[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George W. Bush (2003, Book I)]
[March 1, 2003]
[Pages 234-236]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's Radio Address
March 1, 2003

    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 

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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 
    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 1 million 
people. We are moving into place nearly 3 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 
depends 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.

Note: The address was recorded at 10:04 a.m. on February 28 in the 
Cabinet Room at the White House for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on March 1. 
The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary 
on February 28 but was embargoed for release until the broadcast. In his 
remarks, the

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President referred to President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The Office of 
the Press Secretary also released a Spanish language transcript of this