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Bush Signs Iraq War Resolution
By JENNIFER LOVEN
Associated Press Writer
Wed, 16 Oct 2002 1:07 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) President Bush on Wednesday
signed Congress' war-making resolution and told wary world leaders to
"face up to our global responsibilities" to confront Saddam Hussein.
"Those who choose to live in denial may eventually be forced to live in
fear," Bush said as the United Nations began a bitter debate over his
plans to disarm and oust Saddam. "Every nation that shares in the
benefits of peace also shares in the duty of defending the peace."
With dozens of lawmakers from both parties on hand for the East Room
signing ceremony, Bush used his speech and Friday's strong
congressional vote to press the U.N. to adopt a new resolution
compelling Iraq to submit to unconditional weapons inspections.
"We will defend our nation and lead others in defending the peace," the
Though he said military action would be his last resort, Bush left
little room for Saddam to avoid confrontation. "Our goal is to fully
and finally remove a real threat to world peace and to America," he
The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday started its first day of open
debate on Iraq at the behest of the dozens of non-Security Council
nations who oppose an attack on Baghdad. The debate is mostly designed
to take the administration to task on its Iraq policies, and White
House officials expected sharp criticism throughout the day.
Even as Bush spoke, Russia's deputy foreign minister said the United
States' proposed resolution is unacceptable, while a two-step proposal
from France is closer to the Kremlin's stance. Both nations hold veto
power in Security Council.
"The American variant of the resolution on Iraq has not undergone
changes. It is unacceptable and Russia cannot support it," Yuri Fedotov
said, according to the news agency Interfax.
However, the French proposal contains "many positions that Russia
shares," Fedotov was quoted as saying.
As if in reply, Bush said, "The time has arrived once again for the
United Nations to live up to the purposes of its founding to protect
our common security. The time has arrived once again for free nations
to face up to our global responsibilities and confront a gathering
"They don't have forever and the president is mindful of that," White
House press secretary Ari Fleischer said.
Bush, who received a standing ovation as he signed the resolution from
the roughly 100 lawmakers in the audience, said: "This nation will not
live at the mercy of any foreign power or plot."
Flanked by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin
Powell, the president was joined on stage by 11 lawmakers, including
Sens. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., John McCain, R-Ariz., Joe Biden, D-Del.,
minority leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and John Warner, R-Va., and House
Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
Noticeably absent was Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., whose
granddaughter was born early Wednesday and had a schedule was packed
with legislative and political business.
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., who helped negotiate the
resolution and provided Bush with welcome Democratic support at a White
House appearance before the vote, also did not attend. Gephardt's
travel schedule kept him away, a day after he ratcheted up his strong
criticism of the Bush administration and Republicans on the economy.
Fleischer said both Democratic leaders had been invited, as had all
lawmakers who supported the resolution.
In a major victory for the president, weeks of back-and-forth between
Congress and the White House produced little significant change in
Bush's initial draft of the resolution. The measure giving Bush the
authority to use military force, if necessary, to rid Iraq of its
biological and chemical weapons and disband its nuclear weapons program
was approved Friday.
The resolution requires the president to notify Congress, before or
within 48 hours after an attack, that further diplomatic approaches
would not have protected U.S. security and to explain to Congress how
the military action will not hurt the war on terror. But it allows Bush
to take unilateral action regardless of U.N. activities.
Just seven Republican lawmakers six in the House and one in the Senate
opposed the resolution, while nearly half the congressional Democrats
were unwilling to give Bush such open-ended war-making authority and
The resolution passed the House by a 296-133 margin and by a 77-23
margin in the Senate. But passage came with entreaties by lawmakers
from both parties for Bush to exhaust all diplomatic efforts before
using military force.
The Bush administration had hoped the congressional action would
fortify the U.S.- and British-backed effort at the United Nations.
France, Russia and China, the Security Council's other veto-capable
permanent members, remain opposed to a resolution authorizing military
action if it refuses to cooperate with inspectors. France has preferred
a separate resolution to be debated afterward.
In his speech, Bush spelled out several ways Saddam has avoided
compliance with U.N. resolutions on weapons of mass destruction and
made it clear his patience was running out.
"I have not ordered use of force. I hope the use of force will not
become necessary. Yet, confronting the threat posed by Iraq is
necessary by whatever means that requires," he said.
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