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Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Some quotes from the press conference given as part of the Blair-Bush Project on January 31:

Q One question for you both. Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?

THE PRESIDENT: I can't make that claim.

THE PRIME MINISTER: That answers your question. The one thing I would say, however, is I've absolutely no doubt at all that unless we deal with both of these threats, they will come together in a deadly form. Because, you know, what do we know after September the 11th? We know that these terrorists networks would use any means they can to cause maximum death and destruction. And we know also that they will do whatever they can to acquire the most deadly weaponry they can. And that's why it's important to deal with these issues together.

Q Mr. President and Prime Minister, if I could, sir, the arms inspectors made their report on Monday this week. You've both made clear that it's a question of weeks, not months. And here we are at the end of the week and the Iraqis are suddenly inviting the arms inspectors back to Baghdad for further consultations. Could I ask both of you what you make of that?

THE PRESIDENT: Let's see if I can be polite. Saddam Hussein has had 12 years to learn how to deceive, and I would view this as more deception on his part. He expects to be able to convince 108 inspectors that he is open-minded. The only way that he can show that he is truly a peaceful man is to not negotiate with inspectors, is not to string the inspectors along, but to disarm in front of inspectors. We know what a disarmed regime looks like. We know what it means to disarm. There's no negotiations. The idea of calling inspectors in to negotiate is a charade. If he is going to disarm, he must start disarming. That's the only thing he needs to talk to the inspectors about, is, here, I'm disarming.

Subtext for the highlighted sentences: "We know that it is impossible for a disarmed regime to disarm. That is why we are demanding it. You know we want a war. Do you think we would actually demand something from Saddam that he could actually do? Where's the war in that? Also: Saddam, al Qaeda, 9/11. I'll say it again: Saddam, al Qaeda, 9/11. There's your connection. All three together in a sentence. TWO sentences. Could it be any clearer? Thank you, and God Bless America."