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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)







Office of the Press Secretary



The President's Address to the Nation

Good evening. I have asked for this time to keep you informed of America's

actions in the war on terror.

Nearly two years ago, following deadly attacks on our country, we began a

systematic campaign against terrorism. These months have been a time of new

responsibilities, and sacrifice, and national resolve, and great progress.

America and a broad coalition acted first in Afghanistan, by destroying the

training camps of terror, and removing the regime that harbored al-Qaida. In a

series of raids and actions around the world, nearly two-thirds of al-Qaida's

known leaders have been captured or killed, and we continue on al-Qaida's trail.

We have exposed terrorist front groups, seized terrorist accounts, taken new

measures to protect our homeland, and uncovered sleeper cells inside the United

States. And we acted in Iraq, where the former regime sponsored terror,

possessed and used weapons of mass destruction, and for 12 years defied the

clear demands of the United Nations Security Council. Our coalition enforced

these international demands in one of the swiftest and most humane military

campaigns in history.

For a generation leading up to September 11th, 2001, terrorists and their

radical allies attacked innocent people in the Middle East and beyond, without

facing a sustained and serious response. The terrorists became convinced that

free nations were decadent and weak. And they grew bolder, believing that

history was on their side. Since America put out the fires of September 11th,

and mourned our dead, and went to war, history has taken a different turn. We

have carried the fight to the enemy. We are rolling back the terrorist threat

to civilization, not on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its


This work continues. In Iraq, we are helping the longsuffering people of

that country to build a decent and democratic society at the center of the

Middle East. Together we are transforming a place of torture chambers and mass

graves into a nation of laws and free institutions. This undertaking is

difficult and costly - yet worthy of our country, and critical to our security.

The Middle East will either become a place of progress and peace, or it

will be an exporter of violence and terror that takes more lives in America and

in other free nations. The triumph of democracy and tolerance in Iraq, in

Afghanistan, and beyond would be a grave setback for international terrorism.

The terrorists thrive on the support of tyrants and on the resentments of

oppressed peoples. When tyrants fall, and resentment gives way to hope, men and

women in every culture reject the ideologies of terror, and turn to the pursuits

of peace. Everywhere that freedom takes hold, terror will retreat.

Our enemies understand this. They know that a free Iraq will be free of

them ? free of assassins, and torturers, and secret police. They know that as

democracy rises in Iraq, all of their hateful ambitions will fall like the

statues of the former dictator. And that is why, five months after we liberated

Iraq, a collection of killers is desperately trying to undermine Iraq's progress

and throw the country into chaos.

Some of the attackers are former members of the old Saddam regime, who fled

the battlefield and now fight in the shadows. Some of the attackers are foreign

terrorists, who have come to Iraq to pursue their war on America and other free

nations. We cannot be certain to what extent these groups work together. We do

know they have a common goal ? reclaiming Iraq for tyranny.

Most, but not all, of these killers operate in one area of the country.

The attacks you have heard and read about in the last few weeks have occurred

predominantly in the central region of Iraq, between Baghdad and Tikrit ? Saddam

Hussein's former stronghold. The North of Iraq is generally stable and is

moving forward with reconstruction and self-government. The same trends are

evident in the South, despite recent attacks by terrorist groups.

Though their attacks are localized, the terrorists and Saddam loyalists

have done great harm. They have ambushed American and British service members ?

who stand for freedom and order. They have killed civilian aid workers of the

United Nations ? who represent the compassion and generosity of the world. They

have bombed the Jordanian embassy ? the symbol of a peaceful Arab country. And

last week they murdered a respected cleric and over a hundred Muslims at prayer

? bombing a holy shrine and a symbol of Islam's peaceful teachings.

This violence is directed, not only against our coalition, but against

anyone in Iraq who stands for decency, and freedom, and progress.

There is more at work in these attacks than blind rage. The terrorists

have a strategic goal. They want us to leave Iraq before our work is done.

They want to shake the will of the civilized world. In the past, the terrorists

have cited the examples of Beirut and Somalia, claiming that if you inflict harm

on Americans, we will run from a challenge. In this, they are mistaken.

Two years ago, I told the Congress and the country that the war on terror

would be a lengthy war, a different kind of war, fought on many fronts in many

places. Iraq is now the central front. Enemies of freedom are making a

desperate stand there ? and there they must be defeated. This will take time,

and require sacrifice. Yet we will do what is necessary, we will spend what is

necessary, to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote

freedom, and to make our own Nation more secure.

America has done this kind of work before. Following World War II, we

lifted up the defeated nations of Japan and Germany, and stood with them as they

built representative governments. We committed years and resources to this

cause. And that effort has been repaid many times over in three generations of

friendship and peace. America today accepts the challenge of helping the Iraqi

people in the same spirit ? for their sake, and our own.

Our strategy in Iraq has three objectives ? destroying the terrorists ?

enlisting the support of other nations for a free Iraq ? and helping Iraqis

assume responsibility for their own defense and their own future.

