Iraq Weapons Report
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KWAME HOLMAN: President Bush issued his first public comment on David Kay’s findings this morning to reporters on the White House lawn.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: The report states that Saddam Hussein’s regime had a clandestine network of biological laboratories, a live strain of deadly agent botulinum, sophisticated concealment efforts and advanced design work on prohibited longer-range missiles.
Extensive work remains to be done on his biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons programs. But these findings already make clear that Saddam Hussein actively deceived the international community, that Saddam Hussein was in clear violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, and that Saddam Hussein was a danger to the world.
REPORTER: There’s a poll out in which a lot of people today are wondering whether the war was really worth the cost. How do you respond to that, sir?
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah. I don’t make decisions based upon polls. I make decisions based upon what I think is important for the security of the American people. And I’m not going to forget the lessons of 9/11, September 2001. Sometimes the American people like the decisions I make, sometimes they don’t. But they need to know I’ll make tough decisions based upon what I think is right, given the intelligence I know in order to do my job, which is to the secure this country and to bring peace. Thank you all.
KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile at the Capitol, Democrats focused on the fact that David Kay had yet to find any weapons. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
REP. NANCY PELOSI: I want to make one distinction, and that is the distinction between having a weapon and having a weapons program. I mean, weapon program is an aspiration to want to get a weapon. It’s a big difference between that and actually achieving one. And I think what we’re seeing in Iraq is a big difference between the aspirations and the capability to achieve that. If he needs more resources and more time, I think he should have them. But I think that there should be a time when a decision is made that we’re not going to… we are or not going to find anything.
KWAME HOLMAN: And after hearing Kay’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning, Massachusetts’ Edward Kennedy said his doubts were confirmed.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY: All I can say is I didn’t believe there was an imminent threat to the United States when we went to war, and I’m more convinced now listening to him that there never was a threat either.
KWAME HOLMAN: And Kennedy objects to giving Kay the $600 million he says he needs to finish the job.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY: I think they ought to take 300 million and look after Osama bin Laden and the other three to focus on the North Korean nuclear development, the development of the nuclear weapons in North Korea is really an important threat to American security, and we ought to be focused and giving that life and attention. It seems to me to be higher priorities.
KWAME HOLMAN: David Kay says he expects to issue a final report on his search for weapons of mass destruction in the next six to nine months.