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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
Bush's UN speech: Has he got it right?
President George W. Bush has told the United Nations General Assembly that "action will be unavoidable" against Iraq, unless the UN enforces resolutions requiring Baghdad to disarm.

"If Iraq's regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately and decisively to hold Iraq to account," Bush said. "The purposes of the United States should not be doubted."

To back up the president's speech, the Bush administration released a 22-page document recording what it said was "Saddam Hussein's defiance of the United Nations".

Do you think Bush has made a case? Will the UN General Assembly be persuaded?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

His accusations were made without concrete evidence

Jennifer , USA
I thought Bush's speech was like they all are: ambiguous and shady. His accusations were made without concrete evidence and are simply meant to be inflammatory. We are not going after Saddam Hussein because of his human rights violations or because we desire others' freedom. There is only one thing the present American regime craves and that is oil.
Jennifer, USA

Thank God for world leaders who have taken such a stand against despotism in the past, and who are ready to take such stands against Saddam now! They should be supported and we should be alert to the real threats that are in our world and stop "sticking our heads in the sand."
Cathy, Montana, USA

Tall words! Bush has yet to provide solid and undeniable proof for his allegations.

I'm not a fan of George Bush, but his address to the UN was patent. Regardless of the United States ulterior motives, a stable and legitimate global governance is absolutely essential to the survival of civilization.
BT, Chicago, USA

I'm not sold on the legitimacy of Bush's reasons to attack Iraq

Adrian Mullane, Arlington, VA, USA
I'm not sold on the legitimacy of Bush's reasons to attack Iraq. Remember that when Saddam poisoned his own people it was during the time he was being supported by the US.
Adrian Mullane, Arlington, VA, USA

Very good speech, I'm sure all the usual people will disagree with what he says without even listening to what he has actually said, because of the blatant anti-Americanism these days. But people with minds and who are able to think for themselves will applaud what Bush and Blair are doing. Making it harder for terrorists to murder us!
Tom B, England

Good speech. Whether Bush is right or wrong, respect is certainly due for his determined and unwavering approach to this very tricky situation.
Al Smith, London, UK

Saddam should be accountable for his human rights violations

Jeremy, Dallas, Texas, USA
Do any of you really think Saddam is harmless? I have so much to say I can't even answer you all. Hypocrisy or not, Saddam should be accountable for his human rights violations and his defiance of the UN. What is the UN for if not to prevent WWIII? Bush shouldn't go it alone, but the UN needs to step up and do it right.
Jeremy, Dallas, Texas, USA

Regardless of your viewpoint on the topic of Iraq, this was an excellent speech. Bush outlined in detail how Iraq was violating its commitments to the UN and then challenged the UN to act. There is a valid argument as to the relevance of the UN when its resolutions are ignored and Bush put that to the UN. Bush has all but forced the UN to take some sort of action by challenging the body's credibility. A sound political strategy.
Tom, London, UK

Should the UN fail to enforce its own resolutions, then what good is it? The USA should leave the United Nations, keep our tax dollars at home, and defeat Hussein anyway!
David, USA

Can somebody explain how killing thousands of Iraqis and reducing their country to rubble will improve their lot? Will it not simply provide another source of willing terrorists?
Cliff White, Oxford, UK

Can someone please put George back in his play pen

Phil, USA
Can someone please put George back in his play pen? If we went to war with every nation that is in violation of UN resolutions and developing Weapons of Mass Destruction, we would have to bomb everyone from Israel, to China and probably ourselves.
Phil, USA

Bush made an excellent point, the UN passed those resolutions on Iraq. Failure not by the US, but by the UN to enforce them will set a bad precedent and make them no more valuable than the papers on which they were written.
Egya Jallow, Reading, UK

Bush made a very strong case against Iraq which you can't take apart, unless you don't want to face reality!
Leon, Moscow, Russia

Bush seems to think that he can demand everything without giving something in return. There are many millions still waiting for the US to comply with both Kyoto and the Johannesburg agreements. When they do comply they will then be considered to be able to take a major part in other world affairs.
Brian Pope, Cinderford, UK

