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Monday, 3 February, 2003, 09:02 GMT
State of the Union Address: Your reaction
George W Bush has articulated the US case against Iraq in his State of the Union speech - even though he did not declare war or set a timetable for it.
Mr Bush focused heavily on domestic issues in the annual address despite world attention on Iraq.
He told the American people that "this country has many challenges... we will confront them with focus, and clarity and courage".
But he also warned that "the dictator of Iraq is not disarming - to the contrary he is deceiving".
Democrats have been preparing to attack Mr Bush's handling of the economy in their response to the speech.
What do you think of President Bush's message? Is he striking the right balance between domestic and international issues? Can he rally the nation?
This Talking Point is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
I am not convinced at all by President Bush that Iraq is a threat to the United States or to Iraq's neighbours. Bush has continued to fail to prove in any way that Iraq is currently in possession of any "weapons of mass destruction" or that Iraq has the means to deploy them. The argument that we should strike Iraq because they "may" have some weapons of mass destruction is not enough justification for a war.
Hard evidence, proof of Iraq's guilt is needed and I don't see it forthcoming from the Bush administration. Most likely that proof doesn't even exist.
Dan, Seattle, USA
More lies and deceit in my view. If it's not Iraq, which the US supplied weapons to, it's the sorry policies which will do nothing to improve the American economy. It was rich when he called Saddam's regime "Hitlerian" when that of the Federal Government itself is pushing for an Orwellian society.
Truly President George Bush is the correct man for the time. As he said in his speech, he will not leave this situation for a future
president to (fix).He will not wait for Saddam to inflict his horrors on us at an hour of his choosing, but will act to remove the threat now and for future generations.
Soaring budget deficit, highest jobless rate in decades, tax cuts for the top one percent, and poor economy speaks for itself. President Bush is clearly not doing enough. The country cannot afford a long term war at this time, President should think again.
His speech was utterly predictable. Bush's hubris grows in the knowledge that the public will swallow was anything he says, like a herd of docile sheep. No president, save perhaps Reagan, has had an easier time selling what can only be described as the opposite of the truth. He sells empire with the rhetoric of freedom, tax cuts for the rich as economic recovery for working families, and a cleaner air through increased pollution.
Bush certainly has rallied the country in the war on terror. All Americans support taking whatever measures necessary to stop Al Qaeda and similar groups. What he has not done is rallied anyone against Iraq. Very few Americans want to embark on a war without justification and without allies, that can start a process that may destroy all international organization. I fear for the survival of a democratic United States and a democratic world. One of our best presidents, Woodrow Wilson, tried to make the world safe for democracy, and FDR and Truman continued the process - Bush seems to be doing everything he can to reverse their deeds.
Lydia, Wilmington, Delaware, USA
The American government's budget is running record deficits, but Bush wants to cut taxes. Our health system is disorderly and based on competition rather than co-operating or helping people, but let's subsidise businesses and let them work it out. Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and isn't afraid to use them so let's send hundreds of thousands of troops there.
What a genius. Of course when you initiate a large tax cut that will push your country even further into deficit you want to give it to those who "will actually spend it". The richest ten percent, not the average working or middle class family who take a good look at their car that no longer starts and their kids sneakers that are getting a bit tight and immediately go out and squirrel their new found wealth into off shore accounts.
I'm appalled to think that there are people in my generation who hide themselves under the blanket of peace and passivism for the wrong reasons. In reality, it's all about fear and not wanting to face YOUR responsibility. Stop living in idealistic ignorance. Yes, we must ask questions and keep our leaders in check - but we must never forget the past. Evil men will not be contained, they must be dealt with. That's history...read up...
This is terrible! We're going to drop over 800 cruise missiles on a city to remove one man from power? It seems to me that the West still seems to be of the same mindset it was centuries ago: if you're not a white Christian, you don't count as a human being. America is going the way of Rome, as our democracy crumbles and Herr Bush has the power to declare war on whomever he wishes.
Peter, New York, NY, USA
I remember the domino theory rhetoric of the Vietnam war ie after Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore would fall under the communist banner. It seems ludicrous now, but the same logic is being shown for Iraq. It seems that Iraq is now, at least partly, responsible for 9-11 and is strongly linked to al-Qaeda.
