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Statement by the President On Signing Iraq Res.

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 16, 2002

Statement by the President

Today I have signed into law H.J. Res. 114, a resolution "To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq." By passing H.J. Res. 114, the Congress has demonstrated that the United States speaks with one voice on the threat to international peace and security posed by Iraq. It has also clearly communicated to the international community, to the United Nations Security Council, and, above all, to Iraq's tyrannical regime a powerful and important message: the days of Iraq flouting the will of the world, brutalizing its own people, and terrorizing its neighbors must -- and will -- end. Iraq will either comply with all U.N. resolutions, rid itself of weapons of mass destruction, and in its support for terrorists, or it will be compelled to do so. I hope that Iraq will choose compliance and peace, and I believe passage of this resolution makes that choice more likely.

The debate over this resolution in the Congress was in the finest traditions of American democracy. There is no social or political force greater than a free people united in a common and compelling objective. It is for that reason that I sought an additional resolution of support from the Congress to use force against Iraq, should force become necessary. While I appreciate receiving that support, my request for it did not, and my signing this resolution does not, constitute any change in the long-standing positions of the executive branch on either the President's constitutional authority to use force to deter, prevent, or respond to aggression or other threats to U.S. interests or on the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution. On the important question of the threat posed by Iraq, however, the views and goals of the Congress, as expressed in H.J. Res. 114 and previous congressional resolutions and enactments, and those of the President are the same.

Throughout the past months, I have had extensive consultations with the Congress, and I look forward to con-tinuing close consultation in the months ahead. In addition, in accordance with section 4 of H.J. Res. 114, I intend to submit written reports to the Congress on matters relevant to this resolution every 60 days. To the extent possible, I intend to consolidate information in these reports with the information concerning Iraq submitted to the Congress pursuant to previous, related resolutions.

The United States is committed to a world in which the people of all nations can live in freedom, peace, and security. Enactment of H.J. Res. 114 is an important step on the road toward such a world.

October 16, 2002.

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