Bush: Israel to Respond if Attacked
By STEVE WEIZMAN
WASHINGTON - AP - 16 October: President Bush, calling Saddam Hussein a dangerous man, said Wednesday after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that he was certain Sharon would retaliate if Iraq attacked Israel.
Bush gave no indication in an Oval Office news conference that he had tried to restrain Sharon, who already has said his country could not stand by if attacked.
"If Iraq were to attack, I am sure the prime minister will respond," Bush said.
Sharon, in brief remarks, said Israel had never had a better friend in the White House than Bush. "We never had such cooperaition in everything as we have with the current administration."
Bush's father, by contrast, pressured Israel to stay out of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, and then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir complied, even after Iraq hit Israel with 39 Scud missiles.
"He's got a desire to defend himself," Bush said of Sharon's situation.
Bush said Saddam has to understand the international community would not condone an attack on Israel or any other country. "He is a dangerous man. He has gassed his own people. That's why he has to be disarmed," Bush said.