Returning to U.N. on Iraq

THE BALTIMORE SUN

When President Bush addressed the United Nations in New York yesterday, he sounded many of the same themes he did Sept. 12, 2002. A year ago, he was implicitly asking an antagonistic Security Council to support an invasion of Iraq. He was refused. Yesterday, he was asking a skeptical Security Council to support the rebuilding of Iraq. Here are excerpts from each of those speeches.

Compiled by Kathy Lally

Sept. 23, 2003

... Events during the past two years have set before us the clearest of divides: between those who seek order and those who spread chaos ... between those who honor the rights of man and those who deliberately take the lives of men and women and children without mercy or shame.

Between these alternatives there is no neutral ground. All governments that support terror are complicit in a war against civilization. ... And all nations that fight terror as if the lives of their own people depend on it will earn the favorable judgment of history.

The former regimes of Afghanistan and Iraq knew these alternatives and made their choices. ...

The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction. It used those weapons in acts of mass murder and refused to account for them when confronted by the world. ...

And because there were consequences, because a coalition of nations acted to defend the peace and the credibility of the United Nations, Iraq is free. ...

Across Iraq, life is being improved by liberty. Across the Middle East, people are safer because an unstable aggressor has been removed from power. Across the world, nations are more secure because an ally of terror has fallen. ...

Our coalition has made sure that Iraq's former dictator will never again use weapons of mass destruction. ...

And at the same time, our coalition is helping to improve the daily lives of the Iraqi people. ...

Success of a free Iraq will be watched and noted throughout the region. Millions will see that freedom, equality and material progress are possible at the heart of the Middle East. Leaders in the region will face the clearest evidence that free institutions and open societies are the only path to long-term national success and dignity.

And a transformed Middle East would benefit the entire world by undermining the ideologies that export violence to other lands.

Iraq, as a dictatorship, had great power to destabilize the Middle East. Iraq, as a democracy, will have great power to inspire the Middle East.

The advance of democratic institutions in Iraq is setting an example that others, including the Palestinian people, would be wise to follow. The Palestinian cause is betrayed by leaders who cling to power by feeding old hatreds and destroying the good work of others. The Palestinian people deserve their own state, and they will gain that state by embracing new leaders committed to reform, to fighting terror and to building peace.

All parties in the Middle East must meet their responsibilities. ... Israel must work to create the conditions that will allow a peaceful Palestinian state to emerge, and Arab nations must cut off funding and other support for terrorist organizations. ...

A second challenge we must confront together is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Outlaw regimes that possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the means to deliver them would be able to use blackmail and create chaos in entire regions. These weapons could be used by terrorists to bring sudden disaster and suffering on a scale we can scarcely imagine.

The deadly combination of outlaw regimes and terror networks and weapons of mass murder is a peril that cannot be ignored or wished away. If such a danger is allowed to fully materialize, all words, all protests will come too late. ...

The founding documents of the United Nations and the founding documents of America stand in the same tradition. ...

Both recognize a moral law that stands above men and nations which must be defended and enforced by men and nations.

Sept. 12, 2002

... Above all, our principles and our security are challenged today by outlaw groups and regimes that accept no law of morality and have no limit to their violent ambitions. In the attacks on America a year ago, we saw the destructive intentions of our enemies. ...

In cells and camps, terrorists are plotting further destruction and building new bases for their war against civilization. And our greatest fear is that terrorists will find a shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies them with the technologies to kill on a massive scale.

In one place - in one regime - we find all these dangers, in their most lethal and aggressive forms ... exactly the kind of aggressive threat the United Nations was born to confront. ...

By breaking every pledge - by his deceptions, and by his cruelties - Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself. ...

We have been more than patient. We have tried sanctions. We have tried the carrot of "oil for food" and the stick of coalition military strikes. But Saddam Hussein has defied all these efforts and continues to develop weapons of mass destruction. The first time we may be completely certain he has nuclear weapons is when, God forbid, he uses one. We owe it to all our citizens to do everything in our power to prevent that day from coming.

The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of U.N. demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. ...

The United States helped found the United Nations. We want the U.N. to be effective and respected and successful. We want the resolutions of the world's most important multilateral body to be enforced. Right now these resolutions are being unilaterally subverted by the Iraqi regime. Our partnership of nations can meet the test before us, by making clear what we now expect of the Iraqi regime. ...

We can harbor no illusions. Saddam Hussein attacked Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. He has fired ballistic missiles at Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel. His regime once ordered the killing of every person between the ages of 15 and 70 in certain Kurdish villages in Northern Iraq. He has gassed many Iranians and 40 Iraqi villages. ...

Events can turn in one of two ways.

If we fail to act in the face of danger, the people of Iraq will continue to live in brutal submission. The regime will have new power to bully, dominate and conquer its neighbors, condemning the Middle East to more years of bloodshed and fear. ... With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of Sept. 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.

If we meet our responsibilities, if we overcome this danger, we can arrive at a very different future. The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, Inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world. ...

Neither of these outcomes is certain. Both have been set before us. We must choose between a world of fear and a world of progress. We cannot stand by and do nothing while dangers gather. We must stand up for our security, and for the permanent rights and hopes of mankind. By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will make that stand. Delegates to the United Nations, you have the power to make that stand as well.

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