(CNSNews.com) - President Bush on Thursday told the United Nations General Assembly that Iraq is building the case against itself, through deception, weapons stockpiling, and the flouting of clear U.N. mandates; and he said the United States will not stand by and wait for Saddam Hussein to strike.
"We cannot stand by and do nothing while danger is gathering," Bush said. "We must stand up for our security and the permanent rights and hopes of mankind.
"By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will make that stand; and delegates to the United Nations, you have the power to make that stand as well."
His speech was met with applause. Some commentators called it "extremely hawkish."
Bush began by laying out the case against Iraq - "exactly the kind of aggressive threat the United Nations was born to confront," he said.
Had the world not stopped Saddam's aggression in Kuwait 12 years ago, he would have threatened the peace and stability of the world. Now he is threatening that peace and stability by breaking every pledge he made to the United Nations.
"By his deceptions and his cruelties, Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself." Bush listed the various Security Council resolutions Saddam has ignored and violated.
Now Iraq threatens the world with weapons of mass destruction. It has the infrastructure necessary to do so, Bush said, adding, "Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year."
There's little doubt about Saddam Hussein's "continued appetite" for such weapons, Bush said.
"Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence," Bush said. "To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take."
We've tried sanctions, Bush said. We've tried oil for food; we've tried coalition air strikes. "But Saddam defies them all and continues to develop weapons of mass destruction."
Bush said the only way we can be sure Saddam has such weapons is when he actually uses one for the first time.
The U.N. risks irrelevancy by allowing its resolutions to be flouted, he warned. "And right now those resolutions are being unilaterally subverted by the Iraqi regime."
What Iraq must do
Bush also set out the steps that Iraq must take if it really wants peace.
He said it must immediately and unconditionally disclose and remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles, and related material. It must end all support for terrorism, and go even further, by acting to suppress terrorism; It must cease persecution of its civilian population; and it must release or account for all Gulf War personnel whose fate is still unknown.
"The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people," he said. "They suffered too long in quiet captivity." The people of Iraq deserve better leadership, he said, calling liberty for the Iraqi people "a great moral cause."