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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 05:37 GMT 06:37 UK
Cheney urges action on Iraq
US Vice President Dick Cheney
Cheney's speech may signal a new US doctrine

United States Vice-President Dick Cheney has said that Iraq must never be allowed to threaten the US with weapons of mass destruction.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
US military fear Hussein may use chemical and biological weapons if attacked
In typically blunt language, Dick Cheney said in Washington that Iraq, under its leader Saddam Hussein, has gassed thousands of its citizens, and hates America and all it stands for.

And with particular reference to Iraq, he called for a careful, deliberate, and decisive response to what he described as the gathering danger of links between regimes and terrorist groups seeking such weapons.

Mr Cheney's speech was the latest in a series by top administration officials promoting what is emerging as a new doctrine of the Bush administration - that the US must be prepared to take pre-emptive action against new security threats.

It was a theme crystallised at the weekend in a speech by President Bush himself at the West Point military academy.

And it is a message that has been carried to America's Nato allies in Europe by the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

The key question is whether Mr Cheney's remarks are a sign that the administration is close to resolving its own internal debate over precisely when and how to confront Saddam Hussein, and whether that will involve a full-scale military assault.


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24 May 02 | Americas
23 May 02 | Europe
29 Apr 02 | Middle East
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