Bush was right on the money! Why should this man retain power? Because there are others out there like him? C'mon, people. He tortures innocent children in front of their parents and has gassed his OWN people! And, one more thing... we are a SOVEREIGN NATION. We do not need the approval of the French or the Germans to do what we think is right!
A Graves, Jacksonville, FL, USA
Nicholas, Copenhagen, Denmark
The growing rift between the perspective and self interest of the US on a vast range of issues including its most fundamental security needs and public opinion throughout much of the rest of the world, threatens an imminent breakdown of many of the institutions including the UN. The world is on the verge of a major change in the way nations deal with each other and what lies on the other side of that rift is a frightening unknown.
Rosemary Alabaster, Assisi, Italy
First it was "the weapons of mass destruction", then they talked about "active cooperation", and now "links with al-Qaeda". What next? Go on Bushmen, do your will. This is becoming more and more pathetic with every day passing. Hans Blix's failure proved that Tony Blair's "dossier on Saddam Hussein" was a bundle of lies, why should we trust Bush then? We are ruled by thugs and crooks like the Iraqi people. What makes it worse is the fact that we democratically elected them and they have no concern for the people's opinion! They need this war to jolt a stagnant economy and get it going.
The gauntlet has been thrown down to the appeasers in the UN: Germany and France ought not have a seat at the international table if they can't see that a tyrant using rape and acid baths to impose fear is a threat to humanity. This is Hitler reborn.
To Bryan, Michagan: If Germany and France aren't allowed to follow their hearts, but instead have to believe what America believes, that would make America a tyrant. American imposed economic sanctions on Iraq have killed more Iraqis (especially children) in the last 10 years than Saddam's butchers. Saddam is not Hitler and the repeated attempts to draw this comparison are over-simplistic propaganda.
The Iraqis say that their scientists won't speak to the inspectors without someone from the government present. Why? If there is nothing to reveal what does it matter? Bush is doubted by many, but before you repeat your doubts once more explain why Iraq acts the way it does. I think that Iraq should be attacked, and Bush is therefore doing the right thing.
I am not a fan of George W, although I can't help but believe that history repeats itself, and perhaps millions of lives would have been spared had there been a "pre-emptive strike" against Hitler. I believe there is information which will quiet the nay-sayers, but people must be protected. As for the UN, it is acting like so many dysfunctional families in the world - was there ever a time everyone agreed?
The effects of dictator Bush declaring war on Iraq will be a momentous catastrophe causing death and misery to millions of people particularly in the Third World, through economic genocide. Americans please liberate yourselves from this evil man!
Bush is a bully, just like Saddam. He should use diplomacy to win over the hearts and minds of the rest of the world. Instead he is turning people against America and the American way.
Dubya would be a lot more convincing if he learned to pronounce the word "nuclear". And no, there is not an alternate pronunciation. But yes, Saddam must go.
Steven Lind , USA
It is unfortunate that most of the American news media provides little information that will enable the US public to make an informed judgement about Iraq and the Middle East. Almost all in the US or elsewhere will agree that Saddam is evil. However, George Bush has tunnel vision, and his rhetoric does little to convince most people outside the US that it is time to go to war.
The usual dog and pony show with self endorsement for Congress.
Does Bush really believe that he will endorse and pass laws including limiting air pollution by 70% in 15 years? Surely his oil buddies won't like that - unless of course, they get their hands on the oil fields in Iraq as a trade-off?
P Dash, Tampa, Florida, USA
I find it sickening that Bush would even think about emphasising his meagre attempts at environmental conservation after he has shown us time and time again that he doesn't care the slightest bit about the health or future of the planet. Not to mention that his idea of economical policies will be at best catastrophic. I fear for the US and the rest of the world.
Bush proclaimed his super-imperialism boldly - restating his claim that his regime's authority is superior to the UN and international law and that he will aggressively attack any country he wants to. The rest of the world won't accept a self-proclaimed world emperor. The criminal invasion of Iraq will just be the first disaster in what will be a trying time for our planet.
It was a good speech. He put the economy first. And he put Saddam in a living coffin. Good riddance to Saddam and hello to a free Iraq.
President Bush almost ignores the domestic situation. When pressed he throws out tax cuts (this time to the rich). Will giving a supply side tax cut increase consumer confidence? He better hope so. As for Iraq I will reserve judgement until he releases that extra evidence. The world would be better off without Hussein and his government, but that is not sufficient reason to risk our troops and the goodwill of our allies.
