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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

19 September 2002

Powell Says Iraq Is Responding to "Pressure" of Bush Speech

(Secretary of State's prepared testimony to House panel) (2960)
Iraq's recent offer to allow the return of U.N. weapons inspectors
"without conditions" is a ploy that the United States "will not fall
for," Secretary of State Colin Powell told the House International
Relations Committee September 19.
Powell testified before the committee as part of an administration
effort to make its case on the need for a new U.N. Security Council
resolution on Iraq and for a congressional resolution authorizing
President Bush to use all necessary means to enforce existing U.N.
resolutions Iraq has violated. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
testified on the same subject before the House Armed Services
Committee September 18 and the Senate Armed Services Committee
September 19. Also on the 19th, Deputy Secretary of State Richard
Armitage and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz appeared
before a joint House-Senate Select Intelligence Committee. The
president also sent proposed language for the congressional resolution
to Capitol Hill the same day.
"The Iraqi regime," Powell said in a prepared statement, "is infamous
for its ploys, its stalling tactics, its demands on inspectors --
sometimes at the point of a gun.. There is absolutely no reason at all
to expect that Iraq has changed.."
"The Iraqis did not suddenly see the error of their ways," Powell
said. "They were responding to the heat and pressure generated by the
international community after President Bush's speech" September 12 to
the UN General Assembly.
The secretary said the United States believes a new Security Council
resolution must demand that Iraq:
-- "immediately and unconditionally" disclose and eliminate all of its
weapons of mass destruction;
--  end its support for terrorism and act to suppress it;
--  cease persecuting its civilian population;
-- account for missing Persian Gulf War personnel, return the remains
of those deceased, return stolen Kuwaiti property, cooperate fully
with the international community in the process; and
-- end its contraband economic trading outside the parameters of the
UN Oil-for-Food Program.
In seeking to secure a new Security Council resolution, Powell said,
"This is the time to apply more pressure, not to relent."
On the administration's desire for a congressional resolution, Powell
said, "The President should be authorized to use all means he
determines appropriate, including military force, to enforce the UN
Security Council resolutions Iraq is defying, and to defend the United
States and its interests against the threat Iraq poses.."
Such a congressional resolution, he said, would help U.S. diplomatic
efforts at the United Nations.
Following is the text of Powell's remarks as prepared for delivery:
(begin text)
Office of the Spokesman
September 19, 2002
As Prepared for Delivery
September 19, 2002
Washington, DC
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I am pleased to appear before
you to testify on the administration's position with regard to Iraq.
Congressman Hyde, Congressman Lantos, you and I have been discussing
Iraq for a long time. In fact, many of the committee members go back
with me to the days of the Gulf War.
In 1990, Saddam Hussein's forces invaded Kuwait, brutalized the
population, and rejected the international community's ultimatum to
The U.S. built a worldwide coalition with the clear political purpose
of liberating Kuwait. The military instrument of that coalition, led
by America, had an equally clear military objective that flowed
directly from the political purpose: eject the Iraqi army from Kuwait.
The United Nations Security Council endorsed this purpose and
objective, and the international community responded with
unprecedented political backing, financial support, and military
forces. As a result, we not only accomplished our mission in the Gulf
War, the way we did it was a model of American leadership and
international cooperation.
When the war ended, the UN Security Council agreed to take measures to
ensure Iraq did not threaten any of its neighbors again. Saddam
Hussein was a man after all who had sent his armies against Iran in
1980 and then against Kuwait in 1990, who had fired ballistic missiles
at neighboring countries, and who had used chemical weapons in the war
with Iran and even against his own people. The United States and the
international community were strongly determined to prevent any future
UN Security Council Resolution 687 of 3 April 1991 fixed the terms of
the ceasefire in the Gulf. The fundamental purpose of this resolution
and many more that followed was restoration of regional peace and
security by way of a series of stringent demands on Iraq, particularly
its disarmament with respect to weapons of mass destruction and
ballistic missiles with ranges greater than 150 kilometers. Desert
Storm had dramatically reduced Iraq's more conventional military
capability while at the same time not leaving Iraq so prostrate it
could not defend itself against Iran.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, you know the rest of the
story. You heard the President relate it at the United Nations seven
days ago today. Iraq has defied the United Nations and refused to
comply completely with any of the UN Security Council Resolutions.
Moreover, since December 1998 when the UN's inspection teams left Iraq
because of the regime's flagrant defiance of the UN, the Iraqi regime
has been free to pursue weapons of mass destruction.
Meanwhile, the world has changed dramatically.
Since September 11, 2001, the world is a different place. As a
consequence of the terrorist attacks on that day and of the war on
terrorism that those attacks made necessary, a new reality was born:
the world had to recognize that the potential connection between
terrorists and weapons of mass destruction moved terrorism to a new
level of threat. In fact, that nexus became the overriding security
concern of our nation. It still is. It will continue to be for some
years to come.
