WASHINGTON – President Bush is running short on patience with Iraq, he told reporters Tuesday morning.
"It appears to be a re-run of a bad movie," Bush said. "[Iraqi President Saddam Hussein] is delaying. He's deceiving. He's asking for time. He's playing hide-and-seek with inspectors. One thing is for certain — he's not disarming."
Later in the day, a senior State Department official warned against waiting for Iraq to comply with the U.N. Security Council resolution requiring it to destroy any nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
The president said he would not let Iraq shift the focus to inspections when it should be Baghdad's obligation to cooperate proactively and disarm without prodding.
"He wants to focus the attention of the world on inspectors," the president added. "This is not about inspectors; this is about a disarmed Iraq."
"How much time do we need to see clearly that he's not disarming?" Bush asked. "As I said, this looks like a re-run of a bad movie. And I'm not interested in watching it."
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told the U.S. Institute of Peace that he wished he could be optimistic about Saddam Hussein's compliance, but that the scavenger hunt inspectors are on deflates his hope.
"If you were hanging your hopes on Saddam Hussein's willingness to comply and the veracity of his regime, you are banking on very wishful thinking," Armitage said in a speech billed as an important policy address.
"There may be some who believe that if left alone, Saddam Hussein will stay in his box ... that's ludicrous," he said, adding that for 12 years, Saddam has rightly concluded that previous U.N. resolutions are toothless.
"It is difficult to hold a scrap of hope that Saddam will comply with the cease-fire resolutions," Armitage added, "but to keep that scrap of hope even partly alive, the international community must maintain and increase the pressure."
The deputy secretary said that some may want to breathe a sigh of relief about the weapons inspectors' discovery of 16 chemical weapons warheads, but there are many more unclaimed weapons.
"Where are the other 29,984? Because that's how many empty chemical warheads the United Nations special commission estimates he has and has never accounted for," he said. "We don't know because Saddam Hussein never accounted for any of it. Instead, he gave us a three-foot stack of papers devoid of the most important information."
Armitage's comments come as U.N. International Atomic Agency Head Mohamed ElBaradei said that inspections should continue for as long as Baghdad allows.
Armitage said that inspectors could continue the run-around in Iraq indefinitely as long as Saddam suspects that the international community will not use force. Therefore, he said, while President Bush has not determined whether war will occur, it may be the only means.
Armitage's speech was accompanied by a White House release of an "apparatus of lies," a report which maintains that Saddam has violated U.N. anti-arms resolutions in a variety of ways.
The report cited the discovery last week of undisclosed chemical warheads as well as:
— "Ongoing intimidation of Iraqi scientists" who might shed light on the nation's weapons of mass destruction program.
— "Numerous chemical, biological and nuclear weapons stockpiles and programs unaddressed in the Iraqi declaration."
— The failure to cooperate with weapons inspectors, an assertion the administrations says is justified because Iraq has not shown the inspectors where the weapons are. Iraq says it has no weapons of mass destruction.
Despite the apparent build-up toward war, several U.S. allies have expressed hesitation if not outright opposition to war. France and Germany said they would actively seek to prevent a U.N. resolution calling for war against Iraq.
France told the Security Council there is no justification yet for military action against Saddam and hinted that it might veto any resolution authorizing action.
"Since we can disarm Iraq through peaceful means, we should not take the risk to endanger the lives of innocent civilians or soldiers, to jeopardize the stability of the region, and further widen the gap between our people and our cultures. We should not take the risk to fuel terrorism," French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said Monday.
Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said "the United States will not go it alone" if it comes to war.
Fleischer said the president went to the United Nations last September "recognizing that throughout this process it would be necessary for us and other nations around the world to continue to put spine into the United Nations and the rest of the international community."
Fleischer declined to list the countries that have pledged support to Bush.
One nation that has provided steadfast support is the United Kingdom. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has backed the U.S. stance of launching military action without U.N. support, added Tuesday, "We must not give a signal to Saddam that there is a way out of this."
Still, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and China's Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said Monday that Jan. 27, the day inspectors are to present their report on Iraq's cooperation, should not be a deadline for war.
The inspectors' report is "not a full stop of the inspection work but a new beginning," Tang said. "There's more work to do in terms of the inspection and it will take some time."
As the United Nations waits to hear the inspectors' report, Iraq has suggested that it will expand its cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors under a new agreement worked out in two days of talks.
Nevertheless, Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said Tuesday that "It is possible any minute, any second that while the inspectors are still here, the aggression will take place."
The U.S. military gearing for a conflict. Officials said Tuesday that two Navy aircraft carriers were joining two others already within striking distance of Iraq.
The Army's 4th Infantry Division, equipped with tanks, attack helicopters and artillery, is heading a group of 37,000 soldiers ordered to reposition in the Persian Gulf region. Their equipment will be shipped first, with the soldiers to go when final basing arrangements are worked out, U.S. officials said.
Representatives of Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Jordan will meet in Istanbul on Thursday to try to find a way to prevent war in the region.
Fox News' Wendell Goler and the Associated Press contributed to this report.