Bush 'consulting with allies over Iraq action'


President George W Bush is consulting with Congress and US allies about Iraq, branding Saddam Hussein "an enemy until proven otherwise".

The President reaffirmed he has no timetable for deciding on a military strike against Iraq or "for any of our policies in regard to Iraq".

He said he spends much time discussing US options with his principal policy advisers, saying a decision may not come this year.

He went on to say the Iraqi president has "a history of tyranny. I think most people understand he is a danger."

"And I've also said I am a deliberate person," he added, speaking as he set off on a round of golf at the Ridgewood Country Club. "So we're in the process of consulting not only with Congress but our friends and allies."

Asked if he believed Americans were ready for armed conflict to oust Saddam Hussein, The President replied: "I want people to fully understand our deep concern about this man, his regime.

"As I said I have no timetable. But I do believe the American people understand that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of leaders such as Saddam Hussein are very dangerous for us and our allies.

"They understand the concept of blackmail and that when we speak of making the world more safe, we do so not only in the concept of terrorist groups, but of nations that have proven themselves to be bad neighbours and bad actors."

Referring to Iraq, Mr Bush said: "I described them as the axis of evil once. I describe them as the enemy until proven otherwise."

He added: "They obviously desire weapons of mass destruction and I assume that he still views us as the enemy. We owe it to our children's children to free the world of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of those who hate freedom."