We now see that a proven menace like Saddam Hussein, in possession of
weapons of mass destruction, could empower a few terrorists to
threaten millions of innocent people.
President Bush is fully determined to deal with this threat. His
administration is determined to defeat it. I believe the American
people would have us do no less.
President Bush is also aware of the need to engage the international
community. He understands how powerful a strong and unified
international community can be, as we have seen so well-demonstrated
in the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The need to engage the international community is why the President
took his message on the grave and gathering danger of Iraq to the
United Nations last week. Moreover, it is the United Nations that is
the offended party, not Iraq, as some might claim.
It was United Nations resolutions that were systematically and
brutally ignored and violated for these past 12 years. It was United
Nations inspectors who found it impossible to do their job and had to
leave the work unfinished.
The President's challenge to the United Nations General Assembly was a
direct and simple one: If you would remain relevant, you must act.
The President's speech was powerful and energized the UN General
Assembly debate. It changed the political landscape on which this
issue was being discussed. Iraq is the problem. Iraq is in material
breach of the demands placed upon it by the United Nations.
President Bush made clear in his speech what Iraq must do to repair
this breach:
- Iraq must immediately and unconditionally forswear, disclose, and
remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range
missiles, and all related material.
- Iraq must end all support for terrorism and act to suppress it, as
all states are required to do by U.N. Security Council resolutions.
- Iraq must cease persecution of its civilian population, including
Shi'a, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkomans, and others, again as required by UN
Security Council resolutions,
- Iraq must release or account for all Gulf War personnel whose fate
is still unknown. It must return the remains of any who are deceased,
return stolen property, accept liability for losses resulting from the
invasion of Kuwait, and it must cooperate fully with international
efforts to resolve these issues, once again as required by Security
Council resolutions.
- And Iraq must immediately end all illicit trade outside the
oil-for-food program. It must accept UN administration of funds from
that program, to ensure that the money is used fairly and promptly for
the benefit of the Iraqi people.
Over the past weekend I watched the pressure build on Iraq as the Arab
League, the Secretary General and others pressed Iraq on the need to
take action.
Four days ago, on Monday, Iraq responded with a familiar, tactical
ploy. The Iraqi Foreign Minister said Iraq would let the inspectors in
without conditions. But he is not deceiving anyone. It is a ploy we
have seen before, on many occasions. And on each occasion, once
inspectors began to operate Iraq continued to do everything to
frustrate their work.
In May 1991, for example, just after suspension of hostilities in the
Gulf War, Iraq accepted the unrestricted freedom of entry and exit
without delay or hindrance for UN inspectors and their property,
supplies, and equipment.
In June 1991 -- a short month later -- Iraqis fired warning shots at
the inspectors to keep them away from suspicious vehicles.
Three months later, in September, the Iraqis confiscated a set of
documents from the inspectors. When the inspectors refused to comply
with an Iraqi demand to give up a second set of documents, the Iraqis
surrounded them and for four days refused to let them leave the
inspection site. Finally, when the UN threatened enforcement action,
the inspectors were allowed to leave.
In February 1992 Iraq refused to comply with a UN inspection team's
decision to destroy certain facilities used in proscribed programs and
in April of that year Iraq demanded a halt to the inspectors' aerial
Later, in July of that year, Iraq refused the inspectors access to the
Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture. The inspectors had reliable information
that the site contained archives related to proscribed activities.
They finally gained access only after members of the Council
threatened enforcement action.
In January 1993, Iraq refused to allow the UN inspection teams to use
their own aircraft to fly into Iraq.
In June and July of 1993, Iraq refused to allow the UN inspectors to
install remote-controlled monitoring cameras at two missile engine
test stands.
In March 1996, Iraqi security forces refused UN inspection teams
access to five sites designated for inspection. The teams entered the
sites after delays of up to 17 hours -- which of course permitted the
Iraqis to remove any incriminating evidence.
In November 1996, Iraq blocked UN inspectors from removing remnants of
missile engines for in-depth analysis outside Iraq.
In June 1997, Iraqi escorts on board a UN inspector team helicopter
attempted physically to prevent the UN pilot from flying the
helicopter in the direction of its intended destination.
In that month also, Iraq again blocked UN inspection teams from
entering designated sites for inspection.
In September 1997, an Iraqi officer attacked a UN inspector on board a
UN helicopter while the inspector was attempting to take photographs
of unauthorized movement of Iraqi vehicles inside a site designated
for inspection.
Also in September, while seeking access to a site declared by Iraq to
be "sensitive," UN inspectors witnessed and videotaped Iraqi guards
moving files, burning documents, and dumping ash-filled waste cans
into a nearby river.
