Accessibility links

Breaking News

U.S.: Bush Defends Iraq Decision

Washington, 14 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush says he remains convinced that Saddam Hussein was trying to develop weapons of mass destruction -- a major justification by his administration to go to war against Iraq. Bush spoke at the White House today following talks with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He said America "made the right decision" to oust Hussein's regime.

Bush also defended the quality of intelligence he receives as "darn good" despite an uproar over disputed reports that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa for nuclear weapons.

Earlier today, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush was not happy with the fact that this information made its way into a major presidential address earlier this year.

"I assure you the president [Bush] is not pleased. The president, of course, would not be pleased if he said something in the State of the Union that may or may not have been true and should not have risen to his level. There is no question about that. Everybody has acknowledged that," Fleischer said. The Bush administration said reporters are making too much of last week's acknowledgement that the allegation in Bush's State of the Union speech in January should not have been included in the address because it was not sufficiently substantiated.

The retraction further fueled criticism that Bush allegedly exaggerated intelligence to mislead the public into backing the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.