THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 26, 1993
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
IN ADDRESS TO THE NATION
The Oval Office
7:40 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans, this evening I want
to speak with you about an attack by the government of Iraq against
the United States, and the actions we have just taken to respond.
This past April, the Kuwaiti government uncovered what
they suspected was a car bombing plot to assassinate former President
George Bush while he was visiting Kuwait City. The Kuwaiti
authorities arrested 16 suspects, including two Iraq nationals.
Following those arrests, I ordered our own intelligence and law
enforcement agencies to conduct a thorough and independent
investigation. Over the past several weeks, officials from those
agencies reviewed a range of intelligence information, traveled to
Kuwait and elsewhere, extensively interviewed the suspects, and
thoroughly examined the forensic evidence.
This Thursday, Attorney General Reno and Director of
Central Intelligence Woolsey gave me their findings. Based on their
investigation there is compelling evidence that there was, in fact, a
plot to assassinate former President Bush; and that this plot, which
included the use of a powerful bomb made in Iraq, was directed and
pursued by the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
We should not be surprised by such deeds, coming as they
do from a regime like Saddam Hussein's, which is ruled by atrocity,
slaughtered its own people, invaded two neighbors, attacked others,
and engaged in chemical and environmental warfare. Saddam has
repeatedly violated the will and conscience of the international
But this attempt at revenge by a tyrant against the
leader of the world coalition that defeated him in war is
particularly loathsome and cowardly. We thank God it was
The authorities who foiled it have the appreciation of
all Americans. It is clear that this was no impulsive or random act.
It was an elaborate plan devised by the Iraqi government and directed
against a former President of the United States because of actions he
took as President. As such, the Iraqi attack against President Bush
was an attack against our country and against all Americans.
We could not and have not let such action against our
nation go unanswered.
From the first days of our revolution, America's
security has depended on the clarity of this message: Don't tread on
us. A firm and commensurate response was essential to protect our
sovereignty; to send a message to those who engage in state-sponsored
terrorism; to deter further violence against our people; and to
affirm the expectation of civilized behavior among nations.
Therefore, on Friday, I ordered our forces to launch a
cruise missile attack on the Iraqi Intelligence Service's principal
command and control facility in Baghdad. Those missiles were
launched this afternoon at 4:22 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. They
landed approximately an hour ago. I have discussed this action with
the congressional leadership and with our allies and friends in the
region. And I have called for an emergency meeting of the United
Nations Security Council to expose Iraq's crime.
These actions were directed against the Iraqi
government, which was responsible for the assassination plot. Saddam
Hussein has demonstrated repeatedly that he will resort to terrorism
or aggression if left unchecked. Our intent was to target Iraq's
capacity to support violence against the United States and other
nations, and to deter Saddam Hussein from supporting such outlaw
behavior in the future. Therefore, we directed our action against
the facility associated with Iraq's support of terrorism, while
making every effort to minimize the loss of innocent life.
There should be no mistake about the message we intend
these actions to convey to Saddam Hussein, to the rest of the Iraqi
leadership, and to any nation, group, or person who would harm our
leaders or our citizens. We will combat terrorism. We will deter
aggression. We will protect our people.
The world has repeatedly made clear what Iraq must do to
return to the community of nations. And Iraq has repeatedly refused.
If Saddam and his regime contemplate further illegal provocative
actions they can be certain of our response.
Let me say to the men and women in our Armed Forces and
in our intelligence and law enforcement agencies who carried out the
investigation and our military response: You have my gratitude and
the gratitude of all Americans. You have performed a difficult
mission with courage and professionalism.
Finally, I want to say this to all the American people:
While the Cold War has ended, the world is not free of danger. And I
am determined to take the steps necessary to keep our nation secure.
We will keep our forces ready to fight. We will work to head off
emerging threats and we will take action when action is required.
That is precisely what we have done today.
Thank you, and God bless America.
END7:45 P.M. EDT
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