Washington, Feb. 8 (Reuters): US President George W. Bush braced the nation today for a possible war with Iraq, saying it must be prepared to act if the UN Security Council backs down.
“The US, along with a growing coalition of nations, will take whatever action is necessary to defend ourselves and disarm the Iraqi regime,” Bush said in his weekly radio address. Also today, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan warned Washington against attacking Iraq on its own, arguing action under a UN umbrella would have greater legitimacy and be more likely to succeed.
The comments came one day after the administration ordered a fifth aircraft carrier to the Gulf region, where more than 110,000 US troops have already gathered. Citing evidence presented to the UN by secretary of state Colin Powell, Bush said Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has never accounted for a vast arsenal of deadly biological and chemical weapons, and was pursuing an “elaborate campaign” to conceal them from UN inspectors.