just a year ago, President Bush saw the need to come forward with a bold new initiative and to capitalize on these opportunities to kindle hope in people’s hearts. He called it the Millennium Challenge Account, the most exciting thing we’ve done in foreign assistance in many years.
It will put large funds of American money behind those countries that make a real commitment to democracy, to ruling justly, to investing in people, and embracing economic freedom — use our assistance to spur economic growth, and attract not more aid, but attract investment that is needed to further these nations along the road to prosperity….
In the Middle East, such hope depends on security. And Israel’s security ultimately requires a real and lasting peace with its neighbors. That is the reality behind the roadmap.
My friends, from day one to today, America has been totally committed to Israel’s security and well-being. So has AIPAC. In good times and difficult times, Israel has always been able to rely on her friends. The United States and AIPAC have always been there. And we will always be.
Thank you so very much.
Saddam Hussein’s Message, 1 April 2003 Top
Source: The Guardian. 2012. “Saddam Hussein’s Message, April 1 2003.” Iraq Documents and Speeches. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/documents/0,,916659,00.html
In the name of God the most compassionate.
They shall be vanquished and flee. God hath spoken.
Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar. There is no god but God.
Oh great mojahed people,
Oh sons of our glorious nation,
Oh men, bearers of arms and the honor of resistance. God’s peace be upon you as you confront the invaders, the enemies of God and humanity, the transient blasphemers with chests brimming with faith and the love of God.
Yes, these are the days of unparalleled honour for 700 years. God has granted us with this great opportunity and affliction that God wants to test our faith and our allegiance, which we testified to before the Almighty, so that God shall give us this opportunity to turn the words into deeds to bestow upon us his mercy and raise the influence of his banner through us as it flutters on the mast of Allahu Akbar.
Yes, oh brothers, for centuries and centuries there has been no unanimity among the religious scholars of the nation, despite differences in their diligence, factions and sects as there is today that the aggression, which the aggressors are carrying out against the stronghold of faith is an aggression on the religion, the wealth, the honour and the soul and an aggression on the land of Islam.
Therefore, jihad is a duty in confronting them. He who dies in this quest God bestows on him light in eternal paradise and in his blessing. Seize the opportunity, my brothers, it carries one of the two virtues for the sake of God and the great principles.
God has granted victory of those who invoked his faith, promise and covenant against the enemies and the aggressors fled before the right, cursed along with their devils while the faces of the mojahedin illuminated with faith and honour of the moment.
Seize the opportunity, the pride of Iraq and the nation. It is the opportunity to become eternal and a long life for the living and glory unparalleled.
Strike at them, fight them. They are aggressors, evil, accursed by God, the exalted. You shall be victorious and they shall be vanquished.
Fight them just the way your brothers and sons fought them in the vast Umm Qasr and Basra, the warm Ninawa, Nasiriyah and Shatra, on the outskirts of Hay and Anbar.
Fight them everywhere the way you are fighting them today and don’t give them a chance to catch their breath until they declare it and withdraw from the lands of the Muslims, defeated and cursed in this life and the afterlife.
Long live our glorious nation. Long live free and proud Palestine, from the river to the sea. Long live Iraq. Long live Iraq.
On to jihad and long live the mojaheds of our nation.
Allahu Akbar and the criminals shall be defeated.
Saddam Hussein’s Speech (exceprts), 4 April 2003 Top
Source: The Guardian. 2012. “Excerpts from Saddam Hussein’s Speech, April 4 2003.” Iraq Documents and Speeches. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/documents/0,,916659,00.html
Your decision to defend your homeland, your honour and your religion was made before this decisive battle even began, and today, by the will of God the Great, your sacrifices will be honoured.
I address you from time to time, as my moral and constitutional duty, and as God called upon his prophet to incite his fighters to battle.
I tell you that after we’ve relied on God the great and after He inspired us with faith and courage, we will emerge victorious over our criminal invaders and we will be victorious on all battlefronts after we emerged victorious within ourselves with our faith and love for our nation.
And as I told you, sons and daughters of Iraq, before this battle began, the enemy will rely on manoeuvres and deployment here and there, wherever they find an area that is clear from our valiant army’s defences.
