President George W. Bush said on Friday that the United States is ready for war if force becomes necessary to eliminate Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.
"If force becomes necessary,... America will act decisively. We're ready. We're prepared," Bush said in a speech to US troops stationed in Fort Hood, Texas.
He warned that should Iraqi President Saddam Hussein refuse to disarm and ignore "the opinion of the world," US troops will fight to "liberate" the Iraqi people.
Despite the saber-rattling, Bush said he still preferred that Iraq would disarm voluntarily.
"We certainly prefer voluntary compliance by Iraq," he said, noting that the use of military force is the United States' last option or choice.
Speaking to reporters at his private ranch in Crawford, Texas, on Thursday, Bush also sent a stern warning to President Saddam, saying that "his day of reckoning is coming."
(Xinhua News Agency January 4, 2003)