First, we are taking direct action against the terrorists in the Iraqi

theater, which is the surest way to prevent future attacks on coalition forces

and the Iraqi people. We are staying on the offensive, with a series of precise

strikes against enemy targets increasingly guided by intelligence given to us by

Iraqi citizens. Since the end of major combat operations, we have conducted

raids seizing many caches of enemy weapons and massive amounts of ammunition,

and we have captured or killed hundreds of Saddam loyalists and terrorists. So

far, of the 55 most wanted former Iraqi leaders, 42 are dead or in custody. We

are sending a clear message: Anyone who seeks to harm our soldiers can know

that our soldiers are hunting for them.

Second, we are committed to expanding international cooperation in the

reconstruction and security of Iraq, just as we are in Afghanistan. Our

military commanders in Iraq advise me that the current number of American troops

? nearly 130,000 ? is appropriate to their mission. They are joined by over

20,000 service members from 29 other countries. Two multinational divisions,

led by the British and the Poles, are serving alongside our forces ? and in

order to share the burden more broadly, our commanders have requested a third

multinational division to serve in Iraq.

Some countries have requested an explicit authorization of the United

Nations Security Council before committing troops to Iraq. I have directed

Secretary of State Colin Powell to introduce a new Security Council resolution,

which would authorize the creation of a multinational force in Iraq, led by


I recognize that not all of our friends agreed with our decision to enforce

the Security Council resolutions and remove Saddam Hussein from power. Yet we

cannot let past differences interfere with present duties. Terrorists in Iraq

have attacked representatives of the civilized world, and opposing them must be

the cause of the civilized world. Members of the United Nations now have an

opportunity, and the responsibility, to assume a broader role in assuring that

Iraq becomes a free and democratic nation.

Third, we are encouraging the orderly transfer of sovereignty and authority

to the Iraqi people. Our coalition came to Iraq as liberators and we will

depart as liberators. Right now Iraq has its own Governing Council, comprised

of 25 leaders representing Iraq's diverse people. The Governing Council

recently appointed cabinet ministers to run government departments. Already

more than 90 percent of towns and cities have functioning local governments,

which are restoring basic services. We are helping to train civil defense

forces to keep order ? and an Iraqi police service to enforce the law ? and a

facilities protection service ? and Iraqi border guards to help secure the

borders ? and a new Iraqi army. In all these roles, there are now some 60,000

Iraqi citizens under arms, defending the security of their own country ? and we

are accelerating the training of more.

Iraq is ready to take the next steps toward self-government. The Security

Council resolution we introduce will encourage Iraq's Governing Council to

submit a plan and a timetable for the drafting of a constitution, and for free

elections. From the outset, I have expressed confidence in the ability of the

Iraqi people to govern themselves. Now they must rise to the responsibilities

of a free people and secure the blessings of their own liberty.

Our strategy in Iraq will require new resources. We have conducted a

thorough assessment of our military and reconstruction needs in Iraq, and also

in Afghanistan. I will soon submit to Congress a request for 87 billion

dollars. The request will cover ongoing military and intelligence operations in

Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, which we expect will cost 66 billion dollars

over the next year. This budget request will support our commitment to helping

the Iraqi and Afghan people rebuild their own nations, after decades of

oppression and mismanagement. We will provide funds to help them improve

security. And we will help them to restore basic services, such as electricity

and water, and to build new schools, roads, and medical clinics. This effort is

essential to the stability of those nations, and therefore to our own security.

Now and in the future, we will support our troops and we will keep our word to

the more than 50 million people of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Later this month, Secretary Powell will meet with representatives of many

nations to discuss their financial contributions to the reconstruction of

Afghanistan. Next month, he will hold a similar funding conference for the

reconstruction of Iraq. Europe, Japan, and states in the Middle East all will

benefit from the success of freedom in these two countries, and they should

contribute to that success.

The people of Iraq are emerging from a long trial. For them, there will be

no going back to the days of the dictator ? to the miseries and humiliation he

inflicted on that good country. For the Middle East and the world, there will

be no going back to the days of fear ? when a brutal and aggressive tyrant

possessed terrible weapons. And for America, there will be no going back to the

era before September 11th, 2001 ? to false comfort in a dangerous world. We

have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength ? they

are invited by the perception of weakness. And the surest way to avoid attacks

on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans. We are

fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today, so that we do not meet him

again on our own streets, in our own cities.

The heaviest burdens in our war on terror fall, as always, on the men and

women of our Armed Forces and our intelligence services. They have removed

gathering threats to America and our friends, and this Nation takes great pride

in their incredible achievements. We are grateful for their skill and courage,

and for their acts of decency, which have shown America's character to the

world. We honor the sacrifice of their families. And we mourn every American

who has died so bravely, and so far from home.

The Americans who assume great risks overseas understand the great cause

they are in. Not long ago I received a letter from a Captain in the Third

Infantry Division in Baghdad. He wrote about his pride in serving a just cause,

and about the deep desire of Iraqis for liberty. "I see it," he said, "in the

eyes of a hungry people every day here. They are starved for freedom and

opportunity." And he concluded, "I just thought you'd like a note from the

'front lines of freedom.'" That Army captain, and all of our men and women

serving in the war on terror, are on the front lines of freedom. And I want

each of them to know: Your country thanks you, and your country supports you.

Fellow citizens: We have been tested these past 24 months, and the dangers

have not passed. Yet Americans are responding with courage and confidence. We

accept the duties of our generation. We are active and resolute in our own

defense. We are serving in freedom's cause ? and that is the cause of all


Thank you, and good night.

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