| George W. Bush
Washington, April 5 (Reuters): US President George W. Bush said today the Iraq war has made clear that “free nations will not sit and wait” while enemies plot another September 11-style attack.
In his weekly radio address, Bush vowed that invasion forces will keep fighting until Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's government is gone, and said his loyalists will face war crimes charges.
“Village by village, city by city, liberation is coming,” he said.
“The people of Iraq have my pledge: Our fighting forces will press on until their oppressors are gone and their whole country is free,” said Bush, who plans to meet war ally British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday and Tuesday in Northern Ireland.
Bush said the Iraq war was part of a “great and just cause.” He has tried to link Iraq to al Qaida, blamed for the September 11, 2001, attacks, but no definitive proof has been established.
“Free nations will not sit and wait, leaving enemies to plot another September 11 — this time perhaps, with chemical, biological or nuclear terror,” Bush said.
“We’ll remove weapons of mass destruction from the hands of mass murderers. And by defending our own security, we are ridding the people of Iraq of one of the cruelest regimes on Earth. The US and our allies pledged to act if the dictator did not disarm. The regime in Iraq is now learning that we keep our word,” he said.
Bush has established a new American doctrine of pre-emptive action that asserts the US has the right to attack countries it deems a threat.
With US troops in control of Baghdad's airport, Bush pledged that “Saddam’s thugs” will face war crimes charges for their conduct during the war.
He accused them of shielding themselves with women and children, killing Iraqi citizens who welcome US and British forces, forcing some into battle by threatening to torture or kill their families, executing prisoners of war, waging attacks under a truce flag and concealing combat forces in civilian areas.
“In this war, the Iraqi regime is terrorising its own citizens, doing everything possible to maximise Iraqi civilian casualties, and then to exploit the deaths they have caused for propaganda.
“These are war criminals, and they’ll be treated as war criminals,” he said.
Bush met a number of Iraqi exiles at the White House yesterday and told them the US will help in a transition but that “the people of Iraq are perfectly capable of running Iraq.”