- (AFP) -- Saying "this is the guy who tried to kill
my dad," President George W. Bush embraced disarming and ousting Iraqi
leader Saddam Hussein as a "uniquely American issue."
- "Other countries of course, bear the same risk.
But there's no doubt his hatred is mainly directed at us," Bush said
at a political fundraiser here Friday. "After all, this is the guy
who tried to kill my dad."
- As Bush's father, former president George Bush, traveled
to Kuwait in April 1993, officials there disrupted a car-bomb plot they
said they traced back to Saddam. The plot was aimed at Kuwait's emir and
the former president, officials said.
- Then-US president Bill Clinton cited the plot as justification
for a June 1993 US missile attack on Baghdad's intelligence headquarters.
- Bush had also referred to that US charge in his September
12 address to the UN General Assembly, but had deliberately referred only
to "a former American president." Aides said Bush was taking
pains to avoid personalizing the issue.
- In his speech here, the US leader again said Washington
would act alone if the the world body failed to take strong action to strip
Saddam of any nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons.
- "If the United Nations won't act, if he doesn't
disarm, the United States will lead a coalition to make sure he does,"
the president said here. "It's an American issue, a uniquely American
- Bush, who has struggled to rally US allies in Europe
as well as Russia behind his hard-line stance on Iraq, said the September
11, 2001, terrorist strikes had made clear Saddam poses a special threat
to the United States.
- "I say uniquely American issue because I truly believe
that now that the war has changed, now that we are a battlefield this man
poses a much greater threat that anybody could possibly imagine,"
- The president frequently says he worries the Iraqi leader
will team up with terrorists and equip them with weapons of mass destruction
that could then be used to attack the United States or its interests abroad.
- Earlier, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the United
States has solid information about top-level contacts between al-Qaeda
militants and Iraq going back a decade, including possible chemical weapons
- Links between the terrorist group that carried out the
September 11, 2001, attacks and the Iraqi regime Bush wants to bring down
have intensified since 1998, Rumsfeld said.
- "We do have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq
of al-Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad," he
- "We have what we believe to be credible information
that Iraq and al-Qaeda have discussed safe-haven opportunities in Iraq
and reciprocal non-aggression discussions."
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