I cannot believe people are still prevaricating

Mark Russell, Bristol, UK
I cannot believe people are still prevaricating over this. Saddam has shown before that he doesn't give a stuff about UN resolutions. The only language he understands is that of force, which he regularly uses against his own people. Now it's time for him to have some of his own medicine once and for all.
Mark Russell, Bristol, UK

I thought the point about oppressing minorities was interesting. After all, isn't homosexuality outlawed in 39 US states?
Owen Killmister, London, UK

When Bush deals with the issue of Israel's flagrant breach of numerous UN resolutions, its possession of weapons of mass destruction, and its current brutal occupation of the west bank and Gaza then - and only then - should his views be treated with any sort of respect.
Ally, Glasgow, Scotland

How serious can you take a United Nations, which does not enforce their own resolutions? Tired of the games. I am with the "cowboy".
Bob, Warwick, US

In spite of my reservations about the US going after Iraq alone, President Bush has made an extremely compelling argument that the time has come for action.
Martin Gawne, Chicago, USA

Saddam cannot be trusted

Reg Danford-Cordingley, Toronto, Canada
How can we forget that this is a man who has invaded two countries, caused over a million deaths and used poison gas against his own citizens? He cannot be trusted. I do not want the world to decide that Iraq is not a liberal democracy and is a threat to world peace, after Saddam Hussein has caused millions more deaths!
Reg Danford-Cordingley, Toronto, Canada

Iraq has been left to its own devices for too long now - we should have dealt with Saddam there and then in 1991, instead the UN dithered. It has no more backbone than the League of Nations before it, and is only any use as a humanitarian organisation - but that still does not give the US the right to speak for the whole world!
MIke, Norwich, Norfolk

His speech did not convince anybody

Adam Jama, Minnesota, USA
George W. Bush never seems to realise that the whole world will not jump when he sneezes. He is a naive, arrogant man that sees every thing in black and white. His speech did not convince anybody; it only proved his unilateral attitude of "me against the world".
Adam Jama, Minnesota, USA

Bush's speech is fire for the Arab world. He insists on enforcing UN resolution vigorously against Iraq but not others. He will lose all his credibility in the region and the split between the Muslim world and the US will become bigger.
Thomas Green, London

I never thought I would admire a Bush speech, but this won me over

Jacky, UK
I never thought I would admire a Bush speech, but this won me over. Utterly convincing, there is no choice but to stop Saddam Hussein. I just wish the same enforcement of complying with UN resolutions would also be made to apply to Israel, else this is double standards.
Jacky, UK

When will the US learn that killing people isn't the way to save them?
Bilen, England

Doing nothing about Iraq is not an option. The people opposed to war are akin to those who thought Hitler was a decent chap!
Dave Harris, London, UK

If the US attacks Iraq because it is breaking UN resolutions, maybe other countries should also be attacked. What we are about to witness is double standards across the world. At the end of the day it is all about oil and self interests.

Bush is only one in this conflict that seems to be trigger-happy

Michael Ruggiero, NYC, USA
Why doesn't Bush make a good example by having the US stop producing weapons of mass destruction first? Right now, Bush is only one in this conflict that seems to be trigger-happy.
Michael Ruggiero, NYC, USA

If the UN members want to prevent a member state from enforcing the UN's own resolutions, they might as well disband the whole thing and toss it into the dustbin of history with the League of Nations.
Ruprecht, USA

I feel Bush made a strong point for action towards Iraq. Iraq has stalled long enough, the UN needs to ACT now.
Chuck, New York, USA

Is Mr Bush seriously proposing that countries are entitled to attack countries whose governments they oppose? Surely that argument would justify an attack by Saddam on Israel or indeed the USA?
AH, Edinburgh, UK

I think that President Bush hit the nail on the head

Todd Smith, San Diego, US
I think that President Bush hit the nail on the head in his speech. He stated clearly that the US would not stand idly by whilst the UN fails to enforce their own mandates. If the UN won't back the resolutions then we Americans will deal with it on our own.
Todd Smith, San Diego, U.S.A.

