President Bush last night held his first primetime news conference in over a year and a half.
White House officials had billed the address as an important turning point in the War on Terror. But after only a brief reference to the captured alleged al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Bush turned his attention to Iraq.
He left no doubt the US will invade Iraq with or without Security Council backing. He claimed over and over that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is a direct threat to the American people.
Bush’s news conference came just hours before chief U.N. weapons inspectors deliver a report to the U.N. Security Council today. The report is expected to be positive. On Wednesday, Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix said for the first time that Iraq is engaging in "real disarmament."
But Bush tried to undermine the report before the inspectors could give it. Without offering any evidence, Bush claimed over and over that Iraq has not disarmed.
Bush also erased any doubt about whether the US will call a vote at the U.N. Security Council next week:
- President Bush, speaking to reporters last night.
The news conference came just one day after France, Russia and Germanydeclared they will block passage of any new Security Council resolution that paves the way for war. Yesterday China joined forces with the three, saying it sees "no new need for a new resolution."
- Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill reports from Baghdad.