What frightens me is the total disregard Bush and his cabinet seem to have for the general public in US, UK and above all Iraq. He talks of a strike of "800 cruise missiles in two days" which leads me to believe he wants to wipe out Baghdad. I have no idea of the population there, but collateral damage or innocent victims would probably be in the tens of thousands.
If he does this he sows resentment and hatred through the world, not just in Muslim states, and will probably trigger off a firestorm of terrorist attacks throughout the world.
My father lives in London. I do not want him to also become an innocent victim.
President Bush presented no evidence and his word are flat-out lies. We do not want war and we need to demonstrate that to a war-hungry president.
Outstanding. Straight to the point. It proves President Bush cares about people. Education, economy, world peace. Wow, what a great man. Nobel peace prize here he comes.
President Bush is right to take this fight to Saddam's doorstep before he has a chance to bring it back to ours. There will be a moonless night on Sunday, 2 March . I predict coalition forces will begin their attack on that night unless Saddam comes clean. To my many friends serving in the US Armed Forces, I say: Pour it on!
Seldom has one heard a more cogent summation of the challenges and responsibilities facing the United States of America. While "going-it-alone" was described as the least desirable of the possibilities, it was not ruled out, to eliminate the threat of terrorism both within and without of Iraq. A powerful statement to Saddam and the world.
Mr. Bush's "evidence" of a connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein was flimsy, based on the secret testimony of capture al-Qaeda suspects, and undisclosed "monitoring" sources. This is certainly no evidence to support war.
After the emotion of the next 24 hours, a majority of Americans will still demand the support of the Security Council and the UN. They will not support a unilateral approach to Iraq and will punish the President severely if anything goes wrong when he implements it. The only leader many of us Americans trust on Iraq is Tony Blair but we worry he is trying too hard to please Bush.
Let him speak for himself and the UK first. Here in Idaho, the real cowboys object to Europeans comparing our President to their honoured profession. Cowboys take no risks they can avoid. Call him instead a "Mississippi Riverboat Gambler", a man who never saw a risk that wasn't worth taking. That is what really is beginning to scare Americans.
I wait to see how much of what he says is true, and how much is just more rhetoric.
The president claims a connection between the religious terrorists and the secular Saddam, due to the results of interrogations of a
senior terrorist operative. Is it plausible that the religious terrorist, with no love for the secular Saddam, and wishing to stir things up as much as possible, just might tell his interrogators the information he knows will lead them against another devil?
I don't believe there is a balance, there is never a balance between war and peace. On the domestic front I believe the American people are hurting a lot. If he feels that much about liberating people his comments should have also reflected more of the pain the Palestinian people are feeling. I'm not sure if this speech will rally the nation - but a call for war is never positive.
I just want to know President Bush, are you going to back the words he had spoken tonight or be a coward and let your critics win?
I think the nation is already rallied behind the president, and has been rallied since 11 September. I'm from a small town in the Midwest, there are very few peace rallies outside the big cities on the coasts. I have a nephew at West Point, another is a Navy flyer in California, nobody wants to see war - but it was declared on us. I have four young sons, and I want to see this threat ended before they are of age to die for their country. The president gave a plain and clear speech about what we have to do.
After a long time we have seen Bush on the defensive. Defensive because his ideas on economy and Iraq are gradually becoming a hard sell with the American people. To me he seems like a swimmer trying to stay afloat in an vortex. We have to wait and see how he will fight to stay afloat.
From someone who works in NYC and whose father-in-law was within two blocks of the falling towers on 9/11, I understand the fear of another large terrorist attack on the US. But will it come in the form of materials that originated in Iraq? If someone wants to use biological or chemical weapons against the US, there are plenty of other countries in the region that would happily provide them. And it doesn't take WMD to cause chaos in a large city.
Saddam has these weapons to protect himself and stay in power. But I doubt the inspectors will find much evidence of them. Does that mean the Saddam is a current threat to the US? There is a larger issue here that can't be ignored. The world needs to understand that in the future, conventional war as we know it will not exist. Terrorist attacks will increase in quantity and severity and we as a world need to act on solving this issue.
Bush wants tax cuts for the rich for the next 10 years and to fund those cuts he wants to weaken environmental protection laws and have welfare reform. He has mentioned signing a bill banning late term abortion. How does this guy expect to drum up support for Iraq from allies when he wants to bring us all back to the 1950s?
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