Mr. Chairman, I have left out much and could go on -- all the way to
the departure of the UN inspection teams from Iraq in December 1998
because they could no longer do their job. And I could talk about
Operation Desert Fox, the military action that resulted.
But I believe you get the point.
The Iraqi regime is infamous for its ploys, its stalling tactics, its
demands on inspectors -- sometimes at the point of a gun, and its
general and consistent defiance of the mandate of the UN Security
There is absolutely no reason at all to expect that Iraq has changed,
that this latest effort to welcome inspectors without conditions is
not another ploy.
Let's be clear about the reason for their announcement. The Iraqis did
not suddenly see the error of their past ways. They were responding to
the heat and pressure generated by the international community after
President Bush's speech.
The United States has made it clear to our Security Council colleagues
that we will not fall for this ploy. This is the time to apply more
pressure, not to relent. We must not believe that inspectors going in
on the same conditions that caused their withdrawal four years ago is
in any way acceptable. These four years have been more than enough
time for Iraq to procure, develop, and hide proscribed items well
beyond the reach of the kinds of inspectors that were subject to
Saddam's cheat and retreat approach from 1991 to 1998.
The United States has determined that Iraq's obstruction of U.N.
Security Council resolutions and its gross violation of its
obligations cannot continue. In his speech to the General Assembly,
the President challenged the Security Council to live up to its
responsibilities. The U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan, said the
same thing. We, our closest allies, and our friends around the world
are prepared to do our part to enforce Security Council resolutions
and render harmless the Iraqi threat. We are discussing now the best
way to proceed with the other members of the Security Council and with
close friends. We are trying to find a solution.
If part of the solution involves an inspection regime, it must be a
regime that goes in with the authority of a new resolution that
removes the weaknesses of the present regime and which will not
tolerate any Iraqi disobedience. It cannot be a resolution that will
be negotiated with Iraq. The resolution must be strong enough and
comprehensive enough that it produces disarmament, not just
Many UN members, including some on the Security Council, want to take
Iraq at its word and send inspectors back in without any new
resolution or new authority. This is a recipe for failure.
The debate we have begun to have within the Council is on the need for
and the wording of a resolution. Our position is clear. We must face
the facts and find Iraq in material breach. Then, we must specify the
actions we demand of Iraq -- which President Bush has already shown
us. And we must determine what consequences will flow from Iraq's
failure to take action.
That is what makes this time different. This time, unlike any time
over the previous 12 years of Iraqi defiance, there must be hard
consequences. This time, Iraq must comply with the UN mandate or there
will be decisive action to compel compliance.
We will listen to other points of view and try to reach agreement
within the Council. It will be a difficult debate. We will also
preserve the President's ability to defend our nation and our
Some have suggested that there is a conflict in this approach, that
U.S. interests should be our total concern.
But Mr. Chairman, both of these issues are important. We are a member
of the U.N. Security Council. We are a member of the UN. It is a
multilateral institution whose resolutions have been violated. But the
United States, as a separate matter, believes that its interest is
threatened. We are trying to solve this problem through the United
Nations and in a multilateral way. The President took the case to the
UN because it is the body that should deal with such matters as Iraq.
It was created to deal with such matters. And President Bush is hoping
that the U.N. will act and act in a decisive way.
But at the same time, if the UN is not able to act and act decisively
-- and I think that would be a terrible indictment of the UN -- then
the United States will have to make its own decision as to whether the
danger posed by Iraq is such that we have to act in order to defend
our country and our interests.
And Mr. Chairman, our diplomatic efforts at the United Nations would
be helped by a strong Congressional resolution authorizing President
Bush to take action.
The President should be authorized to use all means he determines
appropriate, including military force, to enforce the UN Security
Council resolutions Iraq is defying, and to defend the United States
and its interests against the threat Iraq poses, and to restore
international peace and security to the region.
I ask for your immediate action on such a resolution to show the world
that we are united in this effort.
Mr. Chairman, my colleagues in the intelligence community and in the
Department of Defense are giving the Congress what it will need with
respect to intelligence on Iraq and on military contingency planning.
So I won't speak to those areas.
But let me say this about the Iraqi threat before I stop and allow the
greater part of this time for your important questions.
We can have debates about the size and nature of the Iraqi stockpile
of WMD and of mid- and long-range missiles. But no one can doubt the
record of Iraqi violations of United Nations Security Council
resolutions, one after another, and for 12 long years.
And no one can doubt that the Iraqi dictator's intentions have not
changed. He wants weapons of mass destruction as clearly as he wants
to remain in power.
These two realities stare us in the face and cannot -- must not -- be
Thank you and I'll stop there and take your questions.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

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