Iraq

Bush says Iraqi people have suffered long enough

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By Alicia Langley, Washington File Staff Writer
Washington - President Bush said February 10 that if war does come to Iraq the United States will help Iraqi civilians with food, medicine and other supplies.

"Today peace is threatened," President Bush told an audience at the 2003 National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. "We face an outlaw regime in Iraq that hates our country," he warned. "Saddam Hussein has broken every promise to disarm," he said. "He has shown complete contempt for the international community."

The president said that Saddam Hussein is assembling military forces among civilian populations, in violation of the Geneva Convention, in order to blame coalition forces for any civilian casualties that would be caused by a war. "Saddam Hussein regards the Iraqi people as human shields, entirely expendable, when their suffering serves his purposes," said Bush.

The United States does not regard the Iraqi people as its enemy, he said. "America views the Iraqi people as human beings who have suffered long enough under this tyrant."

Meanwhile, in New York, the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations was announcing the news that a decision had been made to accept U-2 surveillance flights in all parts of Iraq. The use of the planes was a key demand of top weapons inspectors during talks in Baghdad last weekend.

But White House spokesman Scott McClellan, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on the way to Nashville, said, "A little bit here and a little bit there is not going to get it done for Saddam Hussein." Bush and members of his Cabinet have previously said Iraq's "game" is over.

(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)