WASHINGTON – Saddam Hussein has one last chance to disarm voluntarily, but if he doesn't comply with the terms of a United Nations Security Council resolution, the United States will lead a coalition to eliminate his chemical and biological weapons by force, President Bush said Tuesday.
Bush spoke with reporters as he toured the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., prior to delivering a speech on homeland security.
He dismissed the recommendation from Iraq's parliament that Saddam reject the resolution on weapons inspections, saying that it doesn't mean anything because the parliament is merely a rubber stamp and does not represent a democratic decision-making body.
And, he added, Iraq doesn't have the choice of deciding whether to comply or not since the resolution merely seeks an acknowledgement from him that he understand that weapons inspectors are returning or he will face "serious consequences."
"If Saddam Hussein does not comply to the detail of the resolution, we will lead a coalition to disarm him. It's over, we're through negotiations, there's no more time. The man must disarm. He said he would disarm, he now must disarm," Bush said.
"This kind of deception and delay, all that's over with. The country is committed to making the world more peaceful by disarming Saddam Hussein, and it's just as simple as that. There's a zero tolerance policy now. The last 11 years has been a period of time when this guy tried to deceive the world and we're through with it," he added.
Bush's aides called the Iraqi parliament's debate "political theater," and said they aren't particularly entertained.
"I don't think there's anybody who believes the Iraqi parliament has a serious voice in what does or doesn't happen in Iraq,'' said White House spokesman Sean McCormack. "There is only one voice that matters in this despotic regime and that is from Saddam Hussein. This is really, I think, pure political theater.''
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Friday's deadline for Iraq's confirmation that it will comply with the new U.N. Security Council resolution is the first important test for Saddam in what is his final chance to disarm without military action.
Administration officials said they expect Iraq's full cooperation with the weapons inspectors.
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said the United Nations isn't going to have its weapons inspectors, hunting and pecking through Iraq, a country the size of France.
After confirming his intention to comply with the resolution Friday, Saddam will have 30 days to declare all the elements of his chemical, biological and nuclear weapons program, and officials say that if he leaves anything out, he would be in material breach of the resolution, which would trigger a Security Council meeting on what to do about it, though the United States would not have to wait for approval before taking action.
Behind the scenes, Bush has approved a Pentagon strategy for invading Iraq that calls up to 250,000 soldiers from air, land and sea forces to move in on Baghdad from three directions.
Fox News' Wendell Goler contributed to this report.