New York Times:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today that diplomacy might yet resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea, but he warned in stark terms that in the case of Iraq, all of the options except the use of force were nearly exhausted.
As American combat forces continued to flow into the Persian Gulf region and the United Nations debated Iraq, Mr. Rumsfeld said “it will not take months” to decide whether President Saddam Hussein is cooperating with weapons inspectors.
“In the case of Iraq, we’re nearing the end of the long road, and with every other option exhausted,” he said.
In making his case that the United States and “a coalition of the willing” must prepare for military action to disarm Iraq, should President Bush order the nation to war, he said the Hussein government had been stonewalling weapons inspectors.
“His regime has large, unaccounted-for stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons including VX, Sarin, mustard gas, anthrax, botulism and possibly smallpox,” Mr. Rumsfeld said in an address to the Reserve Officers Association here. “And he has an active program to acquire and develop nuclear weapons.”
He dismissed those who were demanding incontrovertible proof of Iraq’s arsenal of terror weapons.
President Bush said Tuesday it is clear that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is not disarming his nation and again warned that “time is running out.”
Bush repeated his threat to disarm Iraq with a “coalition of the willing” and compared Iraqi claims it has abandoned its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction to “a rerun of a bad movie.”
“He is delaying. He’s deceiving. He’s asking for time. He’s playing hide-and-seek with inspectors,” Bush said. “One thing is for certain, he’s not disarming. And so the United States of America, in the name of peace, will continue to insist he does disarm, and we will keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein.”
Bush did not address calls to give U.N. weapons inspectors more time to work, but said Iraq is giving the world community “the runaround.”
The president has threatened military action against Iraq if it refuses to abide by U.N. resolutions calling for it to disarm. Baghdad repeatedly has denied possessing chemical, nuclear or biological weapons.