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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 October, 2004, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
In quotes: US policy on Iraq
The following are comments by key figures in the United States on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and its relationship to al-Qaeda, before and after war began on 20 March 2003.

Iraq's alleged resumption of WMD programmes was singled out as the main reason for going to war while the Bush administration also made much of Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to the Islamist militants behind 9/11.


President George W Bush:

State of the Union address, 29 January 2003:
Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein faced the prospect of being the last casualty in a war he had started and lost. To spare himself, he agreed to disarm of all weapons of mass destruction. For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement. He pursued chemical, biological and nuclear weapons even while inspectors were in his country...

Statement to UN, 7 February 2003:
The regime has never accounted for a vast arsenal of deadly biological and chemical weapons.

Speech to supporters in Oak Ridge, July 2004:
Although we have not found stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, we were right to go into Iraq...

We removed a declared enemy of America, who had the capability of producing weapons of mass destruction and could have passed that capability to terrorists bent on acquiring them....

In the world after 11 September, that was a risk we could not afford to take. We must confront serious dangers before they fully materialise.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

News conference, 12 March 2003:
He claims to have no chemical or biological weapons, yet we know he continues to hide biological and chemical weapons, moving them to different locations as often as every 12 to 24 hours, and placing them in residential neighbourhoods.

Report to US Senate Armed Services Committee, July 2003:
The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light - through the prism of our experience on 9/11.

Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, October 2004:
It turns out that we have not found weapons of mass destruction and why the intelligence proved wrong, I'm not in a position to say. I simply don't know. But the world is a lot better off with Saddam Hussein in jail...

David Kay, chief US arms investigator in Iraq:

BBC interview, October 2003:
We've found a strong body of evidence with regard to the intentions of Saddam Hussein to continue to attempt to acquire WMD... No one doubts that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction pre-1991. But 13 years of UN activity, including Dr Blix, was unable to confirm that the Iraqis had actually gotten rid of all those weapons as they claim.

US National Public Radio interview, 25 January 2004:
I don't think they [Iraqi WMD] exist... I actually think the intelligence community owes the president [an apology], rather than the president owing the American people.


President George W Bush

Speech in Cincinnati, October 2002:
We know that Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy - the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al-Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al-Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks.

We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after 11 September, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America...

Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.

News conference, June 2004:
The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al-Qaeda is because there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda...

This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al-Qaeda. We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

Vice-President Dick Cheney

Interview on CNBC, June 2004:
There clearly was a relationship. It's been testified to. The evidence is overwhelming...

It goes back to the early '90s. It involves a whole series of contacts, high-level contacts with Osama Bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence officials...

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

Pentagon news conference, September 2002:
We have what we consider to be very reliable reporting of senior level contacts going back a decade, and of possible chemical and biological agent training. And when I say contacts, I mean between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

We have what we believe to be credible information that Iraq and al Qaeda have discussed safe-haven opportunities in Iraq, reciprocal non-aggression discussions. We have what we consider to be credible evidence that al Qaeda leaders have sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire... weapons of mass destruction capabilities.

Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, 4 October 2004:
I have seen the answer to that question [the allegation of links between Iraq and al-Qaeda] migrate in the intelligence community over a period of a year in the most amazing way... To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two.

I just read an intelligence report recently about one person who's connected to al-Qaeda who was in and out of Iraq... It may have been something that was not representative of a hard linkage.

Statement on Pentagon website, 5 October 2004:
I have acknowledged since September 2002 that there were ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq... based upon points provided to me by then CIA Director, George Tenet...

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