When in history has war been waged against a sovereign nation because of its potential, as opposed to actual, actions?
Don Leyton,

I'm surprised at how clear the speech was. He made some points that may not be his real reasons for wanting to attack, but are important and worthy of consideration by the UN. If the Americans were to attack because of oil prices, etc but managed to alleviate the suffering of the people and bring democracy to Iraq in the process, would they necessarily have done a bad thing?
James Bligh, Leicester

What is the benefit of killing innocent people?

Raj, London
There is nothing new in his speech which makes one believe that a war is inevitable. Just think of the thousands of Iraqi people who will die if it were to be bombed. It will be no different to 11 September. What is the benefit of killing innocent people?
Raj, London

I thought 'cases' were made on things like 'evidence'. Going to produce any, George? I don't admire Saddam, but I deplore equally America's and Britain's belief that it has the right to squash any regime it disapproves of. If this is a 'world issue', how come it is only these two countries clamouring for an attack on Iraq?
Jim, UK

A very well crafted speech

Hugh, London, UK
A very well crafted speech. He argued the case against Saddam Hussein not only from a US stand point, but from the UN's. I have listened to almost all the speeches he has made and this one was brilliant. Well done. Now let's see and hope that the UN grows teeth and rids us of this modern day Hitler.
Hugh, London, UK

If President Bush is so keen to stop countries with nukes from attacking each other, why is he not planning on attacking India and Pakistan? Could it be that India and Pakistan don't have a lot of oil under them?
John Imrie, Howden UK

I think the US/UK are spot on regarding Iraq. Are people really so naive as to think that talking to Saddam will really achieve anything? Saddam is evil, his people cannot stand up to him, and he needs to be brought under some sort of control. The Arab world will be better without him.
Steve T, Portsmouth, England

The UN has been completely ineffectual

Nate Barker, Wichita USA
Bush made a case that shouldn't have needed making. Most of the reasons to go after Iraq, as enumerated by President Bush, are well known to everyone. The UN has been completely ineffectual and at times counter-productive in this issue.
Nate Barker, Wichita USA

Well done Bush. He laid it out at the UN's feet. Time after time the UN has failed to act on anything at all, he made it clear that talk is cheap and that faith in the UN is on the wane. Why wait for the first bomb to drop? He made it clear that if the UN fails yet again to do anything then someone has to step forward and take action. There have been 10 years of talk from the UN with absolutely nothing done.
Fraser Heath, Aberdeen, UK

Mr Bush, in one of his most convincing speeches, laid out a serious case for action against the Iraqi regime. The world, and particularly the UN Security Council, will be hard pressed to deny its own inadvertent weakness for the last 10 years. Should the UN not act now, it will only diminish its own relevance in the world.
John, Washington, DC , USA

Total hypocrisy by the U.S government

R M R Woodward, Milton Keynes, UK
Total hypocrisy by the US government. Their "friends" have nuclear and biological weapons, and one at least of these has invaded its neighbour contrary to the UN charter. Mr Mandela has it right, it's about oil and arms sales.
R M R Woodward, Milton Keynes, UK

Mr. Bush continues to rehash the same tired claims without offering anything new or concrete. Like his father before him he has assembled an impressive international coalition united in cause. Unfortunately for Bush junior, his coalition is united in the cause of doubting his judgement.
Peter Nelson, Boston, USA

He must be stopped now

Tim Floyd, UK
To all you out there who have forgotten. Saddam Hussein used mustard gas on his own people and Iranian troops. Can anyone doubt this man will be a grave danger to the world with a nuclear weapon? It is not a question "if" he will get one but "when". He must be stopped now.
Tim Floyd, UK

If Bush doesn't get UN approval but goes ahead and attacks Iraq anyway, will he be liable to war crimes prosecution?

Well crafted and well delivered speech. George surprised me.
Brian Blake, USA

Key stories





Bush's UN speech: Has he got it right?



23362 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

11 Sep 02 | Middle East
11 Sep 02 | Americas
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