And they wait around for our divisions to come and confront them and fire a large number of missiles on us – acting in the way that we had expected, and according to our expectations, we have organised our defences, including the defences of Baghdad.
Whenever the enemy is confronted, it moves along to another place in the precious land of Iraq… And now the enemy is approaching Baghdad in the same way, and the defences of Baghdad’s walls is the responsibility of the Republican Guard and the army.
(The enemy) will not be able to storm Baghdad, because there are believers who are willing to sacrifice their lives for God and the nation, so every Iraqi family be assured and have no fear.
I say, as I have said before, we are not waiting for victory, because it is in our hands…This is God’s promise to the believers, and it is our right to achieve this victory.
We are determined to repel them and destroy them at the walls of the capital Baghdad, as we are determined to destroy their armies on every inch of Muslim Iraqi land.
Fight them brothers, hit them day and night and let the land of Muslims be a scorching fire for their feet and their faces wherever they pass. With God’s help, their stomachs may grill in hell forever and our martyrs will attain paradise.
Throughout history evil invaders have targeted capitals and believed battle would be decided in the capital. But when the capital is steadfast and the invaders are defeated and repelled, they retreat in defeat.
Allahu Akbar (God is great); Glory for God; glory for the mujahideen of Iraq and disgrace and shame for the enemies of God and humanity. Long live Iraq; Long live our glorious nation; Long live Palestine. Long live Iraq. Long live Iraq; Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar; and let losers be disgraced.
Donald Rumsfeld’s Address to the Iraqi People, 30 April 2003 Top
Source: The Guardian. 2012. “Donald Rumsfeld’s Address to the Iraqi People.” Iraq Documents and Speeches. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/documents/0,,916659,00.html
“Hello, I’m Don Rumsfeld, the American secretary of defence, I am pleased to visit Iraq – your country – to witness your liberation.
“The American people share your joy that tyranny is gone. We have watched you embrace your freedom – pulling down statues of Saddam Hussein, worshipping freely for the first time in decades, debating the future of your country and even raising voices in dissent without fear of torture and death.
“The coalition is committed to helping you as you take control of your country and make the transition from tyranny to freedom and self-government.
“Building a free society isn’t easy. It requires hard work and sacrifice. We know this is a difficult time for many of you. Even as you celebrate your new-found freedom you also want to see normalcy restored to your lives.
“You want to return to work so you can earn a living for your families, you want to see schools reopen, electricity restored and water running.
“Each day that goes by, conditions in Iraq are improving. In fact, in a number of parts of the country people already have more food, water and electricity than they had under the old regime. But some do not have these necessities and the coalition is working day and night to help provide them.
“Improvements in life in Iraq depend on finding the remnants of the regime and ensuring the Ba’ath party’s influence is removed. The coalition has taken into custody a number of senior leaders from Saddam Hussein’s regime. In almost every case, it was with the help of the Iraqi people. We need your help to capture the rest of them. We also need to get rid of foreign fighters, those from neighbouring countries who are seeking to hijack your country for their own purposes.
“Please help remove this threat by approaching coalition forces with any information you may have about the activities and whereabouts of any foreign fighters in your area.
“We shared a common objective in the removal of Saddam Hussein and we share common objectives for a new Iraq:
– a free country where Iraq’s leaders answer to the Iraqi people instead of murdering the Iraqi people
– where the country’s wealth is used to benefit the people, not to line the pockets of a cruel dictator
– where Iraqi children can play and study and learn and grow and not worry whether they or their parents will be suddenly taken away by death squads.
“Back home in America I have three children and six grandchildren – the youngest is just one year old. I want the same things for them that each of you want for your children and grandchildren – safety, security and a just society where they have freedom to pursue their dreams.
“We are committed to helping you as you build a new Iraq where they will have those opportunities. Let me be clear: Iraq belongs to you. We do not want to run it. Our coalition came to Iraq for a purpose – to remove a regime that oppressed your people and threatened ours.
“Our goal is to restore stability and security so that you can form an interim government and eventually a free Iraqi government – a government of your choosing, a government that is of Iraqi design and Iraqi choice.
“We will stay as long as necessary to help you do that, and not a day longer.
“Thank you for listening.”